Monday, August 28, 2006

Tea healthier than a glass of water: "The belief that drinking tea leads to loss of fluids and possibly dehydration has been quashed by scientists. They say drinking four cups a day can be beneficial - and better than plain water. Tea not only rehydrates but also protects against heart disease and cancer - as well as cutting tooth decay and possibly improving bone strength. The key component is a group of antioxidants called flavonoids which help prevent cell damage. Like fruit and vegetables, tea is a good source of flavonoids - three cups contain eight times the capacity of an apple. "You don't find these antioxidants in pure water," chief scientist Carrie Ruxton said. The British research was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Pet therapy: "He might not look the hero type but pet dog Ralph has already saved one life and now spends his days helping others. Nellie Worringham, an 18-year-old Brisbane student, saved the lovable "bitzer" from an RSPCA shelter last year. Ralph went on to return the favour. Nellie had been batting depression and an eating disorder and had tried to take her own life. But now the mutt has given her reason to live. "Ralph changed everything for me. He is always there and whatever is happening with me he is always his happy self," she said. "He was someone that I had to look after, so I had to look after myself as well." Inspired by him, Nellie is back on her feet and studying at Yeronga TAFE to be a counsellor [The blind leading the blind?]. "Ralph comes too. We've both been studying the mental health course for the past six months and now I am on placement at a community mental health centre," she said. "Ralph is just a fantastic icebreaker with people. Patients can pet him and talk to him and we just take it from there. "Ralph has given me a reason to live. He has touched my heart in a way I never believed possible." [My most-quoted academic paper concerned attitude to pets]

U.K.: "Organic" is "in": "As celebrity crazes go, this latest one is reasonably harmless: not hard-core drinking, drug-taking or even excessive slimming. No, the current fad for celebs who make a living out of appearing on the covers of Heat magazine is nothing other than knobbly vegetables. And free-range pigs. Fried up, that is, with some organic onion rings. "Green" food, grown without pesticides or hormones, is so hot at the moment that no right-minded member of Soho House would dare to throw a dinner party without a slab of organic fare on the menu... Being green is now accepted as being rather chic; a straightforwardly good idea worth signing up to, rather than something outwardly virtuous which requires a keen commitment to body hair and a vegan diet... Yet probably the single most crucial factor in helping to encourage this cultural sea-change is the celebrity take-up of green zeal. Liz Hurley, whose adoration of an organically reared (and very hairy) Gloucester Old Spot ended up in most of the papers last week, is said to be converting her 400-acre Cotswolds farm to organic production and launching a brand of organic baby foods (whether the labels will be designed by Donatella Versace is, as yet, unknown)".

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