Friday, June 27, 2008

More on Longevity

Check out this great slideshow from AOL Health. They address the pertinent question on many people's minds--how can I live longer? Besides the obvious things like "quit smoking" and "get more excercise" they gave some interesting advice. My favorites included: getting a pet, as caring for another living being is great for mental health. Eat more fish--omega 3 fatty acids are key to longevity. And lastly, limit alcohol consumption to less than 4 drinks per day--which should be doable for most people unless they are in college.

Up tommorow: I will be looking at vitamin consumption: can too much be bad for you?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts on Sleep

Do you ever think about sleep? It is a major part of life for humans, and it seems that most people do not think or know much about it. Conventional wisdom says to sleep around 8 hours a night, more for youngsters and less for older folk. But is there more to it than that?

According to this interesting article from, adults need 7-8 hours of unmitigated sleep per night. This one claims that any hours more or less than between 6.5-7.5 hours is bad. One thing that seems to be true is that too much consumption of caffeine or "energy drinks" (in quotes since most of them don't work or leave you with a horrible crash) can negatively effect sleep habits. And too little sleep has been tied to "ill health" and lower longevity of lifespan.

So it seems that one easy thing we can all afford to do is cut down on the poor "energy" that we are massively consuming these days. For more natural and healthy forms of energy that won't affect your sleep, try incorporating more milk, fruit and vegetable drinks, chocolate, green tea, and many others. Check out this site for unique ways of kicking your caffeine habit.

Finally, if you are still having trouble sleeping, try listening to soothing music before bed, like this purrrrrcast (yes, it is exactly what you are thinking).

-Alexander Yerpat

Friday, June 6, 2008

Simple Secrets to Longevity

We all know that life is precious--at any given moment, you could be hit by a bus or falling asteroid. You just never know when death might strike, and that is why it is so important to take the necessary steps to preserve your life for the long term.
So what are the secrets that allow one to live a long, healthy, productive life? The answers are simple and fairly easy to implement.
The first few things are pretty basic: eat healthy (more fruit!), stay active for 30 minutes a day or more, and drink or smoke only in moderation. These common sense things will do wonders for your heart, lungs, and brain--the most vital organs--over time.
Another less obvious idea that the above article points out is the theory that having a fun, stimulating, and creative job will keep your mind and body sharp and healthy. The trick, it seems, is to find a job that is allowing you to continually learn new, fulfilling, and challenging skills.
To find out more about living a long life, why not look at centenarians--people who have experience living to 100. Chinese people have embraced the art of Tai Chi to enable longer, more spry lives. Tai Chi "increases leg muscle strength and provides better balance and posture". Not to mention, it also "has numerous health benefits including: increased energy, decreased stress, an immunity boost against viruses, lowered blood pressure, better cognitive functioning, increased joint mobility, an improved cholesterol profile, relief from fibromyalgia symptoms, and even a better night's sleep".
There are also theories that living in calm environments leads to greater longevity. This means taking time out to enjoy the wilderness, away from busy, stressful cities. Breathing fresh air and getting closer to nature makes logical sense for achieving longevity.

So in sum--eat right, get closer to nature, and incorporate excercise routines like Tai Chi in order to live the longest, happiest, healthiest life.

-Alexander Yerpat

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Buying a new car?

Gasoline prices are soaring to nearly $4 per gallon in the United States. It is summertime, so you know you will want to be travelling and blasting the A/C. All this means that gasoline will be getting gurgled by the bucket. What is one to do?

Of course you want to be concerned with saving money, but you also want to reduce your carbon footprint. The goal is to waste as few resources as possible, right?

One solution might be to trade in the old crude-sipper and buy yourself a new hybrid or electric car. But this proposal will be very costly in the short run--especially in terms of sentimental value! And all jokes aside, there is proof that in most cases, it will be better for the environment to keep an old car rather than to purchase a new one. (Check that article out, it was quite elucidating).

So if you find yourself still furious and grumbling about your gas cow on wheels, don't worry too much--try and make the best of the status quo. The future is looking bright. In fact, some believe that by 2010, China will be producing quality hybrid and electric cars for $10,000 or less.

-N. Tarpey, guest contributor

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Power of Positive Thinking and Meditation

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply a few times. Try to think of calming, positive things, like a field of daisies or a bowl of ice cream (unless your are lactose intolerant). Positive thinking is a legitimate way to release endorphins! It has even been known to "ease pain even if a medication is physically ineffective" in certain cases.

Taking the power of positive thinking a step further, another way to make yourself feel better is to meditate. Meditation typically involves sitting in a quiet, comfortable environment. The point is to try and relax not only the muscles in your mind, but also that muscle in your head--the brain! Every day stressful things happen to each and every one of us, and those things weigh heavily on your brain. Meditation is a way to relieve your mind of needless trash and waste that is clogging it constantly. Veterans to the meditation game call it "freeing your mind".

Meditation can improve your concentration and help you to focus on what is most important in life. It also has bodily health benefits, including "improvement of body luster and general health--when your mind focuses on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that part increases and cells receive more oxygen and other nutrients in abundance. Today, many of the film stars and fashion models include meditation in their daily regimen."

The best part is, positive thinking requires no effort and very little time. However, if you work hard on your meditation, perhaps you too can, like Buddha, achieve Nirvana. If scientists today were able to run tests on Buddha's pituitary glands, surely they would see immense endorphin activity.

Releasing Positive Endorphins part 1

Today I read an interesting article about ways to naturally release positive endorphins. Endorphins are released by the pituitary gland in your brain, and they cause feelings of elation and euphoria that can last up to 12 hours. Now, we all know that drugs like morpine and cocaine are unnatural and physically addicting ways to release endorphins. What are some good ways to find natural sources of pure happiness?

Eat something hot like a chili pepper or green bell pepper. After eating a pepper, your mouth feels like it is on fire, but not necessarily in a bad way. Once the scalding sensation ceases, you might find yourself craving more and more, as your tolerance to the sweltering pepper increases (and as natural endorphins are released). But are hot peppers healthy for you?

The answer is yes--indulge! Chili peppers are known to protect the heart, fight cancer, provide pain relief, clear congestion and inflammation, and even can aid in weight loss.
Green bell peppers are the lesser known (and lesser appreciated) cousin of the chili pepper. They are not only healthy sources of Vitamins A, B, C and potassium, but have been known to aid in fighting diseases from liver disease to obesity. Spicy foods generally help to clean out your system and leave you feeling great.

More on releasing natural positive endorphins soon.

-Alexander Yerpat

Going Green

Hi, my name is Alexander Yerpat and I will be the main contributor to this new and exciting blog. My blog posts will be on articles and ideas collected from scientists, intellectuals, and professors from around the globe. I will be taking contributions from numerous scholarly thinkers, and also encourage my readers to post comments or email suggestions to

Friendship Unit, aka F-Unit, is not just a blog, but a new life experience. It is a forum where people can come together to share thoughts and ideas that will better not only the Earth, but each other's live. "Friendship" is a word that I really like; it implies the end of pollution, waste, war, poverty, and other ills that constantly plague society.

"What is going green?" you might ask. Going green is making efforts, big and small, to waste less energy and fewer resources while at the same time saving money and costs. Going green helps to save the Earth, and make it a better place for future generations. A wise man once said, "the Earth is not a place for war or waste. The Earth is a fruitful place." Going green also is a way to save huge costs over time. Besides that, some will say that doing positive things for the Earth or your fellow man releases positive endorphins in your brain (which makes you feel happy).

Enjoy reading this blog, and feel free to post comments or links to your blog or other helpful websites.