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StressStress is universally considered a bad thing – in some cases people have successfully won lawsuits against companies for work-related stress. But, what most people don’t know is that a little stress goes a long way to making us healthier. In short doses, stress can help boost the body’s immune system. In the first stage of stress (the “alarm” stage – often known as the “fight or flight” response) the body produces cortisol – a stress fighting hormone which has many benefits to the body. Stress can give a feeling of fulfillment – when this is the case it is called “eustress” as opposed to “distress”.
Interesting Fact: The term “stress” and the mental properties of it was not known before the 1950s. Until that time it referred simply to hardship or coercion.
- 7Not only is coffee tasty, it is a mild stimulant with many medical uses. Caffeine contains a muscle relaxant that is very beneficial to people with bronchial problems – it can alleviate the symptoms of asthma. Additionally, caffeine releases certain fatty acids in to the blood stream that become a useful source of fuel for muscles. It even seems that the only serious side-effect to too much caffeine is a small amount of body-weight loss – a danger if you are anorexic. Caffeine should be avoided by people with fecal incontinence as it loosens the anal and sphincter muscles.
Interesting Fact: Caffeine can be toxic to animals, in particular dogs, horses, and parrots. It also has a much more significant effect on spiders than humans.
- 6Red wine contains a group of chemicals called polyphenols (once called Vitamin P) which have been found to be very beneficial for health. They reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Wine has also been found to be an effective anti-bacterial agent against strains of Streptococcus (found most often in the human mouth) which can help reduce infections. Some wine varieties have extra health benefits; Cabernet Sauvignon appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition to the benefits already listed, wine is chock full of antioxidants which play a huge role in the health of the human body. The wines found to have the greatest benefits are found in the South of France and the Sardinia region of Italy.
Interesting Fact: Wine originated in the regions of Israel, Georgia, and Iran, around 6000 BC.
- 5As a result of recent research into chocolate and health, it appears to be something of a panacea (cure-all) – coupled with the great taste and mood enhancing properties, it might be seen as a wonder drug! Cocoa or dark chocolate improves the overall health of the circulatory system, it stimulates the brain, prevents coughs, prevents diarrhea, and may even be an anti-cancer agent. Like coffee, chocolate is toxic to many animals. A BBC study indicates that melting chocolate in your mouth increases brain activity and the heart rate more intensely than passionate kissing, with the effect lasting four times longer after the activity ends. Eating regular small quantities of chocolate reduces cholesterol and the chances of a heart attack. Sign me up for some of that medication!
Interesting Fact: Chocolate has been used as a drink since at least 1100 – 1400 BC.
- 4Cannabis is said to be beneficial for over 250 conditions. For this reason it is legal on prescription in a number of Western countries. Cannabis is believed to help with arthritis, asthma, depression, glaucoma, and pain. It is also reported to be a good treatment for constipation. Cannabis is also useful in dealing with the sideeffects of treatments for cancer, AIDS, and hepatitis. Cannabis has been used medicinally for over 3,000 years! Strangely, the cultivation and use of cannabis is outlawed in most countries.
Interesting Fact: Evidence of the use of cannabis as a non-medicinal drug exists as charred seeds found in Romania dating back to the 3rd millenium BC.
- 3The moderate consumption of beer has been associated with the lowered risk of head disease, stroke, and mental decline. In addition, brewers yeast (used in the production of beer) contains many nutrients that are carried through to the final drink: magnesium, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, and B vitamins. For this reason, beer is sometimes referred to as “liquid bread”. In 2005 a Japanese study found that low-alcohol beer may contain strong anti-cancer properties. Contrary to popular belief, a “beer belly” or “beer gut” is not produced by the beer, but rather overeating and lack of exercise.
Interesting Fact: Beer is one of the oldest beverages – dating back to the 6th millennium BC.
PornographyAmidst the loud angry cries against pornography, a few serious scientific studies have been performed on the subject. It seems that men and women who view pornography, have improved sex lives, better sexual knowledge, and an overall better quality of life. Surprisingly, one study found that the more that pornography is viewed, the greater the improvements. In an extensive study performed in Australia, the majority of married respondents stated that they believed that pornography has had a positive effect on their marriage. While clearly not always linked to pornography, studies have found that men who had fewer orgasms were twice as likely to die of any cause as those having two or more orgasms a week.
Interesting Fact: Pornography (and the anti-pornography movement) as it is understood today is a concept of the Victorian era (19th century) which was extremely moralistic. Sexual imagery was not taboo before that time.