- Why some of these health research projects deserve our attention
- How a bar of chocolate could become your saviour
- Could nuts be in the clear too?
Sometimes I think scientists decide to conduct a study specifically with me in mind…
Really. Some of their research seems so bizarre, you’d think there were hundreds of scientists sitting around all day, scratching their egg-shaped heads, wondering what to study next…
‘Hey, have we tested the effects of a wind tunnel on a chicken before?’
‘Yeah, we did that one back in ’97. The results were inconclusive.’
‘Hmmmm… how about side effects of tennis balls thrown at people from Oslo?’
‘What about the effects of chocolate on pensioners…?’
‘GREAT IDEA! Let’s get started!’
Now, I’m not a pensioner quite yet (although I seem to mysteriously age whenever Lara suggests I clean out the garage), but any study that involves chocolate gets my full attention…
…especially when the results are as interesting as this…
Why Cadbury’s could help you as you age…
In this study, a group of men and women over the age of 60 were studied over a period of five years. Before the start of the study, each volunteer was asked dozens of questions about their lifestyles, their hobbies, their eating habits… you name it these nosey scientists asked it.
Then, over the course of five years, the health and mortality of these people was looked – and a very interesting result was thrown up.
The mortality rate of people who regularly ate chocolate was lower than those who steered clear of it. Pretty good news in itself, but here’s the part that really gave me a lift…
Those people who regularly ate chocolate were more optimistic, socialised more, and generally had a sunnier disposition.
So it looks like I’m going to live to be an optimistic 121year old (who still hasn’t managed to clean out the garage, and is still waiting for Wales to win the Rugby world cup).
Of course, this study sounds pretty flippant, but it raises a very serious point…
Things that are widely dismissed as bad for us, such as alcohol, red meat and of course, chocolate can in fact help protect our health.
Getting healthy can be fun too..
So, even though it seems to be taking scientists an age to play catch up with us, I think the reason for this is pretty simple…
Aside from all the nutrients, antioxidants and healthy proteins that many so-called bad foods contain, eating them also makes you feel good.
And feeling good and being happy are two crucial factors that affect our health no end – and if you enjoy a bit of what you fancy from time to time, your happiness soars.
Chocolate, for example, releases endorphins – nature’s good life drug – that makes us feel good. And feeling good is a vital part of feeling healthy and BEING healthy.
So, scribbling out the bit about pensioners, I’m going to follow this latest ‘scientific breakthrough’ this very day, and enjoy a bar of chocolate with my afternoon cuppa.
Maybe you’ll do the same.
And talking of bad foods, here’s another poor, beleaguered devil who used to get bad press (and still does in certain dumb circles…)
A handful of these a day could help prevent heart disease
For ages, the health industry was a bit like the witch hunts of the middle ages…
‘All fats are evil and must be destroyed!’ the health fascists screamed, and we were bullied into thinking their way.
Which meant along with bad fats, good fats were burnt at the stake as well.
And chief amongst the victims were nuts – because they committed the crime of being high in calories and high in fat.
Luckily, the truth about nuts is finally hitting home. After all, nuts have been part of our natural diet since we were crawling around on all fours (in my case that was last weekend after I’d been playing with the kids at the local park for an hour).
And at last research championing the nut as part of a sensible diet.
Take these two studies…
The first monitored the dietary habits of 31,000 men and women for six years, and recorded the number of counts of heart disease in the group.
The results seem pretty conclusive to me…
People who ate nuts at least four times a week had 51% fewer heart attacks than those who didn’t.
Likewise, a Nurses’ Health Study tracked 86,016 women for 14 years (now that’s what I call a study!).
The results showed that women who ate at least five ounces of nuts per week were 35% less likely to a suffer heart attack than those who ate less than one ounce per month.
So my advice – get chomping on a handful of nuts a day! Not only are they rich in healthy fats, they’re also packed with fiber, protein, selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper…
What the devil is Arginine? (and why men might want to know the answer)
Arginine is an amino acid that helps blood vessels go about their daily work.
In fact, it seems to help blood flow so well, it’s used as a supplement to help tackle erectile problems.
In order to maintain an erection, the nerve endings in the penis need to produce nitric oxide, which in turn helps blood flow into the penis (which causes the erection).
And Arginine is one of the substances that creates nitric oxide as soon as it’s introduced into the system.
So surely there’s no argument – nuts are good.
Heeeey – how about a bar of Cadbury’s whole nut? Chocolate AND nuts at the same time!
God, it’s great eating healthily isn’t it?