There’s too much Internet—with wonders like recipes for ramen lasagna—and too little time. That’s why we curate a list of the best of the best (a.k.a. “the Greatist”) things we’ve come across on the Web this week. In other words, it’s the stuff we’d email/gchat/tweet/text you immediately if we were besties. While we’ll never stop striving to bring our readers amazing content on a daily basis, we know not all the best stuff comes from us.
1. The Selling of the Avocado (The Atlantic)
To us, there’s no such thing as too many avocados—on toast, in guacamole, and just straight from the shell. But the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) hasn’t always been so popular among Americans. Our friends over at The Atlantic investigate the forces at play (including a mascot named Mr. Ripe) that led the avocado—once known as the alligator pear—to become one of our favorite foods today.
2. The Newest Eating Disorder to (Maybe) Enter the DSM: Orthorexia (Fast Company)
Healthy eating has tons of benefits—everything from boosting your immune system to clearing up your skin. But there’s a point where healthy eating borders on obsession and compulsion, something medical professionals have started calling orthorexia. The question now is what types of behavior actually constitute orthorexia. (Does bringing your own food to a dinner party to ensure there’s something healthy count? What about having panic attacks in the grocery store?) Without a clear definition, orthorexia stands in medical limbo.
3. Peak Athletic Performance Is Dependent on Sleep Cycle (The Conversation)
We all have a natural sleep cycle—some of us are early birds and some of us are night owls. And following that concept, recent research has found that early birds tend to have better athletic performance in the morning while night owls—you guessed it—reach peak performance in the evening. But the craziest part of all: Our circadian rhythms are only partially determined by genetics. We can alter our sleep cycle by varying our exposure to light, which means athletes can always be in peak performance for the big game.
4. When It Comes to Jogging, Less Is More, Study Argues (Los Angeles Times)
Yes, it’s great to lace up your running shoes and hit the track. Just make sure you don’t push it too hard. How hard is too hard, exactly? The researchers in this recent study found that people who ran faster than a 9-minute-mile pace for two-and-a-half-hour stretches more than three times a week had a similar mortality rate to couch potatoes. There really is something to be said for being slow and steady.
5. This Is How Often You Should Actually Wash Your Towel (BuzzFeed)
Unfortunately, just waiting for towels to smell doesn’t actually hold any water in the scientific community. Bacteria and mold start to multiply the first time the towel gets wet. But the magic number here is three uses for bath towels, and one use (crazy, we know!) for kitchen and face towels. So, we’ll just stick to paper towels when cooking.
It turns out that the reason we crave spicy food is different for men and women. New research suggests that women simply crave the tingling-meets-burning sensation, while men view spicy foods as a way for them to show how macho they are, until of course the tears start trickling down their faces.