In­trigu­ing health find­ings

Some­times even the weird­est things can turn out to be good for your health

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Did you know that the type of cheese you eat be­fore bed can af­fect your dreams? It may sound odd but eat­ing blue cheese like stil­ton can give you vivid dreams, while ched­dar can make you dream about celebri­ties. The ef­fect of cheese on our dreams is not the only piece of weird sci­ence we’ve come across re­cently. Here are other in­trigu­ing health triv­ias: 1 Fizzy drinks make you hun­gry You might think all that gas would fill you up, but not ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sci­ence. It seems that when you drink some­thing fizzy – be that soft drinks or even sparkling wa­ter – lev­els of ghre­lin, a hor­mone that makes us hun­gry, in­crease. It’s be­lieved car­bon diox­ide in the drinks may trig­ger the hor­mone’s pro­duc­tion, so stick to plain wa­ter if you’re watch­ing your weight. 2 Swear­ing makes you stronger Curs­ing dur­ing a work­out helps you cy­cle harder and lift heav­ier weights. It’s not known ex­actly why, but re­searcher Dr Richard Stephens from Keele Univer­sity says, “We know from ear­lier re­search that swear­ing makes peo­ple more able to tol­er­ate pain.” Ad­mit­tedly, swear­ing too loud could get you thrown out of the gym, so try mut­ter­ing un­der your breath.

3 Cats could cause PMS

The most ex­treme form of PMS is known as pre­men­strual dys­pho­ric disor­der (PMDD). It causes symp­toms of se­vere mood swings, de­pres­sion and out­bursts of anger – and in some cases it might be caused by a par­a­site car­ried by house­cats. Tox­o­plasma gondii trig­gers sim­i­lar symp­toms to PMDD, and in one group of women those who felt most out of con­trol in the run up to their pe­riod were found to carry it. It’s es­ti­mated that 20 to 40 per cent of Aus­tralian women have been in­fected with tox­o­plasma gondii at some point so if you do have ex­treme PMS – and han­dle cats – it might be worth get­ting tested for the bug.

4 Very cold weather might make you a bad driver

Not only are you deal­ing with weather con­di­tions that can make driv­ing more tax­ing, sim­ply feel­ing cold can af­fect how you drive. Chilly folk drive more ag­gres­sively, get closer to cars, and brake up to two sec­onds slower than when they feel warm. The stress of feel­ing cold adds to the stress of be­ing around other driv­ers, lead­ing to ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour. Keep your cool by keep­ing your car at a com­fort­able tem­per­a­ture dur­ing cold weather.

5 Scary films boosts your im­mu­nity

If there’s cold and flu go­ing around the of­fice, ward it off by buy­ing tick­ets to the lat­est hor­ror film. While pro­longed stress sup­presses im­mu­nity, the short, sharp shock of jump­ing while watch­ing a thriller or hor­ror film ac­tu­ally gives your im­mune sys­tem a boost. Seems that when we’re scared the body re­leases adren­a­line, which primes the im­mune sys­tem for ac­tion.

6 Pointy shoes hurt more with age

If wear­ing your favourite stilet­tos have started to hurt, blame your age – the av­er­age wo­man’s feet widen by 2.5cm as we get older – par­tic­u­larly around the ball of the foot. It hap­pens be­cause we start to lose strength in the mus­cles or ten­dons of the feet, which causes them to spread.

7 Look­ing at stripes might trig­ger a mi­graine

It might be stripes on a shirt or even a pic­ture of a ze­bra, but if you’re prone to mi­graine headaches, the con­trast be­tween cer­tain stripes can cause the brain to be­come over-ac­tive, set­ting a headache in mo­tion. Pro­fes­sor Arnold Wilkins, who stud­ies the phe­nom­e­non at the UK’s Univer­sity of Es­sex, rec­om­mends cov­er­ing one eye or putting dark glasses when you see a trig­ger pat­tern. “This can re­duce how many neu­rons fire in the brain and some­times pre­vent an at­tack,” he ex­plains.

8 Do­ing calf raises can fight snor­ing

One lesser known cause of snor­ing is fluid that builds up in the legs through­out the day when we sit for long pe­ri­ods. “When we lie down to sleep, this fluid re­dis­tributes to other parts of the body in­clud­ing the throat, caus­ing nar­row­ing that leads to snor­ing,” ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Bha­jan Singh of the Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia. Work­ing the calf through­out the day by walk­ing or do­ing calf raises helps re­duce fluid lev­els.

9 Some women sneeze af­ter or­gasm

And it’s not the only un­ex­pected re­ac­tion – other peo­ple have re­ported get­ting pains in their ears, cry­ing, laugh­ing, itch­ing – and some peo­ple even suf­fer a flu-like ill­ness for a few days. It’s be­lieved to be caused by a mis­fire in the nerves stim­u­lated when cli­max oc­curs. Sadly, there’s no cure, but at least now you know why it hap­pens – and that you’re not alone.

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