fbpx

Category: Health

To Read or Not to Read

ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL! Do you recognise this quote? It’s from Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. What about the title? It’s from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a little bit changed.

Today, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series, we want to talk about why reading is beneficial! We know, we know, we’re starting to sound like your parents, but hear us out first, decide later : )

harrypotter_blog

Whether you read women’s magazines, a Charles Dickens novel, poetry, short stories or new fiction, reading benefits the mind and body:

  1. At the end of the day, you’ve had your dinner but you feel tired and can’t sleep yet? Reading helps you to relieve stress and fall asleep! I personally fall asleep after three pages of Charles Dickens or Wuthering Heights.
  2. It improves your memory, decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s – now, if that isn’t a fantastic benefit I don’t know what is!
  3. Scientific studies have concluded that those who read regularly are more empathetic! When you read about how others are feeling, you learn to read those signs on people’s faces and in their body stances when you speak to them in person, allowing you to have better social interactions.  

Reading is also beneficial when you learn a new language – but that shouldn’t be a surprise! Don’t be mad, but when we learn new things we are like children absorbing new information, wherever it might be from.

The main benefit of reading in a foreign language you are learning is that it helps you remember vocabulary better. Reading words in familiar and unfamiliar contexts helps us understand the different meanings. If you don’t understand the word contextually, grab a dictionary-thesaurus. Reading also helps to improve your speaking and writing! You might not even notice that you are improving but your subconscious picks up on correct phrasing and words and hey, presto! – you are using them too.

If you don’t want to read children’s books, maybe YA (Young Adults)? These are slightly longer and more difficult to read, but at least it isn’t Shakespeare – the truth is, Shakespeare is difficult for British people too!

My advice? If a book you love was translated into English, read it in English. At least you know the story already and can focus on improving your English!

Peace Out!

Conceptual Books

Nature: the kind of green that heals us.

Hey there, Speak Up Londoners. Do you remember the time when with our blog articles we tried to improve the quality of our readers’ lives by sharing informative bits with them? Of course you remember, we do it every week! Today we will be talking about nature and its beneficial impact on our wellbeing.

 

Although the cities we live in are mainly made of concrete, our inner us will always try to connect with the nature in the outside world, because – hold on for the revelation – nature is good for us.

 

Let’s make one of our beloved lists to discover how much your body and mind can benefit from staying in contact with the sometimes forgotten mother nature.

 

  1. According to some researchers, being in contact with nature helps you improve your physical health in multiple ways:
  • It reduces blood pressure
  • It reduces heart rate
  • It reduces muscle tension
  1. If the previous point is not enough to delineate the great gift nature is, we would like to add that nature also has positive consequences for the mind. Among these there are indeed the decrease in negative feelings (like anger) and the increase in positive moods among the people who experience it.
  2. Living a life in connection with nature seems to be correlated with an increase in life satisfaction and happiness.

 

If on the one hand it is true that appreciating nature is good because of its positive effects on people, on the other hand this practice is also beneficial the other way round. By acknowledging the treasure that nature represents for us, we will pay more attention, and make a bigger effort, to safeguard it.

 

Therefore, dear and loyal readers, while you are around Hyde Park, Green Park or even just in your backyard taking pictures of grass and flowers in this London summer, remember that that little corner of green is a lot more than just a great pic for Instagram!

 

Maria Chiara Strano

london nature

Iced Tea: taste and health on the rocks.

We are in London. The city that has witnessed the performances of the best bands in the whole world. The city of great museums. The city of the Queen. And what else? London, being the capital of the UK, must be one of the busiest cities for having tea at 5pm. If not, it doesn’t matter, we just needed an effective introduction for our article =D.

 

Well, today’s topic isn’t the traditional afternoon tea, but its young, summery version: iced tea. Before going on and enumerating all the benefits of tea, it is essential to say that iced tea isn’t the healthiest beverage in the world. However, in comparison with the carbonated alternatives, it surely represents a healthier option.

 

Tea is generally considered healthier than iced tea. The obvious reason is that iced tea is more likely to be full of sweeteners that balance out the benefits of tea. Though, if you prefer a cold drink rather than a mug of steaming tea, an unsweetened, decaf version of it, might help you maintain the benefits of tea and dramatically reduce its downsides. Let’s not dawdle and let’s get on with the list! Are you interested in knowing some of its benefits? Keep reading!

 

  • Tea is full of antioxidants, which mean drinking tea might be beneficial for your skin.
  • It increases your level of alertness.
  • It can help you lose weight if unsweetened – and in moderation.
  • Among the reasons why it differs from other beverages is the fact that tea lacks sodium.

 

What we listed above are just few of the reasons why iced tea and tea are so popular with the population. Moreover, whether or not people are aware of tea’s positive effects, what is undeniable is that its particular taste can satisfy its drinkers’ deepest needs, and on request, can be steaming and cosy during winter or on the rocks and refreshing during the hottest months of the year. Therefore people, fill your cups, drink tea with moderation, and enjoy its positive effects.

Maria Chiara Strano

Iced Tea
Iced Tea

Your puppy is your treasure, celebrate them!

Hello, Speak Up London friends. If we asked you to tell us 3 things that everybody loves, what would you answer? Can we take a guess? Puppies are in the top three. Why? Because they are the cutest creatures that ever set foot in the world. Ok, sure, babies will also probably make the top 3, but today it’s all about puppies, since today is National Puppy Day!

 

Whether or not you have a little fluffy friend, we are pretty sure you know that that kind of bond is unique. Indeed, our little friends help us be happier in so many different ways they really deserve a day to celebrate their cathartic presence in our existence. Do you need some evidence? Keep reading!

 

Our little furry friends are always ready to comfort us, by bringing us a lot of warmth and happiness. Not only are they cute and keep us company, but they also improve our social life and our health.

 

First things first, do you remember the Disney movie “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”? Long story short, the Dalmatians’ owners met and fell in love thanks to their pets. Indeed it is proved that owning a pet is a great way to improve your social skills. To be more specific, according to several studies, caring for a pet has positive effects on one’s interaction with their surroundings, within the community they live.

 

The improvements puppies bring to our lives go further. In fact, the presence of these fun little creatures in our lives have been linked with an increase in the health of their owners. Indeed, having those little cuties around relieves stress and helps improve the heart’s health. This is both connected to the physical exercise that people who own puppies usually do (e.g. walking their dogs), and to the simple interaction between pets and humans.

 

In other words, it is clear that our little friends play a big role in our well being: they are always present, and being around them makes us healthier and happier. Also, as if the previous elements weren’t enough to state the beneficial effects of living with puppies, it has been proven that owning a pet might help improve one’s emotional health, boosting one’s self-confidence and making them more extroverted. They are cute, they make us better versions of ourselves and they keep us company even in our darkest moments. I think it is fair to say that they really deserve a day dedicated to them. Remember to say thank you to your little furry friends!

 

On a more serious note, we would like to speak to those who would like to enhance their family with some puppies. Be aware that behind the acquisition of these little creatures there might be the possibility of some circumstances which are of a more sombre nature. Numerous cases of unlicensed breeding facilities have been reported, where puppies are not treated with love and care and not kept in humane conditions. Due to this lack of good health in medical examinations they are taken away from their mothers too early and are considered as a commodity to be sold.  As pet lovers, and as human beings we have the duty to oppose this despicable practice. The best way to do this is by adopting our new friends. Consider adoption first, and rescue your new beloved friend! Happy National Puppy Day, Speak Up London friends.

 

Maria Chiara Strano

IMG_1411

Have a laugh!

Hello, Speak Up London friends. It is pretty clear that one of our priorities is to help you maintain (or achieve) your physical and mental wellbeing. On this note, we are glad to inform you that today’s blog article stands between wellbeing and happiness. Today will be speaking about one of the most natural ways to achieve this sweet spot: Laughing.

Yeah, we know, that’s not a completely new statement. Of course, you already know that laughing is good, even if it just about the positive feeling it spreads in our bodies, but do you actually know how good it is? As always, we are happy to chip in!

Laughing is good for your health. Indeed, the effects of laughing on health are numerous:

  • It improves your health because it boosts your immune system.
  • It releases endorphins, therefore it works like a natural painkiller.
  • It helps decrease stress hormones.
  • It helps protect the heart by increasing the blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels.

Moreover, the good influence of laughing is visible also on other aspects of your life. In fact, a good laugh can improve your social life. Are you curious to know how?

  • Laughing with someone – notice the preposition: with someone, not at someone – improves your relationship with that person.
  • It can help solve conflicts among people.
  • Laughter is contagious, which is one of the reasons why it can easily enhance group work or group bonding.

Having displayed some of the most common benefits of laughter, we believe it’s time to remind you to do it, as often as possible. There are countless ways to laugh, you can hang out with fun people (our favourite), look for jokes on the Internet, or even simply remember funny experiences. Therefore, remember the importance that laughter has in your life and don’t miss a chance to have a laugh. It is good for your health, it is good for your social life, and it is definitely good for your spirit!

Beyond the taste of Pistachios

Hello, Speak Up London students. Since it’s World Pistachio Day on 26th February, today we’re going to talk about one of our favourite nuts – the humble pistachio. Well, let’s start by saying that they’re delicious. Ok, that might be stating the obvious. But is it just their irresistible taste that makes them so popular? To understand that, we need to know a little bit more about this delicious green seed, pistachio.

Let’s start by acknowledging the fact that among ancient peoples the pistachio was a common food, which was first found in Syria and then later introduced into Roman territories in Europe by the Roman proconsul Lucius Vitellius the Elder. Since then pistachio seeds have been cultivated in an increasing number of countries from the US to China. What drove so many civilizations to engage in the cultivation of pistachios? Have we mentioned their irresistible taste?

According to several researchers, the benefits brought by this seed are numerous. Pistachio is considered one of the nuts whose consumption in certain doses may lower the risk of heart disease. Also, in terms of managing your weight, pistachios are the best choice among nuts, due to their low calories and high protein. Another benefit of the pistachio is its antioxidant properties that can work as a defense against diabetes. What’s more, its antioxidants also work in helping to reduce the risk of contracting the age-related macular disease in the elderly.

And if that isn’t enough, we would like to add to pistachios’ benefits the fact that, when consumed in certain doses, it boosts our immunity, helps us maintain a healthy brain and they have anti-inflammation properties. So, dear students, it is clear that is more than enough reasons to explain the success and popularity of this incredible edible seed. Now, having acknowledged the properties and the benefits of pistachio, we can’t do anything but enjoy eating some, as part of a balanced diet (of course).