4 “Bad” Habits that Improve Men’s Health

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By Robert Spencer

We’re told how to act by our women, our parents, the media, etc. I can only imagine that even our kids and pets are secretly trying to tell us how to act too. We’re told what to do, how to think, what to wear, and how to act.

Well, that’s come to an end. There are certain things that they have told us which are all lies. All lies, I tell you. We’ve been told that chocolate, beer, and sleeping in are bad for us. They try to limit our beer intake and hide mounds of chocolate from us. They pull the covers from us on Saturday mornings but that’s all going to end after I reveal their secrets.

Okay, so I’m being dramatic. Either way, I’m still going to blow your mind by debunking these common and well-known myths.

#1) Chocolate is Bad for You

Since we’ve passed Valentine’s Day and my girlfriend’s favorite holiday (the day after Valentine’s Day AKA “All the Chocolate Is Half Off” Day), I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had a bit too much chocolate lately. Luckily for us, studies show that chocolate can be pretty good for us. You know, in moderation.

Dark chocolate is the healthiest. It’s filled with antioxidants and flavonoids (not that’s not a rapper). Antioxidant compounds help your veins stay flexible which means that they help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is the favorite pick for health nuts because it has the most cacao in it. That’s where all of that good stuff hides.

#2) Drinking the Night Away

All right, so we’re not supposed to really drink your weight in liquor, but moderate drinking is said to have its health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) say that there are three behaviors that can help prolong your life: eating healthy, regular exercise, and moderate drinking.

What makes moderate drinking so good for you? Alcohol acts like an anti-inflammatory and also helps raise your HDL (your good cholesterol).

#3) Telling Your Alarm to Drop Dead

Yes, that’s right, guys. Sleeping in is good for your health. At least, it is good for your metabolism. Studies have shown that people who wake up to an alarm clock are three times more likely to be overweight than people who wake up to their own internal clock.

While this might not be such a wise choice for your career (if your boss makes you get up at an ungodly hour of the day – like before noon), it’s not too bad for your body. It has its own alarm, which it uses to time things like when your digestive system is primed for digesting food.

The more you rely on an alarm clock, the more your body gets out of sync with its internal clock. The more it’s out of sync with its internal clock, the more your metabolism slows because it is out of sync with its natural digestion system.

#4) Occasional Stress

Unlike what we’ve been told, stress isn’t that bad as long as you’re handling it properly. Crazy to think of, right? It’s been said that our body’s natural reaction to stress is good for our heart.

So, guys, what is our body’s natural reaction to stress? Other than hair loss (by our own hand), sweaty palms, and an elevated heart rate. Oh, and that obnoxious vein that keeps throbbing in your forehead. Well, stress also causes a surge in blood flow, a release of hormones that get sent into the bloodstream (which has protective chemicals in it), heightened awareness, and increased energy.

You also develop a sense of emotional resiliency due to the various stressful events that you are exposed to. You learn how to deal with those events and can better handle them in the future.

Unfortunately, there is a catch. Our everyday stresses, the type that we have to deal with then we have a job that we hate, or when we are generally unhappy with our lives, are called chronic stress.

The stress that has all of these good benefits is called acute stress. That means that we deal with that stress, and then it goes away. The best examples of this are work deadlines. We have to get that project in on time. Then after we turn it in, the deadline passes and the stress is relieved.

So, guys, for the most part, all of those vices are great in moderation. A serving of dark chocolate is good for your heart. So is a glass of wine with dinner or a couple beers with the game. Enjoying some of your vices in moderation is good for your mental and your physical health. Just don’t go overboard.