Why the best advice you can give may be the most infuriating
Plus: How to make the summer of 2021 sexy and safe, and an intriguing link between stress and sperm.
What is one of the best pieces of advice your parents ever gave you?
For me, I think it was when they dashed my art school dreams by telling me that unless I thought I was Picasso, I needed to consider a more stable career choice. Harsh, but fair. I was no Picasso (so I picked journalism... yeah).
Another piece of ill-received advice many of our elders dish out is that we need to eat certain things in order to be the best versions of ourselves: Carrots will make us see in the dark, spinach will make us strong, and if we don’t shovel in the steamed broccoli as fast as we can safely swallow it, then hell mend us.
But here is the thing: As with many apocryphal myths about food, there is some truth to the idea that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whether we like the taste or not, is not only good for our bodies and our brains but may also keep us living longer, healthier lives. Time to rethink your dinner plans, perhaps.
I am Claire Cameron, managing editor of Inverse. Tuesday is upon us, and we are here for it. Scroll on down for the latest evidence backing your mom’s most irritating advice, an essential guide on how to navigate the horny weirdness of summer 2021, and some uncomfortable truths about your favorite alternative milk.
How to get through the horny weirdness of summer 2021 — The United States is in the midst of a heatwave and Hot Vaxx Summer 2021 has begun. As we emerge from our lockdown caves, there are new struggles. How should I behave in public? Can I speak to strangers without a webcam mediating between us?
And for the single, vaxxed, and ready to mingle among us: How do I get back on the scene?
Our reporters were here with answers to your burning questions during the pandemic’s nadir and so too are they here now with the guidance you need to get out there on the dating scene safely.
In her first story for Inverse, science intern Elana Spivack arms you with the 13 questions you need to have a sexy, safe summer. Worried about condom expiration dates? Decided you need to try something new when it comes to love and sex? Anxious about asking for vaccination status? Breathe out, friends, we’ve got you. (And follow Elana on Twitter!)
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A year of drinking one glass of dairy milk (approximately 200 milliliters) a day for three to five days creates the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as driving a gas-powered car over 300 miles — about 131 kilograms.
Incredible for all the wrong reasons. But, in turn, picking one plant-based milk as the absolute best “cow milk killer” isn’t that great a strategy for reducing the environmental burden of milk drinking either, Wells reports.
What the scientists say: “My advice to consumers is to diversify their choices and drink soy, almond, oat, hazelnut, or hemp milk or whatever plant-based milk is available locally... [but] any plant-based milk is better than animal milk.”
Perhaps emulate a friend and try making your next batch of overnight oats with oat milk for a change. If you have to drink cow milk, then technological solutions may be on the horizon: There is a way to culture dairy milk in the lab, no actual bovines necessary.
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Your mom’s most annoying advice is actually the mental health hack you need — A growing mountain of research suggests eating many servings of vegetables and fruits frequently can reduce stress and improve mental well-being. As Inverse reporter Sophie Putka writes:
Consider the Jolly Green Giant. Cradling a pod of peas or lugging a plus-sized ear of corn, it’s clear this guy has strength and stamina. A steady diet of vegetables has grown him to enormous proportions, but he has another thing going for him: a smile. “Jolly” is even a part of his name.
There’s a reason why moms are always reminding us to eat our fruits and vegetables. Increasingly compelling research makes it hard to ignore the benefits. These foods don’t just benefit our physical health; they boost our mental health as well.
The latest evidence comes in the form of a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition. Researches asked 8,689 Australians about their diet and, specifically, their fruit and veggie intake. The researchers also assessed each participant’s stress levels.
People who ate the most vegetables tended to score much lower on a measure of how they saw their own stress levels than those who ate the fewest vegetables by weight. The “magic” amount of vegetable matter you want to strive for according to these results? 473 grams per day.
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Can you inherit stress? Sperm study reveals link to mood — We can thank our parents for many things, good and not so good. How tall we are, the color of our hair, whether or not we will have the physique to become a pro-footballer — all these characteristics are governed in part by the genes we inherit from our mother and father. But, as Inverse reporter Katie MacBride asks, what about something more nebulous — like our ability to cope with trauma or stress? Is resilience inheritable, too?
As MacBride writes:
Some studies suggest male mice’s sperm is affected by stress. Other studies have shown mouse parents can pass down increased sensitivity to stress to their offspring. But researchers haven’t been able to definitely prove if the sperm itself is the reason for these similarities in offspring or if other factors, like learned behavioral cues from the parents, are responsible.
New research, published Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, suggests the sperm itself responsible for these changes — and the sperm of mice who are resilient to stress — also pass that resiliency on to their offspring.
Further, the researchers determined the molecular changes in the mice’s sperm that cause the epigenetic changes to occur. These findings might help us better understand the complex factors involved in developing a mood disorder explains co-lead author Ashley Cunningham, a neuroscience Ph.D. student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“Having a better understanding of what is contributing [to mood disorders] is important because this study suggests it's not just the genes you inherit from your parents, but it can also be your parents' experiences that can impact your risk of developing mood disorders,” Cunningham tells Inverse.
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Let me know what you think of this daily dispatch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow me on Twitter at @ClaireHCameron, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse and elsewhere around the web every day.
Before we go — Happy birthday to these folks: Kanye West (44), Gabby Giffords (51), Tim Berners-Lee (66), Bonnie Tyler (70), Nancy Sinatra (81) (@AP Planner). Also, today is World Oceans Day. We suggest destressing with these fabulous sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.