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Poor diet, Poor memory

Friday, June 27th, 2008
by Sue

A new study in mice has linked memory loss to a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Arizona State University found that rodents that were fed a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat exhibited impairment in working memory.

This memory loss is linked to inflammation in the brain, as well as the impairment of structural proteins that affect how a nerve cell functions.

As inflammation is linked to a poor diet, the failure of functions in other key organs such as the eye and the ear also could be expected.

Assuming that the same phenomenon occurs in human beings, the study suggests that as humans’ age, memory may be preserved and brain functions improved by restricting the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats.

Woman - Best business deal crackers

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Made all the arrangements to crack that business deal worth millions, but still apprehensive? Well, then get a woman involved in the negotiation, for according to a new research, the ladies may be more skilled in the talks than their masculine counterpartsbest-negotiators

According to the research, feminine touch could be a company’s secret weapon.

Dr. Yael Itzhaki of Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Management at the Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration carried out simulations of business negotiations among 554 Israeli and American management students at Ohio State University, in New York City, and in Israel.

“Women are more generous negotiators, better co-operators and are motivated to create win-win situations,” says Itzhaki.

The results of her Ph.D. thesis project indicated that in certain groupings, women offered better terms than men to reach an agreement. And women were good at facilitating interaction between the parties, she says.

negotiatorsThe model involved negotiating the terms of a joint venture, including the division of shares. The point of the simulations was to examine how women behave in business situations requiring cooperation and competition.

Itzhaki also discovered that men have begun to incorporate feminine strategies into their negotiating styles.

“Women in mid-management positions are criticized for being too ‘cooperative’ and ‘compassionate,’ so they don’t get promoted. Then men come in and use the same tactics women are criticized for.”

Although both men and women can be good negotiators, Itzhaki emphasizes that there should be more women in top management jobs. Women have unique skills to offer, Itzhaki says, “They’re great listeners, they care about the concerns of the other side, and they’re generally more interested in finding a win-win situation to the benefit of both parties than male negotiators.”

A lot of women don’t care to “fight” to be recognized, she says, preferring cooperation over competition. But more women in management can translate to a healthier bottom line, Itzhaki says.

“Businesses need to develop an organizational culture where everyone is heard, because women’s opinions and skills can give businesses a competitive edge,” she said.

Deal Done

Know your eating habits

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Diet and physical activity have a major effect on your cholesterol. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help you lower your cholesterol or maintain a normal level. Likewise, lack of physical activity and poor food choices can send your cholesterol soaring.

Foods to Beware

Saturated fat is the main food culprit for high cholesterol. Saturated fats are mostly found in marbled meat, poultry with skin and full-fat dairy products. Experts recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your daily calories. Lowering your consumption of saturated fats has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol.

It is also important to be mindful of the cholesterol in food. Experts say not to consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Eggs, cheese, sour cream, butter, meat and poultry all contain cholesterol.

Lastly, the trans fat in packaged baked goods like crackers, cakes and cookies, fried foods and some margarine is a worry. The latest recommendation is to keep harmful trans fat intake below one percent.

Foods to Fill Your Plate

At the same time, there is a universe of foods that when eaten in abundance can help lower your cholesterol.

Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans and oats all have proven cholesterol-fighting benefits. Studies have demonstrated that fiber lowers cholesterol. It also makes you feel full, which can help control weight. Experts recommend eating 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily, depending on your sex and your age. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets oat makers put a “heart-healthy” claim on their products because of oats’ ability to decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Fish are low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol. Experts advise eating at least two servings of baked or grilled fish each week. Wild salmon is a top choice because it is so healthful, but other good fresh fish to consider are flounder, trout, tuna and halibut. Walnuts and flax seeds are some non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids. In September 2004, the FDA okayed a “heart healthy” claim for foods with omega-3 fatty acids.

Soy foods such as soy milk, soy burgers, tofu and edamame (whole soybeans) may lower your risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, according to the FDA. The advice is to eat 25 grams of soy protein each day, which is the equivalent of a little over three cups of soy milk.

Nuts, including almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, macadamias and pistachios, help lower cholesterol. Experts believe this is due to the combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats they contain. When weaving nuts into your diet, keep in mind that they are caloric.

Experts believe that polyunsaturated fats (including nuts, seeds and safflower, sesame and corn oils) and monounsaturated fats (including avocados and canola, olive and peanut oils) may help lower your cholesterol when you consume them instead of saturated fats. All the same, nutritionists advise using all fats sparingly.


Working out on a regular basis lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, which is beneficial not only for your heart health but for your overall health. Experts say to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Family History

Another risk factor for high cholesterol is genetics. Some people have high cholesterol because it runs in their family. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or heard disease, it is more important than ever to eat right, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

Maintaining long distance bonds

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Neither a break-up time bomb nor a recipe for relationship disaster, long-distance relationship offer the best of both worlds!

Long Distance RelationshipsI’ve interacted with many couples who are in a long-distance relationship and my conclusion after looking at these happy couples is that it does provide the best of both worlds. Take the case of Kelly Page. Married to a shippie, she meets her husband twice a year for 2 months. “It is certainly the best time in our lives. We are now married for 14 years, but even today the thought of meeting him sets my heart a flutter. Also all these years have made me fiercely independent and I have my own set of activities and social circle, but yet the time spent with my husband is what I cherish the most. I prefer this space in our relationship”

Like Kelly there are many who are totally for long distance relationships.Long Distance Relationships It gives them the space to be themselves and at the same time they are able to preserve the freshness of their relationship! Here are a few learnings from them you could use, if you are also getting into one.

1. Trust matters: One of the most important factors in any relationship is that of trust, and when you are in a long-distance relationship it becomes all the more vital. But you need to be smart too; the idea isn’t to trust blindly. Make friends in the vicinity of your mate’s house, and subtly keep a check on him without both knowing you are doing so. Never make it obvious. Once in a while drop in unexpectedly, but don’t make a habit of it, it will become obvious.

Long Distance Relationships2. Keep communication open: Be in touch with your mate. Online chats, telephone conversations and having him on your mind plays an important role in maintaining a long distance relationship. If you feel something isn’t right, talk openly about it, resolve all your fears and insecurities. It will only strengthen the bond.

3. When you meet, make sure you both have a memorable time: Make a list of all that you want to do when your mate comes over and do it all. Tell him to do the same. This will make both of you look forward to theLong Distance Relationships time spent with each other.

4. Try not to be on your best behaviour when your partner’s around, the advice is to be yourself. This will ensure that there aren’t any false expectations when the two of you eventually start living together.

5. Know each other’s social circle: It is important to know each other’s friends and social circles well. Otherwise when either of you go visiting, it will become awkward if you aren’t familiar with each other’s friends. This will also give you both a feeling of acceptance, which is important in the relationship.

6. Talk out about the future: Don’t keep pushing the issue of who will eventually move in, under the carpet. It is necessary to resolve whatever conflicts arise in this matter in the initial stages itself, otherwise later the issue will snowball into a larger crisis.

Coping with high pressured job

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The inundation of cricket matches has already started affecting the career spans of promising players,’ former Indian skipper Dilip Vengsarkar was quoted as saying in a national daily recently.‘They want to play for their country but, with the frequency of high-tension matches increasing, they are prone to injury and are struggling to do their best,’ he added.

You, on the other hand, may work in an air-conditioned office and not have to sweat it out on a cricket ground.

However, the frantic pace of the corporate rat race could very well leave you feeling exhausted — physically, mentally and emotionally.

While increasing your intake of caffeine or taking asylum in chain smoking may get you going for a while, it is certainly not a long-term solution to cope with stringent deadlines and work-related stress.

The key: Be prepared.Be prepared

The more prepared you are the better you will be able to respond to every odd situation. Eventually you may even enjoy it because hard work can be fun.

Follow these work strategies and stress-busting tips to capitalize on the current high-pressured demands.

Don’t be a pushover

There is a feeling amongst young professionals today that saying no will put a dent on their credibility,” says Rohini Verma, a practising clinical psychologist.
Don't be a pushover
“But it is actually the other way around. People respect those who are assertive and confident,” she says.

Taking on that added workload could make you prone to missing prior deadlines. For example, taking on a new project while you are struggling to finish the old one on time can backfire.

The key is to under-promise and over-perform and not the other way around.

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into taking on unacceptable workloads, even if it happens to be from your boss. Sometimes you must say ‘no’; just remember to be polite and assertive when doing so.

Here are some ways in which you can be diplomatic and assertive.

Can you have someone take this up so I can concentrate 100 per cent on the last assignment you gave me?

I would love to take this assignment; however, I am in between a few other commitments.

Can you arrange for someone to help me with the other tasks?

This will ensure the ball is in your boss’s court; let him/ her work it out for you.

In terms of priority, it makes sense to decline low value tasks.

If you are in sales, don’t get bogged down by paperwork and administrative duties. Keep these low value tasks to a minimum and take on those where you will add maximum value.

Be realistic

Being realistic does not mean taking it easy; it means taking on more ‘do’ able tasks,Be realistic keeping your current circumstances in mind.

Break your goals down to the lowest common denominator (be practical when doing this).

For example: You may set a goal to be the top sales person in your company for the month, but it makes more sense to break it into weekly targets, rather than daily targets. This way you will have the flexibility to change the weekly target based on your day-to-day performance.

Use the SMART goals technique: This means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible.

Specific: Have a concrete goal. There is no room for guesswork here. Wanting a job which pays you ‘X’ amount of money is being specific rather than ‘just wanting a job that pays well’.

Measurable: You should be able to track your advancement by hours, rupees, etc, so that you know how you are measuring up as you progress.

Attainable: It is detrimental to set the mark so high that you set yourself up for failure. If you are a new employee and want to get into a senior management role within six months, you probably know it is not attainable.

Realistic: Goals are realistic when your background, upbringing, personality, skill set, experience, and environment are conducive to achieve them. They are unrealistic, in order to achieve your goals, you need something you do not possess.

Time bound: Set deadlines for yourself, so you will be driven to finish the task. Without a time limit, there is no urgency to act.

Work smart

When the going gets tough, the tough get… methodical.Work smart

Prioritize work. Allocate the first few hours of the day to the most productive and challenging work; devote post-lunch or early evenings for phone calls and e-mails.

Focus on the key deliverables and remove all nuisances that create unwanted pressure. These include time-wasters like unwanted calls and junk e-mail.

If you are preparing an important project report, keep your cell phone on silent mode, turn your Internet messenger service’s status to ‘Away’ and focus on the task at hand.

Discipline is important. Make ‘To do’ lists and stick to them.

Last but not the least, there are no prizes for doing everything by yourself. The workload will leave you exhausted and possibly frustrated. Learn to delegate and work with teams.

The key question: where do you get the maximum bang for the buck? Take on those activities and delegate the rest. Working smart is the key to longevity.

Keep a tab on your diet

I am addicted to coffee and have anywhere between eight to nine cups everyday in order to keep myself awake,” says 22-year-old Tabitha Cherian, who works with call centre Convergys. “I end up feeling dreadful the next day.”

Working the graveyard (night) shift is no excuse to eat junk and gulp down multiple cups of coffee.

If you really need that hot cuppa, why not try green or regular tea? It has less caffeine. Make sure you go easy on the sugar or use sugar-free pills.

Throw out the cola from your routine and replace it with fruit smoothies. Else, go for the champion drink — water. It will flush out all toxins and keep you charged throughout the day.

What are YOUR solutions for busting stress and coping with stringent deadlines? Share your mantras with other professionals. Don’t forget to mention your name, age, profession and location.

What and when you eat can make a big difference to the way you cope with stress. Don’t skip meals — particularly breakfast — or rush to finish them. Try to maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet.

“I usually carry some fresh fruits like apples and grapes to work and keep snacking on them. You can even dip pieces of apples in fresh yoghurt and create your own delicious snack,” says Shelly Jain, a 28-year-old consultant with NIIT.

This doesn’t mean you can never break these rules. You can safely indulge in chocolate and sweets once or twice a week. However, if you are addicted to these or just badly stressed, do remember you are breaking the rules at your own peril.

Indulge yourself

There are times when I just feel like throwing in the towel because nobody seems to appreciate my painstaking work,” says Shelly.

Do something nice for yourself after you have achieved a milestone at work.

How about dinner with a friend for a small accomplishment and a day off from work for a big win? Go out and get a nice massage. You deserve it!

Flex those muscles, breathe

“I am aware of the pressure I will face once I join the workforce. So I attended the Art of Living course to help me prepare for it. I feel charged every time I close my eyes and meditate,” says 25-year-old Madan R, a 2006 MBA graduate from ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad.

What are YOUR solutions for busting stress and coping with stringent deadlines? Share your mantras with other professionals. Don’t forget to mention your name, age, profession and location.

Mohini Sawhney, a Delhi-based Art of Living teacher, agrees. “Your body is an extension of your mind. Take the time to stretch your muscles and loosen the muscles in your jaw and face. Practising relaxed breathing techniques and meditation will improve your mood and counter the physical effects of stress,” she advises.

Get any sort of physical exercise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Step away from the computer for a quick stretch during your day at work.

Don’t lose sleep over stress

I sacrificed my health for the sake of work and studies and thought I can always catch up for lost sleep later. Not anymore. I learned my lesson,” says Ashok Radhakrishnan, a 29-year-old finance executive with Nestle.

Try to maintain a regular schedule, even if you are working in shifts. Try and go to bed and get up at a similar time every week; this will set your body into a routine, which is important for sound sleep.

Cut out idiot box time and instead listen to soothing music or read a book before hitting the sack.

Try not to eat anything right before you sleep, else you will feel very heavy. Experts even recommend a hot shower as it can have a soothing effect on your mind.

Watch out for the logistics. “I work during the nights and sleep during the day. I have made sure the atmosphere in my bedroom is very soothing and the room is very dark during the day and properly ventilated,” says call centre employee Rashmi Sharma.

Good sleep is most important but also the most overlooked aspect of good health. Nothing revitalizes you better.

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