If you’ve ever been on the internet, you know that everything even remotely enjoyable is ruining your life. Diet Coke, eating standing up, the freaking sun—it’s all out to get you. But, if you look deep enough, there are scientists out there who are taking one for the team and using their knowledge to confirm our own hopes and dreams—some of these “bad things” might actually be okay for you.
There’s probably something to be said here for moderation, but that’s just so you can’t sue us after you switch to a diet of mostly dairy and alcohol and aren’t feeling so hot, so you start napping at work and get fired. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Red, red wine Wine has been a staple for just about forever. Thousands of years before Jesus kept the party rolling and miraculously turned water into wine, ancient Georgians were storing their fermented grape juice in jars and mumbling something about florals and tannins as they swirled their glasses the way their one wannabe-sommelier friend did that one time. Wine has been on most tables for as long as we can remember, and now there may be a reason to keep it stocked in your medicine cabinet. Red wine’s magic ingredient, resveratrol, has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, repair blood vessels, and prevent blood clots.
It might even prevent heart disease, due to all of the good it does for our cholesterol. The University of Massachusetts Amherst found that in patients with type 2 diabetes, glucose passage may be slowed by red wine, preventing a spike in their blood sugar. Some researchers at Purdue even found that certain compounds in wine might prevent fat cell growth, so basically red wine makes you skinny.
Of course, resveratrol and other compounds can be found in the skin of grapes, so you could always get the benefits straight from the source, but where’s the fun in that?
Hit snooze The next time your boss catches you “resting” your eyes in a dark office around 3PM, explain that it’s for your health—and the health of the company. Naps are essentially nature’s pick-me-up, and they can actually keep you more focused and productive throughout the day. A midday snooze can also lower your blood pressure, which means less physical stress on your body. Power naps can even be as, well, powerful as a full night’s sleep. Napping regularly can make you more alert, better prepared, and much more capable of piloting a spaceship. Naps can also be a sweet escape for a few moments in the middle of your busy day, which sounds like a dream come true to us.
Here’s where naps go wrong—sleep inertia. Other than being a sweet name for a metal band, sleep inertia is that groggy feeling that sets in and makes it damn near impossible to pull yourself up and out of bed. Once you’ve hit a deep sleep, it can be hard to fully wake back up. Limiting naps to 30 minutes or less can help you avoid the dreaded too-tired feeling and get you back to your day.
Cheese, please It’s hard to keep up—are we, as a society, for or against dairy? According to one study, we should be celebrating cheese and consuming it regularly (Perhaps alongside a big ole glass of red wine?) instead of fearing the fromage. Cheese contains probiotics and is a great source of protein, as well as calcium. In another study, a cup of ricotta a day lead to increased muscle mass in 60 year olds over 12 weeks.
The French Paradox gives us a little insight to this wisdom—they consume higher than average amounts of rich foods, including cheese and other dairy products, but have lower than average mortality rates from heart disease. Superficial studies have been carried out, but there’s no definitive research that shows that cheese is the key to a long life—but there’s not not proof.
So this week when you’re feeling a little rundown, make yourself a wine and cheese plate and follow it up with some much-deserved shuteye. Dr. Google encourages it!