Rising #carbon #dioxide level affecting #food #quality

Rising carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is lowering protein in key dietary crops which may affect the nutritious value of foods, a new study has warned.

SQF_000004651059MediumFor the first time, a field test has demonstrated that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants’ assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies, researchers said.

“Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing,” said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the department of plant sciences at University of California, Davis.

“Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop,” he said.

The assimilation, or processing, of nitrogen plays a key role in the plant’s growth and productivity.

In food crops, it is especially important because plants use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Wheat, in particular, provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet.

To observe the response of wheat to different levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the researchers examined samples of wheat that had been grown in 1996 and 1997 in the Maricopa Agricultural Center near Phoenix, Arizona.

At that time, carbon dioxide-enriched air was released in the fields, creating an elevated level of atmospheric carbon at the test plots, similar to what is now expected to be present in the next few decades.

Control plantings of wheat were also grown in the ambient, untreated level of carbon dioxide.

In the recent study, the researchers documented that three different measures of nitrate assimilation affirmed that the elevated level of atmospheric carbon dioxide had inhibited nitrate assimilation into protein in the field-grown wheat.

“These field results are consistent with findings from previous laboratory studies, which showed that there are several physiological mechanisms responsible for carbon dioxide’s inhibition of nitrate assimilation in leaves,” Bloom said.

Bloom noted that other studies also have shown that protein concentrations in the grain of wheat, rice and barley — as well as in potato tubers — decline, on average, by approximately 8 per cent under elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

“When this decline is factored into the respective portion of dietary protein that humans derive from these various crops, it becomes clear that the overall amount of protein available for human consumption may drop by about 3 per cent as atmospheric carbon dioxide reaches the levels anticipated to occur during the next few decades,” Bloom said.

The finding was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

12 #Ways To Be #Happier At #Work In Less Than 10 Minutes

What’s the key to workplace happiness?

12 Ways To Be Happier At Work In Less Than 10 Minutes

12 Ways To Be Happier At Work In Less Than 10 Minutes

If you ask bestselling author Sharon Salzberg, she’ll tell you that it’s a combination of knowing what you’re doing in the moment and feeling like your work is meaningful.

At the intersection of that in-the-moment awareness and overall meaning is mindfulness, Salzberg argues in her new book,  ” Real Happiness at Work.” As one of America’s leading meditation teachers, the book is a toolkit for incorporating mindfulness — and thus real happiness — into our daily working lives.

Don’t worry, “mindfulness” doesn’t require sitting cross-legged in your conference room. As Salzberg explains, it’s about having a “balanced awareness” of what’s happening around you, so that you can understand it rather than  just react to it.

With that in mind, here are a dozen simple ways to be happier at work, in less than 10 minutes each:

1. Remember that happiness at work comes from having a sense of meaning.

“People say that the largest contributing factor in happiness at work is  meaning, which you sometimes find in the job description or sometimes outside of it,” Salzberg says , “and one of the largest sources (of unhappiness) is feeling unappreciated.”

Research backs it up. Harvard professor Teresa Amabile has found that feeling like you’re making even incremental progress in your career  leads to happiness at work, while experiments by Wharton professor Adam Grant have shown that people are more engaged when they feel appreciated — and they perform better, too.

2. Take note of how many people you rely on — and how many rely on you.

“One of the reflections I ask people to do is: How many people need to  do their jobs well for you to do your job well?” Salzberg says. It helps you realize how much you rely on everybody else.

A programmer can’t make the next great app without a designer, and that product won’t move without a sales team. In this way, you get a greater sense of how much your work is linked to others, and it feels more meaningful as a result.

3. Before a big meeting, think about the outcome.

Before you have a major conversation or get on an important phone call, Salzberg says to think about what you want to get out of the encounter.

“You can just ask, ‘Do I want to be harmful? Do I want to be  helpful? Do I want to put the other person down? Do I want to find a  resolution?'” Salzberg says. Then you’ll have an idea of the outcome you’re hoping for, which will make the day feel much more under your control.

4. Find ways to “break the momentum” of the day.

Our workdays are full of emails, meetings, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. That can lead to feeling out of control. A lot of the work of injecting happiness into our days is stopping that momentum, which you could do by pausing to breathe for a few seconds before you talk to, call, or email someone.

“Without some breathing space in the face of constant demands, we won’t be creative, competent, or cheerful,” she writes. “We won’t get along with others, take criticism without imploding, or control the level of our daily stress.”

5. Don’t pick up the phone on the first ring.

Instead of picking up the phone on the first  ring, breathe and wait until the third ring,”  Salzberg says.

By waiting for those two rings, you’re adding in much-needed breathing space into an action that would otherwise just be a reaction.

6. Wait to click send…

“Don’t click send on the email right away — breathe and reread it,” she says. “The classic example would be getting irate and sending something with hostility. Although Gmail gives you a few seconds, life doesn’t give us that many unsend buttons, so give some space to see if we’ve crafted a conversation we actually want.”

To Salzberg, much of real happiness is a matter of being aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it — and enraged people aren’t typically conscious of their actions.

7. …Or send the email to yourself first.

Receiving your own email gives you the experience of being the recipient. Instead of getting into an energy-sapping misunderstanding, you can actually get a sense of how your message will be read.

8. Monotask at least once a day.

When you get halfway through your day, drink a cup of coffee, and only drink the coffee.

“Just drink the coffee — rather than being on a conference  call, checking your email, and having a TV on mute so you can read the  crawl,” she says. “It’s  another way of breaking that high-pressured momentum.”

Even though multitasking might feel more effective, it’s not.

9. Remember that the people in your meetings are people, too.

When you sit down for a meeting, look around. Salzberg says it’s a great way to remember that each person wants to be happy, even if they have different ideas of what that might look like.

This helps build compassion for others’ experiences, Salzberg says, which makes you better able to relate to people — a major source of meaning — and be patient when they have an idea you disagree with.

10. Schedule a one-minute meditation session.

As Salzberg says, a meditation practice is really just paying attention to physical sensations. And doing it for a little bit every day has major affects on anxiety, stress, and depression. How do you do it? Here are the instructions she gave us:

“Use the body and breathe. You don’t even have to close your eyes. Tune into the actual sensations of the breath so you can feel it come in and go out. Notice the thoughts and emotions that come, and try your best to have an interest in them as experiences in the moment. Mindfulness is all about relationships. It’s not about stopping the thoughts and blanking out; it’s relating to them and watching them, rather than being taken over by them. Then we have a choice: I’m going to let that thought go, or I’m going to act on it.”  11. At the end of the day, reflect on both the positive and the negative.

Most of the time, heading out of the office is the time for rehearsing everything that went wrong that day. Salzberg suggests also reflecting on what went well. That way you’re not denying that some things went poorly, but you’re getting a richer picture of what happened.

12. Throughout the day, set a reminder.

When you start a task, you can set a timer on your phone or in your browser to ding every 25 minutes or so, giving a little reminder to clear out any distractions. This allows you to be more aware of whether you’re on task or if you’re lost in an Internet rabbit hole. In this way, you can enlist your phone to help you be more focused, more conscientious, and ultimately happier.

“Mindfulness isn’t hard to accomplish,” Salzberg says. “It just  tends to be increasingly hard to remember.”

#Fruits, #veggies, #nuts keep #kidney #stones away

A healthy diet helps prevent kidney stones, says a new study.

Fruits-veggies-nuts-keep-kidney-stones-awayThe study claims that loading up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains, while limiting salt, red and processed meats, and sweetened beverages is an effective way to ward off kidney stones.

To reach the conclusion, Eric Taylor, MD (Maine Medical Center) and his colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a large study.

The investigators collected information from individuals enrolled in three clinical studies: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (45,821 men followed for 18 years), the Nurses”” Health Study I (94,108 older women followed for 18 years), and the Nurses”” Health Study II (101,837 younger women followed for 14 years).

Dr. Taylor’s team assigned a score to each participant based on eight components of a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) style diet: high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains and low intake of salt, sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats.

Individuals with higher DASH scores consumed diets that were higher in calcium, potassium, magnesium, oxalate, and vitamin C and lower in sodium.

A total of 5,645 incident kidney stones developed in the participants in the three studies. In each study, participants with the highest DASH scores were between 40 percent and 45 percent less likely to develop kidney stones than participants with the lowest DASH scores. The reductions in kidney stone risk were independent of age, body size, fluid intake, and other factors.

Because a DASH-style diet may affect the development of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases associated with kidney stones, the researchers also performed an analysis limited to study participants without hypertension or diabetes. Even among those individuals the DASH diet reduced the risk of kidney stones.

5-point #gym #protocol to follow

Following gym etiquette are as important as being well-mannered at the dining table, office or while traveling by public transport. Sometimes, you might forget about people around you in a gym and end up doing things that annoy others. Here’s a look at some of the unsaid rules you must follow when you if you frequent the gym:

5-point-gym-protocol-to-follow-jpg1. Avoid gym when you’re sick: If you go to the gym while you battle a flu, tiny microbes are likely to get stuck on equipment. This will result in your gym mates catching the flu as well. While you are down with a cold, but feel like working out, it is better to do an outdoor activity like jogging or brisk walking depending on your condition. If you still want to workout in gym, then ensure that you sanitize all equipment after use.

2. Focus only on what you do: Make sure that you are completely focused on workouts that you do, irrespective of distractions you might face in gym. This will not only make the person working out next you comfortable, but also helps you leave the gym without injuries due to carelessness and have a productive time at gym.

3. Appropriate dressing is important: While appropriate dressing enhances your workout sessions by helping you move comfortably, it also avoids unwanted attention from fellow gym mates — especially if you are in a unisex gym. Wear clothing that covers your body appropriately and which helps you exercise with ease and confidence. Also avoid baggy clothing as you may tend to trip over it or it may get caught between equipment.

4. Share with your gym partner: Learn to share equipment with your gym mates. If you are taking a small break, don’t leave your towel on the machine thinking that it will be available while you return. Let someone else slip in and do his set. That will save everyone’s time.

5. Have patience: If someone is working out on a machine, don’t rush or crowd around him just so that you can use it. One of the most annoying things that one can do is keep asking ‘Are you almost done?’Avoid it. Wait till he finishes and be prepared for your turn.