Monday, September 10, 2012
11 VERY BAD Habits that are Actually GOOD for You
You probably think the items that follow fall into that “off limits” category, yet studies show they can actually be quite good for you in their own right. Moderation is, of course, key in all things, so we’re not saying you should throw caution to the wind entirely – just that, sometimes, what’s “bad” turns out to be good…
Your teachers scolded you as a child, but it turns out daydreamers aren’t the lazy procrastinators they’re pegged as. When you daydream, your brain is actually very active, and that includes the brain region known as the “executive network,” which is associated with high-level thinking and complex problem-solving.[i] Letting your mind wander may be nature’s way of helping you work through difficult issues in your life; studies show it also boosts creativity and helps you think abstractly, which may be useful for improving your empathy and social relationships.
2. Eating Chocolate
It’s ok to indulge in a bit of chocolate – particularly if its dark chocolate. The humble cocoa bean contains potent antioxidants that are quite good for your heart. One recent study even found that those who ate the most chocolate had a 37% reduction in heart disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared to those who ate the lowest levels.[ii] As a general rule, the darker (and more bitter) the chocolate, the healthier it is.
3. Eating Fat
Many types of fat are actually good for you. You’re probably familiar with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in foods like olive oil, nuts and avocado, but there’s also omega-3 fats, found in fish and fish oil, which are also beneficial for your heart, your brain, cancer and much more.
But did you know a recent study from the Netherlands found that eating saturated fats is not associated with heart disease? Instead, they found that cutting saturated fats from your diet and replacing them with carbohydrates actually increases heart disease risk![vii]
Another study found that supplementing your diet with coconut oil (rich in saturated fat) helps to reduce abdominal obesity.[viii]
So if you’re looking to lose weight, cutting fat from your diet is probably not the answer. Cutting unhealthy carbs (like sugar) and exercise will often do the trick, and you can also try a spritz of ThinMist under your tongue before each meal. It enters your bloodstream in just 23 seconds, flooding your body with critical minerals… amino acids… and natural, bio-identical hormones that work synergistically to help BURN FAT more efficiently. It essentially kicks your metabolism into high gear all day long, and best of all, because it’s a 100% natural formula, you won’t experience any harmful side effects!
4. Drinking Alcohol
Light to moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline. Red wine, which is rich in antioxidants, is often touted as the “healthiest” type of alcohol, but even beer has been linked to these benefits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture even said that moderate drinking may save 26,000 lives a year due to these benefits![iv]
What is moderate drinking? No more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 a day for women. If you have an alcohol addiction, of course, it’s best to abstain regardless.
5. Getting Angry
Getting angry actually has psychological benefits when channeled appropriately. For starters, anger can motivate you to take action when it’s necessary (such as standing up for a good cause) and it can help you communicate in your personal relationships. Hiding your anger in a relationship can be detrimental and may hinder your ability to solve problems or lead to a bigger blowup in the future. Many also find that getting angry allows for self-reflection, including insights into your own faults, which can prompt positive change. So letting your anger out, responsibly and appropriately, can indeed be a very good thing.
6. Being Out in the Sun
If you’re still shunning the sun for fear of skin cancer, you should know that many experts are now advising sensible sun exposure on a daily basis. When the sun hits your bare skin (i.e. without sunscreen), your body produces vitamin D, optimal levels of which can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, depression, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and much more. Many Americans are dangerously deficient in vitamin D, so some safe sun exposure would be beneficial (as long as you don’t get burned).
7. Eating Meat
Eating meat in moderation can be beneficial. It’s one of the best sources of protein, as it contains all of the essential amino acids, and it’s also an excellent source of iron, zinc and beneficial B vitamins. Interestingly, even red meat like beef can be healthy, as half of the fatty acids it contains are monounsaturated (the same type as in heart-healthy olive oil). And if you opt for grass-fed beef, it will also be a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help prevent cancer. Ideally, your meat should be grass-fed, organic and from a sustainably farmed source.
Grilling foods can create the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called HCA’s (heterocyclic amines). But, marinating meats for at least several hours beforehand in liquid mixtures that contain rosemary and other herbs/spices can dramatically help to reduce HCAs. It appears that the highly potent antioxidants in these herbs prevent HCA formation.
9. Drinking Coffee
Coffee has antioxidant properties and drinking a few cups a day has been linked to health advantages ranging from a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and gallstones to improved cognitive function. If you’re going to drink coffee, dark roast appears to be the best, offering superior improvements in antioxidant levels and even helping people to lose weight, compared to lighter roasts.[v]
10. Playing Video Games
Video games do offer players some unique benefits, including greater dexterity, more acute eyesight, faster reflexes, quicker decision-making (without sacrificing accuracy), and even improvements in memory and creativity. One recent study even found that specially designed video games (such as one based on killing cancer cells in your body, designed for cancer patients) can boost positive motivation, leading to improvements in health and behavior.[vi]
11. Taking Naps
Does your spouse ever nag you for taking an afternoon siesta? Have you been caught snoozing on the job?
bad habits that are good for you
It’s a shame napping is so frowned upon in the United States (it’s actually common in other areas, like the Mediterranean), as not only do naps lower your risk of dying from heart disease and stroke,[iii] but they’ve also been found to improve creating thinking, memory and learning.
For best results, keep your naps short, from a few minutes up to a half hour (too much longer and it might make you groggy)
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