With all of the contradictory information on the internet, being healthy can feel daunting. What does being "healthy" even mean? For some people, being healthy means giving up their favorite foods and putting themselves through grueling workouts. In a world where we’re totally afraid of death and growing older, it’s no wonder we go to some extreme measures to ensure we live as happily and healthily as possible. But what if scientists told us it was alright to do some of the things we’ve been told all our lives were wrong? Here are 20 things "unhealthy" things that scientists are actually encouraging us to do for our health.
Eat Ice Cream
Ice cream is supposed to be sinful, and something you seldom eat. That’s mostly true, but every once in awhile it’s good to eat some ice cream! Though ice cream is full of sugar, it’s a low GI food thanks to its fat content, which means it releases sugar much slower than other sweets. Ultimately, you can binge on ice cream every once in a while without feeling too hungry afterward! Ice cream is rich in calcium, which helps build strong bones and protect the teeth. Dairy intake has also been linked to lower rates of heart disease.
New parents are especially finicky when it comes to keeping their children safe from germs. But exposure to germs, especially in children, actually helps in building a strong immune system! Things like hand sanitizer have been shown to be more damaging to a child's health because they contribute to a hyper-sensitized immune system — all you need is warm, soapy water! Next time you're feeling grimy, embrace it.
Can't seem to make it through a simple three-minute meditation on Headspace? Don't worry. Relaxation is key, and it’s important to indulge in fun activities to reduce stress levels. But a stress-free life isn’t necessarily healthy either. Just like getting dirty, stress can help build the immune system. When a person is stressed, they release cortisol, which has many benefits to the entire body. Although a little R&R is recommended, it’s also important to not get too stressed about being stressed. It can be good for you.
Wine A Little
This is one we can get behind. Wine contains vitamins that can help boost your immune system, increase bone density, and lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Wine is packed with antioxidants, which are important when it comes to fighting free radicals. But not all wine is created equal. The best place to find wine that has all of these health benefits are places that specialize in making it from scratch. Oh, and remember moderation is key! This means sticking to one or two 5-ounce pours a day.
Caffeine is definitely a highly-debated stimulate. Some people think it’s dangerous, as it increases your heart rate. Millions of people depend on it to get through their days. And scientists think that’s OK. Caffeine can increase alertness and alleviate fatigue all while improving concentration and focus. It's also linked to weight loss, which is an added bonus. If you're a caffeine lover, good news. According to Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of coffee a day (about four cups) is perfectly healthy for adults.
Have Some Chocolate
Chocolate (in moderation) can reduce cholesterol and the risk of having a heart attack. And most important, it’s a mood enhancer! Chocolate has been linked to producing longer lasting good moods than other fun things, like kissing. Like most other fatty foods on the list, too much chocolate can be a bad thing, but it’s not something to completely avoid either. To get the most benefits, aim for dark chocolate that contains a cocoa percentage of 70 percent or higher.
Marijuana is finally being legalized in many states and is being extensively researched for its beneficial properties. There’s still a stigma around marijuana because it’s considered by some people to be a gateway drug. However, marijuana comes with many benefits. Medicinal marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment for chronic pain. It can also help those who suffer from multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, glaucoma, and a laundry list of other ailments. The natural pain reliever doesn't seem to harm lung capacity either, according to American Medical Association.
Crack Open A Cold One
Like wine, many vitamins can be found in beer that are beneficial to our health. Excessive drinking is never healthy, but regular consumption of beer has many benefits. It has been linked to lowering the risk of stroke, and diseases linked with the brain. Seems strange that the same thing that can mess with your head so much can also help it!
Eat An Egg — Even The Yolk!
Eggs have been demonized in the past due to their fat content, but eggs (yes, including the yolk) aren't bad for you. One egg is just 70 calories and contains six grams of high-quality protein. While there is fat in the yolk, it is ensured and can help keep you fuller longer. Better yet, eggs have been shown to help dieters lose weight. Dieters who ate eggs for breakest lost 65 percent more weight than though who ate a bagel with the same amount of calories.
Indulge In Your Favorite Comfort Foods
We already told you that wine, beer, and ice cream are on the menu again, but so are pretty much all of your favorite comfort foods. Eating healthy can be tough, but enjoying your favorite comfort foods from time to time is beneficial too. In fact, depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treats and salty snacks could backfire into an all-out binge. "The key to indulging your cravings," says RDN Rachel Beller, "is selecting comfort foods that yield a return on your health — think mashed potatoes made with clean ingredients or pizza made with whole grain crust."
Play Video Games
Moms everywhere are screaming about this, but scientists are actually saying it’s good for us to play video games. It’s probably not healthy to murder fictional characters all day, but it is good to play certain video games. They can improve hand-eye coordination as well as stimulate the brain. This leads to better planning skills and strategic thinking. As with everything in life, moderation is key — but it’s still good to play games every once in awhile!
Send A Text Instead
In our day and age, these darn kids with their cell phones are just texting away too much. Doesn’t anyone pick up the phone? This type of thinking isn’t scientifically correct anymore. Studies show that those who text, especially parents, have improved relationships. It’s easier to stay in touch without being intrusive and allows for a casual and open relationship with friends and family who don’t get to see each other in person as often.
Get To Work
Everyone seems to work too much these days, and many still believe that mothers shouldn’t be working. But having a steady job can lead to more productivity and responsibility. And it’s easy to figure out that if you’re organized and productive, you’ll lead a happier, healthier life. It’s important to listen to your body, and never work past your limit, but don’t fear going to your job so much!
Sit In The Sun
These days, we live a life in fear of the sun. We slather our bodies in high-SPF sunscreen and stay inside on days that are too hot. While this is a good practice to avoid sunburn, occasional sun exposure is good for you. When we expose our bodies to the sun, our vitamin D increases, which is an important nutrient that can help prevent cancer and ward off depression. Sunlight should still be taken in moderation, but it’s important to not get too little of it either.
Netflix And Chill
Who would have thought that cuddling up with your partner and bingeing on your favorite shows is actually beneficial? A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that sharing media such as television, movies, or music, can help you bond. This bond is linked to decreased levels of cortisol (the stress chemical), lowered blood pressure, and improved mood.
Sweat It Out
It seems like we do everything possible to pretend like we don’t sweat. We lather up with deodorant, wear special clothes to let us “breathe,” and blast artificial cool air to lower our body temperature. But we’re actually preventing something that’s good for us! Your skin is your largest organ, and sweating serves an important role. Sweat helps regulate body temperatures and release toxins. Not only does this support overall immune function, but it helps prevent various diseases too.
Turn Up Your Headphones
Everyone’s always told us to keep our headphones low, and most of us would agree when it comes to the people we have to take public transportation with. But those who listen to music loudly are actually practicing a healthy behavior. Studies show that louder music volume is linked with happier people! However, doctors still warn that it can cause permanent ear damage, so don't do it for long periods.
Magic mushrooms and other substances that can make you hallucinate are hotly debated. But magic mushrooms have been shown to be beneficial to the body and mind. Business Insider writes, "Several small studies have linked the psychoactive ingredient in shrooms (which are illegal) with several purported health benefits, including the potential to help relieve anxiety and depression." On top of that, another five-year study suggests that magic mushrooms can work "like a surgical intervention" for those with mental illness.
Get Close With Your S.O.
Talking about getting intimate has long been taboo, but doing so comes with some serious benefits worth mentioning. Having regular intimate time may lead to many beneficial side effects in those who report being active in that arena. Most importantly, intimacy has been shown to reduce stress among those who regularly engage in the act. It’s also linked to a lower risk of heart attack and other major diseases. You heard the scientists!
Let Your Gas Out
Gas is a natural part of the body, and isn’t something we should be so afraid of! Gas is part of the digestive system, and it’s your body’s job to expel the excess gas. Some speculate that you should even like the smell of your own farts, as it’s a sign from your body that something major is wrong if you don’t! To avoid causing internal damage, it’s important to let loose every once in awhile!