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There is no lack of alternative facts when it comes to information about health, nutrition and fitness. Trying to get a clear understanding on everything from health insurance to healthy fats or the benefits of certain exercises almost always come with differing views and the inevitable debate. Many of us really want to trust what we read, hoping the information is factual so we can have a great understanding of health topics as they relate to ourselves or loved ones.

The fire hose of health and fitness spin being pushed at us these days from the media, on the internet and in self-help books, is frankly overwhelming. This brings us to a great question: is there a place in all this turbulent point vs. counterpoint coming from medical professionals, nutrition experts and fitness gurus? The answer is a solid sort of, and it comes from a group that is not as well-known as you might think.

I discovered TED Talks a little over 10 years ago while talking with one of my former college buddies from Cal Poly SLO. He told me he had just attended a TED conference in Monterey, Calif. Not knowing what the heck a TED conference was or anything about something he called a TED Talk, I immediately dove into the world of amazingly smart scientists, educators, researchers and regular folks sharing insights as well as amazing findings.

TED was started in 1984 as a nonprofit with the idea to have conferences that cover provocative concepts and feature out of the box thinkers. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design with a broad scope that covers topics on a global scale. TED Talk presentations are kept to a short well defined 20 minutes and each talk has a way of conveying information that draws in a wide range of people.

TED covers a number of health and wellness related talks from very specific topics on new discoveries with cancer, cardiac care and medical research to mind-bending ideas on mental wellness, new ideas around nutrition and sustainable food sources. I am sure many of you already enjoy watching these TED Talks, but I am always amazed at how many people have no idea that TED exists and have never heard of TED Talks. You can find TED Talks online, on Netflix, and even their own channel on Fire and Apple TV, along with other streaming services.

TED attracts all types of speakers from Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver, Jane Fonda to Noble Prize winners like James Watson. These talks are compelling, brilliant and usually spot on. TED Talks are truly a great source of information without spin or agenda, which is lacking from most other sources on health and wellness.

Here are my top six picks for Health and/or Wellness related TED Talks:

1. Dan Gilbert — The surprising science of happiness

2. Andy Puddicombe — All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

3. Jeff Iliff — One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

4. Sandra Aamodt — Why dieting doesn’t usually work

5. Talithia Williams — Own your body’s data

6. Dan Buettner — How to live to be 100+

I would recommend you take some time out of your busy day and look up these TED Talks as they may be the best 20 minutes you will spend on any given day. There are so many topics, you could watch at least one each day to expand your knowledge and feed your curiosity at the same time. As a group, TED delivers refreshing information that can be consumed with a high degree of satisfaction in a world where multimedia driven content is so often lacking in substance.

• • •

Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation in Coeur d’Alene.

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