Naughty or Nice? The Truth About Your Favourite Vices

There's a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to our most-loved vices, and we're finally getting to the bottom of it.
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Naughty or Nice? The Truth About Your Favourite Vices

There's a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to our most-loved vices, and we're finally getting to the bottom of it.
Facebook
Twitter

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THE BACKGROUND

‘Tis the season for celebrating and where better to start than with an ode to indulgence?

From sipping wine to sleeping in, we’ve researched the world’s most popular vices so you can spoil yourself wisely (and regret-free!) till the new year.

If guilty pleasures are your jam, we’ve got you covered.

DRIP DRIP

We know what you’re thinking: please, oh please, don’t say coffee is bad for us.

Lucky for you, more and more research proves that a jolt of java can have major health benefits from lowering the risks of Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetesto boosting cognitive function. Recent studies have also shown that drinking four cups of coffee per day can improve cardiovascular health at the cellular level. (We heart that.)

Still, the caffeine found in coffee (and tea and soda and energy drinks…) is a stimulant that can have adverse side-effects on your body, mood and mind if consumed in excess.

So, what’s the takeaway you ask? Keep enjoying that cuppa Joe but if your morning perk turns to jitters you might want to something easier on the nerves (water is a definite “do”).

THE SNUGGLE IS REAL

If you’re anything like us, the upcoming holiday season will be all about sleep, sleep and more sleep. And that’s a good thing…for the most part.

The benefits of solid shut-eye are extensive and well-documented, ranging from improved memory and sharper attention to lowered stress and even a longer lifespan. Trying to lose weight? Getting more sleep could be your key to success. It’s basically a universal fact that the better your sleep habits, the healthier you are.

But being the fair and balanced journalists that we are, it’s our job to present the other side: namely, the health risks of oversleeping.

Just as getting the right amount of Zs can help you lose weight, staying in bed too long can have the opposite effect and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and certain heart conditions. And while oversleeping isn’t necessarily a sign of depression (it’s only an issue in 15% of cases), it can make it more likely that you’ll develop a form of the disease down the line.

What’s more, a study released this week found a correlation between oversleeping (getting more than eight hours of sleep a day) and a greater risk of stroke or heart failure. And it’s not just nighttime sleep that counts towards your total. If you get more than six hours of sleep at night, napping during the day can increase your risk of cardiovascular events — but if you’re undersleeping at night (less than six hours), the study found “a daytime nap seemed to compensate for the lack of sleep at night and to mitigate the risks.” (Phew!)

To sum it up, there’s a fine line to getting the right amount of sleep but you can rest easy if you’re snoozing between six to eight hours.

SIP HAPPENS

Perhaps no guilty pleasure is the subject of more conflicting advice than wine — one minute it’s bad for you, the next it’s the healthiest thing for your diet since sliced (multigrain) bread. Well, drink to your health, Bullet readers, because studies increasingly show that wine consumed in moderation can be good for you in more ways than one. (Hip hip hoo-chardonnay!)

Whether it’s fending off gum disease and tooth decay or improving short-term memory, certain properties found in vino are shown to have a variety of bodily benefits that go well beyond your heart. The compound, Resveratrol, is getting particular health buzz, but it’s worth noting that it can be found in other, non-alcoholic sources.

Finally, it’s important (read: crucial) to understand that none of the research into wine encourages increased drinking to bolster well-being. In addition to the obvious risks of impairment, excess consumption of booze has been linked to a litany of physical and mental health problems.

So let’s all raise a glass to responsible drinking this festive season.

TASTY TREAT

Chocoholics rejoice!

From decadent truffles to basic brownies, chocolate is a universally beloved treat in all its mouthwatering forms. But, arguably the best thing about this sweet indulgence is that it’s not only delectable, it’s also damn good for you.

Quality dark chocolate (read: not the kind still kicking around your pantry from Halloween) is rich in flavonoids — a group of phytochemicals commonly found in fruits, vegetables and, yep, cocoa beans. These nutritional powerhouses are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have made them a darling of the health world for their link to improved brain function and a lowered risk of heart disease and even certain cancers.

As if any of us needed another reason to eat chocolate during the holidays — just make sure it’s the good stuff.

GONE TO POT

Canada’s legalization of cannabis legitimized a multi-billion-dollar industry overnight and gave a country full of potheads pot enthusiasts the green light to enjoy their favourite pastime out in the open.

And while the move to decriminalize wasn’t taken lightly, it’s part of a worldwide trend to bring cannabis out of the shadows and ease restrictions around marijuana access — particularly for medical use — as research on top of research points to pot as an effective alternative treatment for chronic pain, nausea, muscle tension and glaucoma (to just name a few).

Still, giving cannabis the rubber stamp doesn’t distract from its status as a psychoactive drug that must be used or consumed with care. And while a pre-Oct. 17 survey said 80% of Canadians weren’t interested in toking up post-legalization, frontline healthcare providers have expressed concern about the habit-forming and impairing effects of cannabis as well as its aggravating impact on respiration, brain development and mental health.

In short: if you’re going to use cannabis (or enjoy any of your vices) during the holidays or beyond, be smart about it.


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