The Best Teas for Sleep, Anxiety, Bloating, Cramps, and More

 

Got a bloated belly? There's a tea for that. And also one for the jitters, insomnia, even crippling period cramps. It turns out that herbal brews can help remedy more than a few common health complaints. Read on to find the right sip to ease your discomfort.

 

 

For bloat

Fennel tea is a hero to the digestive tract: It contains a compound that relaxes gastrointestinal spasms, allowing gas to pass and relieving bloat, according to Health's nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD.

Try: Pukka Three Fennel ($8; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon.com

RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Bloating

 

 

For a pesky cough

Marshmallow tea, made from the leaves and roots of this medicinal herb, has been used for hundreds of years to quiet coughs and sooth irritated throats.

Try: Celebration Herbals Marshmallow Leaf and Root tea ($11; amazon.com; )

Photo: Amazon.com

 

 

For nerves

Chamomile tea may help calm your jitters before a stressful event. Certain compounds in the herb bind to the same receptors in the brain as drugs like Valium. A study done at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center found that people who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder experienced significant relief from symptoms after taking chamomile supplements for eight weeks, compared to folks who took a placebo.

Try: Yogi Comforting Chamomile tea ($18 for 6 boxes;amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon.com

 

 

For trouble sleeping

Lavender tea may be just want you need to nod off. Research shows that just the scent of lavender has slumber-induce properties: It has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Try: Buddha Teas Lavender Tea ($8; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon.com

RELATED: Best and Worst Foods for Sleep

 

 

For menstrual cramps

Ginger tea was found to be just as effective in treating painful period cramps as Ibuprofen in a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 

Try: Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger tea ($21 for 6 boxes; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon.com

 

 

For stomach pains

Peppermint tea calms the muscles of the GI system, aiding digestive processes. But if your pain is the result of acid reflux, best to skip peppermint tea. It also has a relaxing effect on the lower esophageal sphincter, which may allow more stomach acid to slip back into the esophagus.

Try: Yogi Purely Peppermint tea ($23 for 6 boxes; amazon.com)

Photo: Amazon.com

 

Beats Studio3 Wireless Review

Beats has always had something of a hard ride from the audiophiles of the world.

Often criticised for being overpriced, too bass-heavy the brand has defied this snobbishness and ended up selling absolutely bucketloads of headphones.

While in the past some of the criticisms levelled against Beats would have been accurate the company has gone through something of a renaissance, starting just before being bought by Apple and reaching fever pitch in the last 12-months.

The results? Todays Beats headphones aren’t too expensive for what they offer, they’re not as bass-heavy and they’re a million miles from the snobbishness that has hung over them.

The latest example of this turnaround are the Studio3 Wireless headphones. They’re Beats’ flagship wireless headphones that offer Pure ANC noise-cancelling, improved battery-life and Apple’s very own W1 audio processor inside.

Beats

On the outside they look much the same as the previous Studio headphones.

A soft-touch matte plastic body keeps them light while small metal accents and leather earcups remind you that these are still premium headphones.

The design has always been sturdy and even without the carrying case our pair brushed off being thrown into a bag each day without any wear and tear.

The colour choices are of course influenced by Apple’s iPhone line-up but they’re implemented in a way that’s stylish and non-obtrusive.

The earcups are soft and well-cushioned making them comfortable on the ears, if we had one complaint it is that we did feel some minor pinching on the top of the head during listening periods of over an hour or so. That being said, out of the competition we’ve used only Sennheiser’s PXC 550′s stand out as being able to give us a full flight’s worth of comfortable listening.

It’s a tough one to call a judgement on because honestly it can sometimes just depend on the shape of your head.

Beats

Thanks to Apple’s W1 chip, setting these headphones up on an Apple device is fantastically easy – you simply turn them on and they’ll pop up on your iPhone. You then press connect and just like that they’re connected not only to your iPhone but also your Apple Watch, MacBook and iPad. It’s a neat trick and it’s one that sadly is exclusive to Apple’s family of devices. Thankfully if you’re an Android user, setup is still incredibly simple and just involves diving into the Bluetooth menu of your phone.

The Beats Studio3 offer a brand-new type of noise-cancelling called Pure ANC.

Traditionally, noise-cancelling works by having microphones on the outside of the headphones listening to the ambient noise. Software inside the headphones then recreates that ambient noise and inverts it, piping it through alongside your music and effectively cancelling the disturbance out.

According to Beats this is too heavy-handed an approach, so with its noise-cancelling its engineers decided to use something quite different.

The Studio3 still have the microphones on the outside, except this time it compares in real-time the noise-cancelled music with the original track.

It then looks for anomalies in the waveform between the two and makes tiny adjustments to best fit the original piece of music.

Beats

What’s pretty astonishing about all this is that it’s doing it 50,000 times every second.

Does it all work? The short answer is yes, but it’s not the absolute game-changer that Beats are making it out to be. The noise-cancelling is truly excellent, of that there’s no doubt, but it still suffers from the tiniest of hisses, something that almost all noise-cancelling headphones suffer from.

It’s also completely automated, so unlike Bose, Sennheiser or B&W there’s no way to fine-tune the settings or even change functions like the EQ. That’s a shame as it would have been nice to have more freedom over how they sound.

And how do they sound? Really, really good. These are by far and away Beats’ best-sounding headphones ever and it’s a testament to the progress the company has made. The mid-range is beautifully clear, and while the higher notes can feel a little underserved at times the bass is tightly delivered with a meaningful sense of oomph.

Are they perfect for listening to classical music? Probably not, but they do at last feel like a pair of really well-balanced headphones that can suit all genres admirably

Beats

Now where the Studio3′s really excel is with battery. It is obscenely good.

Beats claim you can get 22 hours of wireless playback with Pure ANC. It’s not lying either. We used ours for a full week of commuting and occasional listening in the office and found that we only needed to fully charge them once. If you turn the noise-cancelling off this increases to a whopping 40 hours.

Having this kind of battery life is absolutely vital for wireless headphones as one of the biggest barriers is the stigma that they become just one more thing to have to charge at the end of the day. If you only have to do that once a week it suddenly makes the whole proposition much more reasonable.

Just like Beats’ other headphones, with Apple’s W1 chip inside you can also get some serious fast-charging out of them too. Just 10mins gives you around 2-3 hours of listening.

As a pair of everyday, premium headphones, the Studio3′s are absolutely brilliant. They’re cheaper than Bose and Sennheiser’s noise-cancelling flagships and they feel considerably more durable too. No they don’t offer customisation, but what they do offer the ultimate in convenience. You just turn them on, put them on your head and the outside world is placed on mute for as long as you want.

Who should buy the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones?

These are a truly great pair of all-round noise-cancelling headphones. They’re incredibly easy to setup, offer a great sound profile that competes with some of the older audio giants and they boast an absolutely outrageous battery-life.

Who shouldn’t buy the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones?

They can pinch a bit after long hours of listening so if you fly a lot or have a particularly long commute that’s definitely something to keep in mind. They don’t offer the app-based customisation that you can get from competitors either so if you’re looking to fine-tune your audio we’d recommend looking elsewhere.

The Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are available now for £299.

London’s Electric Black Cab Is Being Tested On The Streets Of London

London’s electric black cab has, we think it’s fair to say, been a long time coming.

Well today the company that makes the vehicles has confirmed that six of them are currently driving around the capital as they go through the final and perhaps most gruelling test environment: London’s traffic.

LEVC

The six vehicles and their drivers will be collecting data that records not only the emissions coming from the vehicle but also looks to asses the state of London’s charging network.

Each car is driven by an electric motor which can then be charged via a 1.3 litre petrol-powered generator.

The car has a fully-electric range of around 70-miles but if you turn on the petrol generator that range increases to some 400-miles.

LEVC

While it’s certainly not going to compete with the range of say a Tesla, these vehicles have been designed to at the very least comply with the “zero emission capable” requirement for all London taxis from January 2018.

Compared to the previous petrol-powered black cabs, the new TX5 has a larger cabin that contains six seats, WiFi, USB-charging and the ability to process contactless payments.

The driver meanwhile will have access to a full-touchscreen that provides them with a SatNav specifically designed to show congestion while also showing every available charging location in London.

In addition the screen will also feature integrated ride-hailing services including Gett, myTaxi and Kabbee.

The cabs are expected to get a full roll out on London’s streets later this year.

Health24.com | Paramedic on red zones: ‘They started stoning us and the ambulance’

South African paramedics do their utmost to uphold the high standards required not only by their superiors and international health organisations, but by themselves as well. But the grim challenges they have to face during the course of an average day make it a daunting task. 

The time window of care between a traumatic event and receiving hospital care plays a major part in saving people’s lives, but when paramedics need to worry about their own safety while concentrating on saving someone’s life, things become a lot more difficult.

Recently, an ambulance was involved in an ambush after being called out to a “red zone” – an area classified as a high crime area – and even though they had a police escort, there was a shootout, and a police officer needed to be taken to hospital.

Mob justice

Melanie Sellar, 27, is an Emergency Care Technician (ECT) and operates in most parts of the Cape Peninsula, but especially in areas like Du Noon informal settlement, Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel, Kensington, Milnerton and Cape Town CBD.

Sellar first qualified as a Basic Life Supporter (BLS) in 2009 and her first experience with violence on duty was when she was in student training.

“The patient was assaulted by the community in Gugulethu and as we were busy treating and loading him, angry community members felt we should have left him so they could finish him off.

“They started stoning us and the ambulance. Luckily, we could flee the scene with only minor scratches and bruises,” said Sellar.

Paramedics are constantly in fear of their own safety when going into high crime and high-risk areas, especially while working at night or doing the graveyard shift.

Going into the red zones

Sellar and her partner experienced another incident while waiting to be escorted into a red zone.

“Out of a dark passage, two guys appeared and jumped onto the tow bar at the back of the ambulance, thinking my partner and I didn’t see them.

“Adrenaline coursing through my body, I didn’t know what to expect, so I started moving forward and picked up speed. My partner had been with me for the past three years, so he knew me well and knew he should hold on because I then stepped on the brakes.

“All we heard were some bangs against the doors and the two guys jumping off swearing and waving sharp objects at us as we sped off. We went straight to the police station to get a proper escort,” explained Sellar.

She added that incidences like these are what ambulance personnel face on a daily basis, and even more so on the Cape Flats, in gang-infested communities and townships.

While the picture is grim and many people wouldn’t want to continue putting their own lives at risk to save others, Sellar has a different outlook.

“Surely, it’s about serving the community and helping people, while doing our utmost to preserve life. I grew up in EMS and always admired my father, who is a Rescue Technician. All I ever wanted was to be like him,” said Sellar.

‘I gave my all’

When on duty Sellar regularly experiences many different incidences of trauma, and sometimes she and her colleagues aren’t able to save someone, due to the extent of their trauma.

“Sometimes it’s impossible to stabilise and preserve life, and as hard as it may be, you have to step back and say that you gave it your all. It’s no use beating yourself up, when you know you didn’t just stand there and watch. I tried and gave it my best,” said Sellar.

Cherished moments

Every trauma isn’t all doom and gloom. Sellar has helped many people, young and old, and these are the experiences she cherishes the most, even though she says it’s hard to pin-point one memorable moment.

“Whenever I have assisted with delivering a baby in the back of my ambulance or inside a home, it usually makes my day. That moment of joy and happiness when that baby gives its first cry as it enters the world is always phenomenal.

“But I also love treating geriatric patients. Sometimes all they want is company, someone to drink tea with and to reassure them. Sometimes they just need to hear they will be fine, because many of them are alone, without children or families – and it won’t hurt to spend a few minutes listening to them listening to their wisdom and stories.

“It’s these little things that make my heart smile, knowing I made a person’s day a little better,” said Sellar.

Image supplied

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Health24.com | Too little of this vitamin could harm young hearts

Getting teens to eat what’s good for them can be an uphill battle, and bypassing foods like leafy green veggies may take a toll on their heart health, new research suggests.

Teens who ate the least vitamin K-rich foods – such as spinach, cabbage, iceberg lettuce and olive oil – had triple the risk for enlargement of the heart’s left pumping chamber compared to their greens-eating peers, according to the study.

According to Health24, the adequate intake (AI) for vitamin K is 120 micrograms per day for male adults and 90 micrograms per day for female adults.

Importance of vitamin K

Changes in the heart’s left pumping chamber are usually seen in adults with chronic high blood pressure. Hearts that become bigger are less efficient and less effective, said the study authors from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

“Those who consumed less [vitamin K] had more risk,” Dr Norman Pollock, the study’s corresponding author, said in a university news release.

For the study, researchers asked 766 healthy teens, aged 14 to 18, to wear activity monitors for seven days and to record what they ate. Most participants tracked their diet for at least six days. The teens also underwent an echocardiography test to examine their left ventricle.

Only 25% of the study participants had even adequate intake of vitamin K, the researchers found. And overall, about 10% of the teens had some level of enlargement in their left heart ventricle.

Study findings

The findings were published on 2 October in The Journal of Nutrition. The study’s co-first author, Mary Ellen Fain, a second-year student at the medical college, said, “Even at that age, it seemed to make a difference in their hearts.”

The findings held even after considering other possible contributing factors, such as gender, race, physical activity and blood pressure, Fain said.

However, the study doesn’t establish a direct causal relationship. The researchers said more studies are needed to assess the association between vitamin K intake and long-term heart health.

How to get more vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health. This nutrient may also improve activity of a protein, known as matrix Gla protein, which helps prevent calcium deposits from forming within blood vessels.

The following foods are good sources of vitamin K:

  • Milk, 250ml, 1 cup – 10 micrograms
  • Eggs – 1 whole – 25 micrograms
  • Pork, 100g – 88 micrograms
  • Beef, 100g – 104 micrograms
  • Soybean oil, 1 Tablespoon – 76 micrograms
  • Asparagus, raw, 4 spears – 23 micrograms
  • Broccoli, ½ cup – 63 micrograms
  • Cabbage, raw, ½ cup – 52 micrograms
  • Lettuce, 1 leaf – 22 micrograms
  • Spinach, ½ cup – 131 micrograms 
  • Chickpeas, 30g – 74 micrograms
  • Strawberries, 1 cup – 21 micrograms
  • Green tea, dry 30g – 199 micrograms

Image credit: iStock