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Gym bunnies, listen up! 

It's time to say sayonara to sports drinks and grab yourself a nice tall glass of post-workout milk. 

A new study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that milk and milk alternatives can actually help retain body fluid. 

It's all down to science really – it seems the natural balance of sodium, carbohydrate and protein, make it an effective recovery drink for those looking to repair their muscles after a hard workout. 

For the study, which examined how milk compared to a popular energy drink, 15 men were subjected to four rounds of cycling on different days. 

After each session, participants were given a different drink: cow's, milk, soy milk, a milk-based meal supplement, and an energy drink.

The cyclist's hydration and nutrient levels were then examined, and researchers determined that the milk-based products actually led to better post-workout fluid retention. 

But what about water? Surely nothing can beat a healthy gulp of H20. 

Well, the study authors explain that drinking water after exercise actually cause a drop in sodium level, which in turn, could potentially lead to dehydration – apparently. 

Now, we're not telling you to ditch the water bottled during your next workout, but afterwards, why not indulge yourself in a creamy glass of milk? 

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A recent study found that 41 per cent of Irish women and 30 per cent of Irish men have made the conscious decision to limit their dairy consumption.

It's thought that the growing number of bloggers and influencers promoting plant-based diets has led to the decreased intake, with one in ten people admitting they now believe cow's milk is unhealthy.

Instead, many consumers are now looking to non-dairy alternatives such as soy or almond, but with tonnes of conflicting reports about the nutritional benefits of each, it can be difficult to choose that product that is right for us.

In an attempt to settle the dairy vs non-dairy debate once and for all, we've done some research and compared the health benefits of cow's milk and its most popular alternatives.

Full-Fat Cow's Milk

Pros: As well as being a great source of protein, full-fat cow's milk is rich in minerals and vitamins, essential for helping your body function properly. In fact, just one glass contains five per cent of your recommended intake of vitamins and up to 28 per cent of your daily calcium requirement.

Cons: Cow's milk is high in saturated fat, which, when consumed in excess amounts, increase levels of 'bad' cholesterol.

Semi Skimmed Cow's Milk

Pros: Semi skimmed cow's milk provides much the same nutrients as its full-fat counterpart, however it's lower calorie count and added protein makes it ideal for weight loss. 

Cons: As a means of compensating for the reduced fat content, extra sugar is sometimes added to make it taste better. However, it's worth reading the label before you make your choice as the same can't be said for every brand.

Soy Milk

Pros: Cholesterol, saturated and trans fats are all naturally absent from soy milk, making it a good choice when it comes to heart health. What's more, research  published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), suggests childhood consumption of soy reduces the risk of bone degradation later in life.

Cons: Some studies claims soy can mimic the female hormone estrogen, thus leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. Other research claims the ingredient could have a possible negative impact on men's fertility.

Almond Milk

Pros: Almonds are packed with essential nutrients such as protein, fibre, magnesium and iron. They also contain flavonoids, which help to lower levels of 'bad' cholesterol and maintain heart health. 

Cons: Some argue that almond milk is not a healthy alternative to dairy as it does not contain as much protein or calcium. However, it's worth nothing that some varieties are now fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Coconut Milk

Pros: Coconut milk is an excellent source medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) – a type of fatty acid that is sent directly to the liver, and then utilised as energy. It also boasts a number of antibacterial and anti-fungal elements to boost your immune system.

Cons: Coconut milk contains specific carbohydrates that may cause stomach upset, meaning people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should consider eliminating it from their diets.

Rice Milk

Pros: As well as being the most hypoallergenic of all milk products, rice milk also contains low amounts of saturated fat. Its balanced nutritional value makes it the perfect alternative for those who can not tolerate other milks, dairy or other.

Cons: Unlike the dairy option, rice milk lacks both protein (0.67 grams per eight-ounce serving) and calcium (283 mg per eight-ounce serving). However, much of the ready-made rice milk we see on supermarket shelves has been fortified to include 25 to 30 per cent calcium.

 

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So, you might want to re-think your skinny coffee order, because new research suggests that full-fat milk is not the artery-clogging devil liquid we were once led to believe it was. 

In fact, the study conducted at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that full-fat milk can actually promote good heart health.

The team of researchers discovered that non-skimmed dairy could boost levels of 'good' High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Their report stated: “Dietary guidelines have for decades recommended choosing low-fat dairy products due to the high content of saturated fat in dairy known to increase blood concentration of LDL cholesterol .

“But studies show no association between overall dairy intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and even point to an inverse association with type 2 diabetes.”

The finding directly contradict decades of dietary advice, with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk often being hailed a healthier alternative to its full-fat counterpart.

“Our findings suggest whole milk might be considered a part of a healthy diet among the healthy population,” the study concluded.

What's more, in 2016, the same team found eating low-fat cheese did not reduce cholesterol, cut blood pressure or help to trim the waistline.

RIP to all the pizzas and chocolate milkshakes we've refused over the years – it was all in vain. 

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Remember the last time you longed for a quick text off your favourite milk carton? Yeah, us neither, but that doesn't mean it won't soon happen.

Wait, hear us out.

According to The Irish Times, researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Amber Centre in Trinity College are currently examining ways in which to turn everyday household items and features into smart devices.

From milk cartons which could text you a 'use-by' warning to window panes that could communicate the weather forecast, you might soon own a home that is basically alive… well, kind of.

And how would this work exactly?

According to the report, leading investigator, Professor Jonathan Coleman, and his team aim 'to take liquid dispersions of nanosheets and, by carefully tuning the liquid properties, optimise them for use as inks.'

Speaking to The Irish Times, Professor Coleman said: "Electronics has been around for donkey’s years and Intel out in Leixlip are among those making high-end, high performing transistors."

"However, unlike them we are trying to make transistors so cheaply that they could be used in pretty much anything."

But before you start naming your window panes, the team are keen to stress that this development won't be taking place today or tomorrow.

"All of this is a long way off in the future, but it is imaginable that at some point milk cartons could send messages to your phone warning that the milk is about to reach its sell-by-date," Professor Coleman added.

Well, we live in hope.

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School lunches: oh, how we lamented them at the time. But now? Now we realise just how valuable they once were. 

Granted going outside to clean the duster; cries of "teigh a chodladh", and gloopy bowls of nature table tadpoles were all highlights – but little makes us pine for the classrooms of yesteryear more than thoughts of lunch-box loveliness.

Yes, having been hit by a generous gale of nostalgia, SHEmazing! brings you the top six things that really make us hungry for a traditional primary school lón… just like mammy used to make them.

1. Swapsies  

Your mam just didn’t get it: you don’t like brown bread; you don’t do cheese, and smokey bacon crisps are not now nor have they ever been for the win.

Fear not! Even if your own lunch-box was looking less than appetising, there was always another child only delira to embrace your hand-me-downs in return for their own unwanted ware.

Everyone’s a winner! Except your unsuspecting “oh but you’ve ALWAYS loved under-ripe pears!” mam – who continues to this day to pile you with your least favourite lunch foods.

2. Penguin Bars

The day was always off to a good start when you found one of these gems snuggled in beside your sambo. Those with self-control saved theirs until big lón; others scoffed theirs during 11am sós.

Understandably, the idea of sharing was never entertained; if nothing else, it would have been far too challenging to try to pry apart the delicious, chocolatey biscuit exterior from the soft, sweet centre.

Almost as good – the gloriously woeful jokes on the back. Qs: How does a penguin make pancakes? A: With its flippers. Golden.

3. Billy Roll 

Ah, beautiful Billy Roll. If you strutted onto the playground with a Billy Roll sandwich, you could expect to be on the receiving end of many a jealous stare. You could hardly blame them. Mr Robert Roll was a treat of the highest order.

And even in the days before selfies, those feeling daring might delicately remove Billy’s eyes, nose and mouth, next placing the cold, moist piece of questionably-sourced processed pig on their faces for the ‘larf’. The messers.

4. Milk from a carton

Come rain or shine, you were always greeted at the school’s entrance by piled-high cartons of ice cold milk – all of which came complete with a straw.

You wouldn’t, of course, drink a glass of milk for love nor money at home, but put it in a cardboard box with a plastic drinking tube attached (gently warmed to room temperature too) and you suddenly you couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

Feeling fancy? Strawberry and banana varieties were also on offer on special occasions. And afterwards… oh behold – the pure joy of blowing into the cartons and jumping on them to make a loud bang.

5. Triangle sandwiches 

The traditional no nonsense sambo was cut down the middle, wrapped in tin-foil and contained ham, turkey or cheese (no uppity notions here, no siree). But then – lo and behold! – you also had the triangular strain. And for some reason, triangle sandwiches always tasted nicer.

The one downside, however, was that they couldn’t really accommodate a sprinkling of Tayto, which sadly meant no spur-of-the-moment crisp sandwiches.  

6. Popcorn

Popcorn at school was a BIG treat. A Ziplock bag of the homemade kind did very nicely, though the real Holy Grail was a bag of salt-filled, Manhattan goodness.

Taking the runners-up spot was a bag of Monster Munch.

Unfortunately, your classmates were also far more likely to dive their greasy hands into your bag to help themselves. You had to concede lest you be labelled a ‘scab,’ so a good ploy was to furiously stuff as much as possibly into your mouth before your peers had the opportunity to pounce. 

 

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There are many reasons people are looking for alternatives to cow's milk on the market right now. 

Whatever your reason to cut back on dairy – here are some alternatives you can try out!

Most of these milk alternatives will be widely available in supermarkets in Ireland now but if not then your local health food store is a safe bet!

Many milk alternatives can have sugar added so always try to find ‘unsweetened’ varieties to protect your teeth!

1. Almond milk
Almond milk is always a safe bet as it has a really lovely nutty flavour that is great in coffee, porridge, cereal etc. It’s not as rich as regular milk but you’ll soon crave the great aroma is adds to your food!

2. Coconut milk
No, not the canned variety. This coconut milk is more watery and perfect for your dairy-free baking and dessert making! It also tasted great in coffee in you like a coconutty-flavour.

3. Rice milk
Rice milk is said to be the least fattening of milks so if weight loss is what you are after then this is for you! Rice milk is also the best hypo-allergic of milks and has a lovely sweet flavour you’ll enjoy in your coffee or breakfast.

4. Soy milk
Soy milk can be the best of the alternatives to use in savoury dishes as it has a very undistinguishable flavour unlike almond or coconut especially.

5. Hemp milk
Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant and has a nutty flavour and is also a little sweet and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. 

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Nicole Scherzinger has just gone and done something that will surprise us all…let’s just say it’s a very sticky situation.

Niamh Geaney reports.

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We may be halfway through the summer months already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cool down with some ice tea. Here are five delicious ice-teas that you need to try.

Mint Lemonade Ice Tea
It’s easy to prepare, and the best part is you don’t have to be that strict on the amounts of mint and lemon for each glass.

Black Tea Lemonade
Perfect for the caffeine addicts out there. This ice tea is strong in flavour, but also gives you the kick you need to get through the day.

Lime Mint Ice Tea
Not that different from mint lemonade, and it’s perfect for those gorgeous summer evenings.

Smooth Ice Tea
Your basic cup of tea but it’s probably best to swap the milk for some ice with this one.

Ginger Ice Tea
A drink that’s perfect for summer and winter. You can transform this cool beverage into a hot drink by swapping the ice for some milk. Mmmm delicious.

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Could Kelly Osbourne be the latest celeb to embrace the vegan lifestyle?

The TV presenter uploaded a photo to her Instagram with the caption: “No use crying over spilt milk! Milk is the liquid devil! Humans are the only living species that drink another animals milk!”

Er, that’s great and all Kelly, but weren’t you the face of a Make Mine Milk campaign back in 2012?

We guess she’s changed her mind about cow’s milk since then…

Jennifer Lopez has also recently revealed that she has undertaken the same vegan challenge that Beyoncé and Jay-Z also completed.

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