10 Indulgences That Are Actually Good For You
In the name of health and wellness, we’ve done some mean things to our body. We starve, deprive, deny, suspend, threaten and force it into compliance with health mantra and expectations, in the hope that our body would be the showcase of all things good and beautiful. The ideal you would take shape and the world would finally be happy. Let’s listen in:
“I really shouldn’t eat that slice of chocolate cake.”
“No kidding...is that your third cup of boba tea?”
“Why are you eating that crap? No wonder you look like crap.”
On and on—it maybe the critical voice in your head, your well-meaning mother, the intrusive friend or the controlling spouse. Are you tired of these voices running/ruining your life? Well, it’s time to let go and indulge in some of the feel-good pleasures. Go ahead, forget that fit you are just going to throw and go with the flow…of your heart’s desires.
You’ve been warned—having a love affair with chocolates can spell disaster. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a bulging waistline and then there’s no hiding the affair. But before you pout and buy into that, the Cleveland clinic has some good news to share: chocolates, especially darker, less-processed chocolates are good for you. It has high levels of flavanols, a type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate that may have a positive impact on vascular health. That big terminology includes lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and lowering cholesterol.
What about the fats? Yes, there is fat content in chocolates but if you study the components, it loses its stink. There are three types of fats found in chocolates—oleic acid (the heart healthy monounsaturated fats that actually lower bad cholesterol), stearic acid, a saturated fat that has neutral effect on cholesterol and palmitic acid which does raise cholesterol level but it is only one-third the fat content.
So, go ahead and enjoy the chocolate fling. And if you don’t go overboard, chocolates may just be the thing to lift mood and spirit.
More Reasons to Enjoy Chocolates
Love to pop some candies in your mouth? Gum drop, peppermint—you love them all? We’ve been told how bad candies are—from rotting the teeth to spiking the glucose level and it’s all true and proven. But recent research shows that candy eaters tend to be slimmer. Why come? According to researchers, it may be due to the fact that candy-lovers tend to exercise more to offset the sugar effect. The study researcher, Carol O’ Neal, of Louisiana State University Agricultural Center goes on to state that foods (candy included) are not associated with diseases or weight problem when consumed in moderation.
So, if you feel like sucking on a lollipop while watching the football game, go for it.
Are you hopelessly drawn to caffeine? You need your cup to wake up? You need a spike of it to go through the day? Coffee is often cast in the negative light from insomnia to palpitations. But a growing body of research is also pointing in the other direction—the one java drinkers would like to champion—that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
Enjoy your java—Mayo clinic advises that drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee may be acceptable unless you have certain medical conditions that warrant otherwise. Drinking more coffee than that may lead to some unpleasant side effects (like the ones coffee-haters love to mention).
Neck Massage: Do it while you view it.
Your muscles are in knots over hunching over the keyboard, your kids are ruining your life (yet again) and your spouse is a pain in the neck—you want to get in the car and run away. Well, not yet…the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests you opt for a neck massage instead. It eases pain—and I’m guessing the physical act of massaging your neck may also melt away your stress and anxiety.
The same goes for body massage. Blend essential oil with carrier oils and pamper your body.
“He who sings frightens away his ills, “so says Cervantes and now, health professionals are discovering the therapeutic effects of this no-cost activity—your voice—the only instrument needed. In fact, group singing has been one of the prescribed activities for Alzheimer’s patients in the United Kingdom since 2002 after sufficient studies indicate how singing can lift both mind and soul. The breathing required for a hearty sing can actually increase circulation to the internal organs, release endorphins and improve the immune system, according to a study in the Journal of Dementia Care.
That’s plenty of incentives to sing your heart out. Join a choir, sing in the shower, belt out your favorites on the karaoke, croon along with the classics…just lift out your voice and sing.
Want to sing for joy?..take a lesson or two from the happy lark.
We know the benefit of a good laugh. It eases tension, diffuses stress and adds joy to your life. The physical act of laughter stretches the muscles of your face and body, raises pulse and blood pressure and sends oxygen to your lungs. In fact, 10 to 15 minutes of laughter may burn up to 50 calories, according to Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbuilt. And if you’re concerned about your heart health, there’s more to laugh about—cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that laughter (with an active sense of humor) may protect against heart attacks.
So laugh a little, laugh a lot, laugh at yourself, laugh with others, enjoy laughter—it’s totally beneficial.
Need a laugh now? Watch this video.
Crying makes a lighter heart.
7. Cry (if you must)
Crying is often linked to negative emotions and viewed by stoic stalwarts of manhood as a sign of weakness. But if circumstances or situations warrant a good cry, why not? Go for it—a good cry, as much a good laugh, can ease pent-up emotions, stress (or distress), frustrations and even anger. Of course, there’s the cry of joy or reflux crying(crying to get rid of foreign body in the eyes) but emotional crying can be soul cleansing and the crier often feels better after an indulgent bout of letting it all out (even if the problem remains). However, there’s another compelling medical reason for crying: emotional tears help to shed stress hormones and other toxins that accumulate during stress. Further, crying also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller and “feel-good” hormones. A winning situation—let the naysayers say so.
Are you too busy for sleep? Or do you feel that sleeping is a waste of time—there are things to do and places to go? Cut yourself some slack—enjoy some shuteye and allow your body to repair, restore and rejuvenate itself. Research also shows that sleeping may boost brainpower and reduce risks of heart disease. If you’re watching your weight, not sleeping enough may also slow down metabolic rate according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Enough said, lights out!
Short of running away from the din and chaos of life into the distant twilight of make-believe, map out an escape path. It may be the quiet spot in the kitchen, where you can put your legs up and enjoy your cup of java/tea or a glass of wine. Or it may be the nature trail near your house where you can reconnect with nature and self. Some find escape in a spa treatment, a shopping spree or a game of golf or tennis. Or you may prefer a night out with your friends to unwind or a heart-to-heart chat with a close friend to unload. Then, there is always blogging or writing to ventilate your soul.
What’s yours? Take time off and indulge a little.
Relax, unwind and you'll be fine.
10. Indulge Others
Much can be said about the emotional rewards of reaching out to help someone—hence, the birth of “commit random acts of kindness,” or the truth behind “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” Sometimes, we are so weighed down with our own personal problems, it’s hard to look beyond. But if you do reach out and touch someone with a kind act, you may just feel a little dusting of joy that may offset what you’re dealing with.
Yes, you can go out and save the world...one tiny act at a time....and in so doing, save yourself from being just self-serving.
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