A number of formerly sinful luxuries now seem to be healthy, check them out below.
Napping (Old Rep: Lazy pastime New Cred: Recharge tactic)
Sneaking in an afternoon snooze can seem irresponsible with email, deadlines, and crusty dishes piling up. But a nap is exactly what your brain and body need to recharge. Call it Mother Nature’s patented Ritalin: an antidote to mental fuzziness without the unpleasant side effects.
A 20-minute nap helps sharpen the mind and enhance muscle coordination; 30 to 60 minutes typically lets you sink into slow-wave sleep, which can boost memory, according to Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life.”
Ever since fat and cholesterol phobia swept the country in the 1980s, both eggs and cheese have suffered an image problem — and don’t even think about mixing the two. But the combo isn’t so bad, after all: Of the 4.9 grams of fat in an egg, 1.6 of them are saturated; the rest are unsaturated — the type that actually helps lower cholesterol in blood. And not all cheeses are high in fat: Parmesan contains only 1.4 grams (and 22 calories) per tablespoon.
Furthermore, an average egg with a tablespoon (or shredded cubic inch) of cheese offers more nutrients than a doughy bagel: calcium (from the cheese), 13 vitamins (from the egg), and protein (from both).
Gossiping (Old Rep: Mean-girl entertainment New Cred: Bonding technique)
Whose ears don’t perk up when word gets around about a co-worker’s tussle with the boss or a friend’s tragic fashion sense? Research suggests that gossiping isn’t so much a moral slip-up as it is a way of bonding.
Furthermore, we’re wired to do it. As Robin Dunbar, Ph.D., a professor of evolutionary anthropology at the University of Oxford, writes in “Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language,” gossip among humans serves the same purpose as social grooming among apes: The participants share a common interest or goal, and in taking part, they’re made to feel included.
Wine may be the toast of the health-conscious, but beer is just as good for you, claims Charles Bamforth, Ph.D., chair of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis, and author of “Grape vs. Grain.”
It’s true that your brewski doesn’t contain resveratrol, wine’s so-called antiaging antioxidant, but it’s got more calcium and magnesium than a Cabernet or Merlot, and four to five times the level of free-radical-fighting polyphenols as a glass of white.
In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of beer a day (but no more than that) may up “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and reduce coronary heart disease rates by 30 to 40 percent.
Still fondling your iPhone? Surely there’s something more useful you could be doing? Maybe not.
Research suggests that interacting with new smart-phone apps or computer programs stimulates your neural circuits, says Gary Small, M.D., author of “iBrain” and director of the Center on Aging at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research suggests that Web searching, even more than reading online, activates neural areas responsible for decision making and reasoning. It keeps the brain fit, he says.