Here's a list showing the surprising science behind why unhealthy things can actually, in some ways, be justified as beneficial to your health.
Although RedBull, marijuana, beer, chocolate, and wine are all deemed unhealthy or condemned by some, the health benefits of these stigmatized vicesare quite surprising.
As the unofficial liquid of final exam season, RedBullis consumed by many students to boost energy and stay awake. Besides energizing effects, RedBullcontains many chemical compounds that interact with the brain in surprising ways. About halfway down the ingredient list on the back of the can is a molecule called “taurine.” This amino acid increases signaling ability in the brain that helps neurons to fire efficiently. According to a study from the Journal of Psychopharmacology, RedBullhas been shown to improve the ability of memory and enhance the speed of information retrieval. The cognitive benefits of this energy drink go beyond a simple energy jolt.
While the pros and cons of marijuana are commonly known, the specific effects of smoking the plant itself are widely misunderstood. It is surprising to learn that smoking marijuana is strongly associated with improved lung function, even compared to non-smokers. For those who light up at 4:20, their forced expiratory volume (FEV) and forced vital capacity (FVC) are higher than any other control groups. With a larger value of FEV and FVC indicating better lung health, moderate to heavy marijuana users produce the healthiest lung capacity results. These results may be due to the muscular training that occurs when deeply inhaling the marijuana smoke.
With research showing that more than 80% of students drink alcohol, the benefits of beer are highly applicable in convincing yourself that you deserve a cold one after a stressful exam. There are numerous effects that beer has on the body that improves physical well-being. First off, there is a soluble fiber in beer that can help to reduce low-density lipoproteins, commonly known as the “bad” cholesterol. This fiber promotes a healthy balance of blood-sugar and blood-cholesterol levels. Secondly, beer improves kidney health by reducing the likelihood of developing kidney stones. One study suggests that moderate beer drinkers reduce the risk of kidney stones by approximately 41% due to the hops in beer that are rich in health-promoting phytochemicals. Lastly, beer can reduce the chance of heart disease and stroke by up to 35%. With these astonishing statistics, it is completely understandable to put down the books and head over to the brewery.
The insatiable need for chocolate is arguably one of the strongest cravings a human can encounter. Thanks to scientific research, men and women across the world can now feel good about consuming this sugary treat. A group of compounds called polyphenols, further classified as flavonoids, have incredible antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are highly beneficial because they neutralize the dangerously reactive “free radicals” that can cause many diseases. The darker the chocolate, the better the antioxidizing effect is due to the higher concentration of cocoa that contains these radical-fighting flavonoid soldiers. Preventing damage such as heart disease, cancer, and immune dysfunction can be traced back to the simple joys of a chocolate bar.
Although health professionals caution patients about the adverse effects of alcohol, the science behind the cancer-fighting effects of wine are significant. A compound known as resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and red wine. Resveratrol is linked to an essential protein called p53 that is branded as the “guardian of the genome” due to its incredible anticancer properties. When p53 is mutated, it loses its ability to fight and aggregates into a useless clump that actually progressescancer. Studies have revealed that resveratrol can inhibit the accumulation of mutated p53 in human breast cancer cells and in rodents. Simply put, wine can fight cancer. Tell that to your doctor next time they’re whining about wine!
As for all things though, moderation is key! Think about that before you let yourself get too excited...