LIFELINE One more reason to eat your carrots. According to a paper to be published in the March issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, people with high blood levels of alpha-carotene—a cousin of the antioxidant beta-carotene—were as much as 39 percent less likely to die during a 14-year study period than those with low levels. Scientists aren't sure why, but alpha-carotene, found in brightly colored vegetables (like squash and carrots) and dark green ones (like broccoli and spinach), is thought to reduce the risk of forming cancers of the liver, brain, and skin.
A good source of alpha-carotene
GUINEA PIG'S BIBLE
Yes, it was a bit obsessive. Tim Ferriss spent ten years and $250,000 bingeing on health and fitness fads, trying to find the absolute most efficient way to lose weight, build strength, run longer, and sleep better. The 571-page result, The 4-Hour Body (Crown Archetype, $27), is a high-testosterone guide to fast-forwarding extreme fitness results—like running an ultramarathon with just 12 weeks of training, living on two hours of sleep a night, or putting on 30 pounds of muscle in a month. As lead-footed and masochistic a guide as Ferriss's might be, the lessons about making the most of your workout time are worth the ride.
Think spending a little time outside is a quick way to feel good? A new study backs you up. People who were asked to spend at least five minutes outside every day doing some activity (walking, fishing, gardening, etc.) scored higher on standard self-esteem tests than those who didn't. Any natural environment seems to work, according to the study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, but—sorry, Phoenix—the lusher and wetter the better.
A BETTER BELL
A kettlebell is basically a cannonball with a handle—not exactly the most comfortable object to be swinging around your wrist. GoFit's Bob Harper Contour Kettlebell is the first with a concave, ergonomic shape that works just as well but won't give your forearms a beating. 7 to 45 pounds, $25–$100; gofit.net