Your Resource for Life, Beauty, Love, Life Health and Hair

Life and Beauty Weekly is your daily resource for editorial tips, ideas and articles about hair, health, life, love and beauty. Your path to happiness begins with caring for yourself.

Cancer-Preventing Moves to Make Right Now

Preventing cancer often seems like a long, dreary list of don’ts: don’t smoke, don’t go out without sunscreen, etc. But along with the no-nos are lots of positive dos -- easy steps that could reduce your cancer risks. “The best defense is enjoying a colorful, plant-rich diet and an active lifestyle,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietician based in New York and author of Younger Next Week, who notes that such smart choices can also benefit your heart and your brain.

Here are a few ways you can boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

Take the Weight Off

Obesity and excess weight are “clearly associated” with postmenopausal breast cancer, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and are implicated in others, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS also says that excess weight accounts for 14 to 20 percent of all cancer deaths. Trimming down to a healthy weight with a waistline of less than 32 inches (a measurement which is an important indicator of dangerous belly fat) can cut your risk.  

Shake a Leg

The National Cancer Institute notes that there is “strong evidence” that physical activity reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer, while other studies suggest links to lower lung, endometrial and prostate cancer.

How much exercise is enough? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week for adults and an hour a day for kids -- with at least three of those hours being “vigorous” activity (hiking, running over 6 mph, soccer, etc.). And you don’t have to spend all that time in the gym. Romp on the beach with your kids, go dancing with your spouse or play a fun game of volleyball.

Got young daughters? Vigorous exercise is especially important for pre-pubescent girls, says epidemiologist Ruby Senie, PhD, of Columbia University, because it could postpone the start of menstruation, limiting their lifetime exposure to estrogen and later risk of breast cancer.  

Go Big on GBGG

That stands for Greens/Beans/Grains/Garlic, a cancer-fighting combo that health experts recommend for your daily diet. Many -- though not all -- published studies link cruciferous veggies such as arugula, watercress and broccoli to lower risk of lung, colon, stomach and other cancers. Beans and grains pack plenty of fiber, shown by numerous studies to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. And research cited by the National Cancer Institute suggests that regular garlic consumption can decrease the risk of stomach, colon and pancreatic cancer.

Feast on Fruits, Nom on Nuts

Blackberries and raspberries are not only delicious; they also deliver more fiber than broccoli, not to mention bolstering your defenses against colon and breast cancer. Enjoying a peach a couple of times a week could lower your risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to one large study. And while nuts are higher in calories than berries, nibbling an ounce of them twice a week might also protect against pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Indulge in Moderation

Enjoying a little Chardonnay once in a while is fine -- just don’t overdo it. The ACS emphasizes that drinking alcohol in any form raises the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, colon and breast. Stick to recommended consumption levels to moderate the damage: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

Studies also link high intake of red meats with higher rates of colorectal cancer, so limit your consumption to 6 ounces twice a week, says Zied. And when you’re going to grill your rib-eye, marinate it first: Grilling produces carcinogens called HCAs, but researchers from Kansas State University found that marinating meat for half an hour cuts the HCA level by up to 88 percent.

Keep Cool! Stopping Sweat in Its Tracks

While many of us have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of summer with open arms, we may be less than thrilled about the effect that wonderfully steamy weather has on the underside of those arms … not to mention the scalp, chest and forehead.

Although you can’t stop sweating altogether -- this essential function helps regulate our internal temperature and cools the body year-round -- there are ways to keep those sweat-prone areas dry when the temperature soars. As you embrace your favorite summer activities, from outdoor workouts to backyard cookouts, keep these perspiration-stopping tips in mind:

Skip the Silk

A variety of factors can impact how much you perspire -- including the clothes you wear. Wearing fabrics like silk or polyester can increase your body temperature and bring on the dampness. Wear light, breathable clothing with loosely woven fabrics and natural fibers like cotton or linen to help prevent sweat stains and decrease perspiration. If you’re in an air-conditioned environment, such as an office or movie theater, dress in layers that you can easily take off to avoid overheating.

Go Bland

Spicy foods can up your body temperature as well, so if you’re prone to perspiration, avoid the hot sauce when you barbecue. Switching to iced coffee and tea can also help you keep your cool.

Pick the Right Product

Contrary to popular belief, deodorants and antiperspirants are two different products. Deodorants help cover up the odors associated with perspiration, but to curb the wetness itself, you need an antiperspirant. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum, which soaks into the skin, blocking sweat.

Head for Your Pantry

Antiperspirants can be applied anywhere on the body, but may cause irritation to sensitive areas of your skin. To keep your chest dry and cool, dust some baking soda under and around your breasts. If your scalp tends to sweat, apply dry shampoo or baby powder before you go out.  

Keep Clean

To keep sweat at bay, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, stresses frequent showers with antibacterial soap to clear away the perspiration and fight the bacteria that cause body odor.

Change Your Routine

If you typically shower in the morning, try switching to bedtime, and apply your antiperspirant after toweling off. This gives it more time to work because your skin is dry and your body temperature is naturally lower at night. If you apply it in the morning, increased temperature and sweat volume may cause the antiperspirant to wash away too soon.

Get a Checkup

Sometimes, excess perspiration can be a sign that something else is wrong. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity or an overactive thyroid, can increase sweating, says Jaliman. If you’ve been perspiring more than usual for no apparent reason, consult your doctor.

Call a Professional

If sweating is really affecting your lifestyle, there are additional options to consider. Prescription or clinical strength over-the-counter antiperspirants can reduce excessive sweating by blocking the sweat glands more effectively. And in extreme cases, Botox injections have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help combat underarm sweat and can decrease perspiration for about seven months, says Jaliman.

To learn more about excessive sweating, visit the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website.

7 Tips to Being a Successful Work-at-Home Mom

Generations ago, staying home with the kids meant a life of housework and homework. Today, it’s likely to include conference calls, invoicing and paychecks, as more women discover the perks of being a work-at-home mom. If you’ve been considering starting your own home-based business, here are seven important tips to keep in mind.

1. Find the right job. If you already have a career in mind, or your current boss has agreed to a telecommuting arrangement, then lucky you! But if you’re not sure what sort of at-home job to pursue, do some research to find a good match for your interests and skills. Websites such as WAHM.com, HBWM.com and RatRaceRebellion.com are excellent resources for “mompreneurs.”

Among the many home-based business options available today are virtual call center and office assistant jobs, social media management, catalog sales, blogging and data entry. Or consider turning a hobby you love, such as photography or jewelry making, into a career.

2. Beware of scams. Steer clear of any company that asks for an up-front fee (although virtual call centers do require a small payment for background checks). Work-at-home expert Christine Durst, co-founder of RatRaceRebellion.com, also warns against clicking links on Facebook threads from people promising business opportunities (“Earn $7,000 a month!”). These are usually recruiters from shady pyramid scheme companies.

3. Know the costs. Depending on your line of work, you’ll probably need to invest in supplies such as shipping materials or software upgrades. Do your homework before you begin to make sure your new job won’t break your budget. If your start-up costs are high, look into options such as small business loans or even a crowdfunding campaign.

And it may take a while before you see a profit, so set aside enough savings to see you through the lean times. “There’s a real misconception out there that you can slap up a blog or start doing direct sales and money will pour in,” says Kelly Land, founder of MoneyMakingMommy.com. “Ask yourself: Can I do this around my current job so I’ll still have an income, or is there another source of income to keep us going while I do this?”

4. Take your job seriously. Just because you’re not putting on high heels in the morning doesn’t mean you’re not working. Set regular hours and stick to them, even if it means letting the housework slide or putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your home office door.

5. Have a child care plan. While the point of being a WAHM is being there for your kids, it still pays to have a good support system just in case. A trusted sitter, loving grandparents or a reliable friend can be a lifesaver when you’re dealing with deadlines and a restless toddler all at once.

6. Be prepared to lose sleep. Between work responsibilities and kids’ activity schedules, many work-at-home moms find that their work day is a lot longer than the eight-hour norm. “Getting up before everyone and staying up later was the only way I could stay on track and get things accomplished,” says Land. “A lot of times, I’d just nap when the kids did.”

7. Find time to unwind. Running a business and a family can be stressful, so don’t forget to put some me time in your day. “For me, gaming is how I relieve stress,” says Land. “I have one friend who goes out and weeds when things get crazy, and another who can’t live without her weekly facial. The key is to find a healthy

Body and Soul: 6 Ways to Take Care of Your Whole Self

If you think of health as simply swapping apples for cookies or getting a flu shot, you’re only seeing part of the picture. Complete wellness means maintaining balance in body, mind and spirit -- which is not always easy to do if you’re the kind of person who puts themselves last in line for TLC. “As women, we tend to take on more than we can chew,” says Elizabeth Trattner, an integrative health expert in Miami, Florida. “No one wrote the handbook on how much should women juggle.” Take control of your well-being and care for yourself with these wellness tips.

Care for Your Mind

Focus on the positive: The next time you feel self-defeating about your to-do list or a stressful work situation, try to see things in a positive light. Hard as it may be, give yourself a “this too shall pass” pep talk, then think about something fun. “By focusing on pleasant experiences, we generally have a better outcome,” says Kim Chronister, a wellness expert and psychologist in Los Angeles. “Olympic athletes take ten minutes to engage in positive thinking, so we should, too.”

Make it work by: allowing yourself to acknowledge your negative thoughts. Then let them simply float away and replace them with happier messages.

Take a vacation -- in your head: If you find it hard to break a stressed-out mood, try this. Let your thoughts linger on an upcoming vacation and then sketch out what you’re going to do -- without ever leaving your desk. “What this does is to help you set aside your current worries and replace them with something fun that’s on the horizon,” says Chronister.

Make it work by: adding music to the mix. If you’re dreaming of a weekend by the shore, put your earbuds in and tune in to your summer favorites.

Care for Your Spiritual Side

Get out in nature: To best feel spiritually fulfilled, step outside at least once a day to see the beauty in the natural world. “What happens is that you’ve disconnected from things around you,” says Trattner. “Whether it’s the woods, the ocean, a lake or even a flower shop, by being in nature you’ll feel the powerful effects of harmonizing with nature.”

Make it work by: leaving your electronic devices at your desk -- or at least turned off -- during your outdoor time. You can’t truly immerse yourself in nature if you’re distracted by a screen.

Learn how to meditate: No matter what your religion or belief system, daily meditation can help you connect with your spiritual self. It can also help you find deeper purpose and meaning in your life.

Make it work by: choosing a set hour and space for your daily meditation. This makes it easier to keep to the habit, according to The New York Meditation Center. Plan to spend at least five minutes sitting quietly, focusing on your breathing.

Care for Your Body

Learn how to breathe -- better: Turns out, one of our most basic functions -- breathing -- is something many of us are doing incorrectly. While most of us take upper body breaths, we should strive to take belly breaths that allow for the maximum flow of oxygen. “When you take a breath in, you should feel taller,” says Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist and author of Breathe. “But most of us are breathing from our upper bodies up near our shoulders.” Belly breathing can also help restore your energy, lower blood pressure, improve your sleep and even recharge your immune system.

Make it work by: placing one hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button. As you breathe, relax your belly so that it expands when you inhale and contracts when you exhale. Your hand should rise and fall about an inch as you do.

Find a trampoline (or a jump rope or hula hoop … ): Exercise doesn’t have to be dull or grueling. If you loved bouncing on a trampoline or skipping rope when you were growing up, go for it now! The goal: to find an exercise regimen that’s fun and makes you feel engaged. “We know exercise is as effective as antidepressants in improving mood and having a positive approach to life,” says Chronister. So grab your walking shoes or hula hoop and commit to getting your body moving for at least 20 minutes a day.

Make it work by: exercising early in the morning. You’ll feel energized all day and fall asleep more easily at night. Studies also show that you’re more likely to stick to a morning workout than an evening one.