The study also found that Americans are becoming more isolated with three times as many Americans reporting having no confidant than just 20 years ago. And since loneliness is contagious, this isolation could be the start of future health problems; and the conclusion of the researchers suggested we start to view our social relationships as an important part of our overall health. Spending more time with my girlfriends will help me live longer? Sign me up!
Japanese women have an average lifespan of 86.44 years, topping the world's longevity records for 25 years in a row, the government said on Monday in a health ministry report. This is also the fourth year in a row that life expectancy has risen in the country. The increase reflects better medical treatment in areas of cancer, cardiac disorders, and strokes — the three main causes of death among the elderly in Japan. Officials also cite the country's high standard of living and healthy eating practices as contributing factors.
When I spoke to celeb trainer Harley Pasternak about the world's eating habits, he said Japan was one of the healthiest diets he experienced. And since I've been following the Mediterranean diet for some time now, I may give the typical Japanese diet a try too. A typical Japanese diet is composed of rice, fresh seafood, soy, seaweed, and all types of noodles, including the very healthy buckwheat soba noodles. It also includes lots of veggies and fruits, and little reliance on beef or processed foods. A huge factor in the Japanese diet is portion control, which remains very moderate. And besides longevity, the Japanese also enjoy one of the world's lowest obesity rates.
The other day reader Marni dropped a line asking whether or not her mostly unopened spice rack she received four years ago was still good. I started to respond to her, when I realized that she's probably not the only one wondering how long spices last.
First of all, spices don't necessarily "go bad." Those spices you've got stored in the back of the cabinet won't harm you, however, they do lose their potency and flavor. As a general rule, most ground herbs and spices will retain their flavor for about a year and three years for whole spices (whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, etc). However you'll find the best potency in the first three to four months. If sealed and unopened, ground spices may last two years. A good trick is to write the date of your purchase on the spices and toss them out a year after opening and two if unopened.
Another important factor in a spice's life is storage. Spices need to be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and moisture. The spices you've got in the fancy glass jars on the kitchen counter (you know, the ones that get all that sunlight) are going to have an even shorter lifespan. The heat and light will suck the flavor out faster than you realize. The refrigerator is also not a great place for storage as the humidity can harm the spices as well.
And although most spices won't hurt you when they're old, seeds such as sesame and poppy can go rancid, so if you're unsure of them, toss them out!