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