Today is April 12

Published 8:00 am Monday, April 12, 2021

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D.E.A.R (Drop Everything and Read) Day

Avid readers know that a good book can be a great escape. In addition to being a go-to hobby on rainy days and a great way to get away from the daily grind, reading can have a profound impact on mental health.

A 2013 study published in the journal Brain Connectivity used MRI scans to measure the effects of reading on the brain. The scans showed that reading not only triggered brain connectivity while reading, but also continued to do so for days afterward.

The dawn of a new year is widely seen as a great time for people to make positive changes, and many of those are rooted in personal growth. If that personal growth involves reading more, then the following are some ways people can find more time to get away with a good book.

  • Take a book to the gym. Weightlifting and reading might not be a match made in heaven, but taking an e-reader along with you to the treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike can be great way to pass the time while breaking a sweat. Instead of firing up a streaming service during your cardiovascular workout, bring an e-reader and read a book. That can make your workout twice as beneficial because you’ll be working out your body and your brain at the same time.
  • Hit the books before bed. Many people find time to read right before going to bed each night. Reading before bed is a great time to get some reading in, and it also can benefit readers in a unique way. A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Sussex found that six minutes of reading before bed reduces stress by 68 percent.
  • Listen to books while commuting. While it takes some getting used to, listening to audiobooks is another way to indulge in a good book. Though various studies have suggested audiobooks can lead to lower levels of reading comprehension than reading traditional print books, people with hectic schedules may need to give a little to get a little. Professionals with long commute times can turn their daily drives to and from the office into opportunities to listen to audiobooks. It might not be quite the same as reading a print book, but it’s still a great way to dive into a good story.
  • Turn the television off. Data collected from Nielsen in 2018 found that the average adult now spends nearly six hours per day watching television, videos on a smartphone or tablet and/or videos on devices connected to their televisions. Adults who want to find more time to read may need to just turn off their televisions and devices and spend more time reading than watching videos.

Reading more can be a great way to grow as a person and that growth can have a profound effect on readers’ overall health.


Grilled Cheese Day

There are many, many variations of this favorite.

Ultimate Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese

  • 8 slices firm white bread
  • 4 ounces Decatur Dairy Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Maple Leaf Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Burnett Dairy® Hot Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened

Top four slices of bread with the cheddar, gouda and pepper jack. Top with remaining bread. Spread the outsides of sandwiches with butter.

 Toast one sandwich, covered, in a large skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the side is golden brown. Flip sandwich; cook, uncovered, 2-4 minutes longer or until bread is lightly golden brown and cheeses are melted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

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Licorice Day

Licorice International sells licorice brands and varieties from around the world. According to their website licorice is not a recent discovery. The ancient Egyptians used it as a pharmaceutical, and copious supplies were found in King Tut’s tomb. Egyptian hieroglyphics record the use of licorice as a popular beverage among the men of the time.

Manuscripts from 360 A.D. talk of licorice helping eye ailments, skin diseases, coughs, and loss of hair. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar are on record as endorsing the benefits of eating licorice. Since the 14th century, it has been used to soothe coughs, colds, and bronchitis.

Napoleon Bonaparte found licorice soothing during battle; he allegedly ate so much of it that his teeth turned black. (Don’t worry. The amount of licorice found in most of today’s licorice candy will not discolor your teeth.)

Modern licorice candy dates from 17th century Holland. At the time, Holland was one of the world’s most powerful countries. Her intrepid sailors spread this wonderful delicacy to other European nations. Today, licorice candy is manufactured throughout Europe, America, and Australia.

The Health Benefits of Licorice

Licorice is especially useful in fighting bronchitis, upper respiratory catarrh, and coughs. It stimulates mucus production and helps to loosen sticky phlegm. It also contains a chemical that has cough-suppressant properties.

Licorice also helps reduce stomach acid and increases mucus secretion in the gastric tract, soothing irritation and inflammation. It can be used to fight heartburn, indigestion, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. It may also shorten the healing time of mouth ulcers.

Small amounts of licorice, such as those found in candies, do not pose a risk. However, licorice is a powerful drug, and serious health problems can result from taking it at medicinal levels for long periods of time.

People who have high blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, as well as anyone who is taking digitalis or who has had a stroke or heart attack should limit their licorice intake.

Quick Facts About Licorice

The licorice plant, a shrub, is officially a weed. It is about four feet tall with purplish flowers and grows in hot, dry places.

Licorice root is one of the most popular herbs in the world. Its botanical name comes from the Greek words meaning “sweet root.”

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, and Hindus recognized the natural medicinal qualities of licorice. Licorice helps relieve the pains that accompany certain types of ulcers, and it is good for the adrenal glands.

Carbenoxolone, a compound derived from licorice root, may help slow the effects of aging on the brain. Licorice root is a botanical ingredient in modern Chinese medicines used to manage cancers. Current research conducted at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, supports the use of licorice in the treatment of prostate and breast cancer.

In the United States, anise seed is a popular substitute flavoring for licorice. Although the anise seed has an unmistakable licorice flavor, it is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorice.

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