Friday, October 12, 2012


8 ‘Bad Habits’ Research Shows Are Good for You

Research shows that many of our so-called guilty pleasures are actually good for our health, say medical experts.
Here are eight “bad habits” that do your body good – as long as you don’t overdo it.

Chocolate: Not only does it improve energy and mood, the antioxidants in dark chocolate make it 25 times as effective as cholesterol-lowering medications for preventing heart disease, says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of several books, including the just-released "Real Cause, Real Cure." Have a 1-ounce piece of dark chocolate daily.

Salt: The current practice of avoiding this critical mineral is a mistake, Dr. Teitelbaum tells Newsmax Health, and lack of salt can actually cause premature death. He recommends using a good sea salt with iodine for seasoning your food. With our diet having lost almost half its iodine in the last 50 years, iodine deficiency is rearing its ugly head again. And contrary to popular belief, the real culprit in high blood pressure is often not salt intake, but a lack of potassium, according to Dr. Teitelbaum. Have a banana or avocado, both high in potassium, to balance your minerals.

Sunshine: We’re facing an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. A full 70 percent of Americans have low levels of vitamin D, putting them at risk for heart attack, stroke, and 17 types of cancer, says Dr. Leslie Matthews, assistant professor of surgery at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine. Part of the problem is that our jobs cause us to spend more time indoors during the day. Another factor is that dermatologists have frightened us away from enjoying sunshine. Forget the sunscreen for 15 minutes a day.

Being lazy: While there’s no doubt that exercise has many health benefits, Dr. Craig Title, a weight loss expert from New York, says it’s not always necessary for weight loss. And for die-hard exercise-aholics, it’s healthy to take a break at times, especially when you are feeling under the weather. Your body talks to you for a reason.

Getting angry: Dr. Gilda Carle, a New York based psychotherapist, says that people who hold in their anger tend to be sick more often. It’s crucial to acknowledge how you feel, identify the source of your anger, and let people know you’re upset. Of course, you want to stop short of behavior that can get you arrested! You should try to channel your anger in neutral or positive directions by writing down your feelings, exercising, or using it as motivation to succeed.

Gossiping: Researchers at Brown University found that 20 minutes gossiping with a trusted friend helps 96 percent of people reduce stress, tension, and anxiety for up to four hours. 

Eating donuts for breakfast: No, you don’t want to do this every day, but a sweet treat in the morning boosts the brain’s level of serotonin, the happy hormone, and some studies show it lowers your appetite the rest of the day. “Serotonin dampens hunger pangs, cuts carb craving in half, and speeds fat-burning by 25 percent for 11 hours or more,” says Dr. Daniela Jacubowicz, author of "The Big Breakfast Diet."

Raising a toast: Drinking beer or red wine in moderation has many heart health benefits. In fact, of the two, beer could even be the better disease fighter, says Charles Bamforth, professor of food science and technology at the University of California at Davis. It contains malt barley, an antioxidant, and vitamin B6 which discourages the buildup of homocysteine, a chemical linked to coronary risk. Besides its healthy phenols, which are antioxidants, red wine contains the chemical resveratrol which helps protect our arteries and has anti-aging properties.

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