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HEALTH BENEFITS

Kissing is fun, everybody knows that. But who would have known that the act of smooching can actually give you HEALTH BENEFITS? 

Does it heal your broken heart, clear your skin and boost your immune system? You're about to find out.

Strap yourselves in ladies, here are each and every glorious health benefit of puckering up. You should probably find someone to practice on…you know, for the sake of your body. It's a temple, isn't it?

Just don't do it like this:

mr bean love GIF

According to a 2009 scientific study, when we kiss somebody, our bodies release hormones which can actually ease stress. In the case of men, it increases bonding too. We love a good bromance alert.

Oral healthcare, anyone?

Now, we're not saying that you shouldn't brush your teeth or use mouthwash, but allegedly, a good kiss marathon is great news for your teeth and gums. How? Listen up:

Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, explains:

“When you’re kissing, you’re secreting more saliva in your mouth. That’s the mechanism that washes away the plaque on your teeth that leads to cavities.” A shift a day keeps the dental plaque away, girlos.

allison janney kiss GIF by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

It acts as a painkiller (Seriously)

Your achy, break-y heart deserves some attention. Especially when you've got some form of cramps, like your time of the month.

Apparently, some lip action actually helps to reduce the effects of chronic pain. Some savvy scientists at Current Pharmaceutical Design conducted some research into smooching, learned that the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin is packed full of analgesic painkilling properties.

Oxytocin s released whenever you kiss and hug your partner, so do it as much as possible, we say. Blood vessel dilation after a good kissing sesh is great for reducing aches and pains, so when you're on your period, pucker up. You NEED it, right?

ryan gosling kiss GIF

Hayfever or Bae-fever?

Anyone who suffers from allergies can rejoice at this news; apparently kissing eases itchy eyes and snotty noses (ew).

Researchers at Satou Hospital in Japan investigated the protective effect of kissing against allergies, and claim that locking lips for only 30 minutes can do wonders for the immune system.

It decreases the release of histamine (the chemical which is produced in response to allergens) as it relaxes you, and also can work miracles for eczema sufferers. Is there anything a great shift can't do?

blooming lisa simpson GIF

No pressure, honeys

So apparently, kissing can even reduce your blood pressure? We've all felt butterflies in our stomachs and a weakening of the ol' knees, as well as a quickening heartbeat, and now we've figured out that kissing passionately does even more:

Demirjian explains: “It gets your heartbeat revved in a healthy way that lowers your blood pressure. It dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely, taking pressure off your organs, especially your heart and brain.”

Hot Diggedy Damn, we're 100 percent HERE for this science.

Feel Better In Love GIF

Let's talk about sex, baby, let's talk about you + me

Your sex life gets some HELLA drastic improvements from kissing; the two go together like Grace & Frankie, like women and vibrators, like Netflix and chill. You get the idea.

Kissing is also WAY more likely to increase your chances of having an orgasm. Lord knows we could use some of those…

As Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, explains;

“Kissing is a powerful type of foreplay… it helps increase the chances that both partners will have a good and pleasurable erotic experience.”

sexy nun GIF by Originals

Face the Facts

So BASICALLY, kissing involves more than 30 facial muscles, which can be given a major workout from a good kiss.

According to Demirjian, tongue wrestling can strengthen your neck and jawline – very good news, as these are particularly tricky spots to exercise on a daily basis.

“Your mouth has a number of facial muscles,” she says. “When those are engaged in kissing, you can tighten and tone them.”

Tighten and tone, you say? Sign us up.

muscles what GIF

2019 Mood

A perfectly-timed kiss can be the ideal mood booster. If scientists are saying it, then it must be true, right?

Puckering up can give your body a big-time release of happiness hormones, such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Ooh la la.

Those hormonal bad boys can help you relax, restore and revitalise your system. What more could you need?

romantic lady and the tramp GIF

NOW do you believe us about scientific research? 

Grab that lad or lassie and get your smooch on, it's for your own benefit, and theirs too.

Your doctor has officially given you one prescription to visit the LOVE shack *winks* 

Get it, gurrrlllll…

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Cheese gets a bad rep.

Sure it's loaded with calories and fat, but it's definitely tasty enough that we're willing to forget that. 

However, you'll be happy to know that researchers at the Texas A&M University have discovered a surprising health benefit linked with the food.  

According to the study, aged cheese like brie, parmesan and cheddar could actually prevent liver disease and contribute to a longer life expectancy

Apparently these unlikely benefits are all down to a special compound called ‘spermidine’.

The naturally occurring compound has been known to hinder the replication of damaged liver cells, thus preventing many liver diseases, including cancer.

The spermidine treatment was linked to a 25 per cent increase in the life expectancy if mice, however, scientist still have a long way to go before confirming if the same effect could be seen in humans.

Not a cheese lover? Don’t worry, the same effect can be had from eating whole grains, mushrooms, corn and legumes.

Not us though, we’ll take all the cheese. 

 

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We've all been there.

You're in a new job, doing your thing, when the hottie from finance walks by and leaves you a red-faced, spluttering mess. 

Workplace crushes are completely natural, and what's more, they good even be good for your health and well-being. 

Well, that's according to Jason Hughes, Founder of Leicester Centre for Psychodynamic anyway.

Speaking to Stylist, Jason explained how the butterfly feeling could actually help us feel better about ourselves. 

“We all want to feel good, crushes are our imaginative and creative way of identifying those things we prize in others, which we struggle to see in ourselves.”

He continued, “Crushes help us to feel alive, help us to feel, and help us to imagine – this is especially important when we might feel that we are trapped in a routine, stuck in a job or relationship where there is little new and vibrant.''

“Don’t ignore them, but pay careful attention to them and what they might be saying about you…”

And if you think your crushing days are behind you, think again. Those lustful feelings can reveal themselves when you least expect it, even in adulthood.

See, crushes stem from the same part of the brain believed to be responsible for drug addiction.

We really are simple creatures. 

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A recent study found that 41 per cent of Irish women and 30 per cent of Irish men have made the conscious decision to limit their dairy consumption.

It's thought that the growing number of bloggers and influencers promoting plant-based diets has led to the decreased intake, with one in ten people admitting they now believe cow's milk is unhealthy.

Instead, many consumers are now looking to non-dairy alternatives such as soy or almond, but with tonnes of conflicting reports about the nutritional benefits of each, it can be difficult to choose that product that is right for us.

In an attempt to settle the dairy vs non-dairy debate once and for all, we've done some research and compared the health benefits of cow's milk and its most popular alternatives.

Full-Fat Cow's Milk

Pros: As well as being a great source of protein, full-fat cow's milk is rich in minerals and vitamins, essential for helping your body function properly. In fact, just one glass contains five per cent of your recommended intake of vitamins and up to 28 per cent of your daily calcium requirement.

Cons: Cow's milk is high in saturated fat, which, when consumed in excess amounts, increase levels of 'bad' cholesterol.

Semi Skimmed Cow's Milk

Pros: Semi skimmed cow's milk provides much the same nutrients as its full-fat counterpart, however it's lower calorie count and added protein makes it ideal for weight loss. 

Cons: As a means of compensating for the reduced fat content, extra sugar is sometimes added to make it taste better. However, it's worth reading the label before you make your choice as the same can't be said for every brand.

Soy Milk

Pros: Cholesterol, saturated and trans fats are all naturally absent from soy milk, making it a good choice when it comes to heart health. What's more, research  published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), suggests childhood consumption of soy reduces the risk of bone degradation later in life.

Cons: Some studies claims soy can mimic the female hormone estrogen, thus leading to an increased risk of breast cancer. Other research claims the ingredient could have a possible negative impact on men's fertility.

Almond Milk

Pros: Almonds are packed with essential nutrients such as protein, fibre, magnesium and iron. They also contain flavonoids, which help to lower levels of 'bad' cholesterol and maintain heart health. 

Cons: Some argue that almond milk is not a healthy alternative to dairy as it does not contain as much protein or calcium. However, it's worth nothing that some varieties are now fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Coconut Milk

Pros: Coconut milk is an excellent source medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) – a type of fatty acid that is sent directly to the liver, and then utilised as energy. It also boasts a number of antibacterial and anti-fungal elements to boost your immune system.

Cons: Coconut milk contains specific carbohydrates that may cause stomach upset, meaning people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should consider eliminating it from their diets.

Rice Milk

Pros: As well as being the most hypoallergenic of all milk products, rice milk also contains low amounts of saturated fat. Its balanced nutritional value makes it the perfect alternative for those who can not tolerate other milks, dairy or other.

Cons: Unlike the dairy option, rice milk lacks both protein (0.67 grams per eight-ounce serving) and calcium (283 mg per eight-ounce serving). However, much of the ready-made rice milk we see on supermarket shelves has been fortified to include 25 to 30 per cent calcium.

 

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So, as most of us know by now, sugar is pretty much the food devil and we could all benefit from having less of the sweet stuff in our lives.

Studies show that excessive sugar consumption can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease as well as wreak havoc on our pearly whites

However, according to physician, Dr Drew Ramsay, sugar could actually be hugely beneficial for our brain health.

He argues that the molecule is largely 'misunderstood' and even went as far to describe it as a 'miracle.'

“Sugar is vital for your brain health—which is the biggest guzzler of the sweet stuff in your body, FYI,” Dr Ramsay explained.

“Your greatest assets: grit, gifts, creativity…all run on it.”

He explains that the brain requires over 400 calories of glucose per day – though it's up to us to decide where we get it from.

See, not all sugar is created equal, and while our bodies can do little with the type found in processed foods, Dr Ramsay recommends getting your fix from natural sources such as fresh fruit and honey.

What's more, consuming natural sugars and carbohydrates can actually make us happier – (which goes a long way toward explaining our love of Nutella on toast).

While it may not have the greatest reputation in the world of health and wellness, it seems that sugar may not deserve all the bad press. 

“There’s a danger to your health -in particular to your brain health – by blanketing sugar as bad for you.”

So, the next time you treat yourself to a chocolate covered biscuit (or two) with your tea, you won't have to feel too bad about it.

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Coffee lovers rejoice!

The next time someone makes a sly dig about your addiction to the black stuff, just hit them with the facts – coffee makes you live longer.

Two studies, one in the US and one in the UK, have found that drinking three cups of coffee a day can increase your life expectancy.

See, coffee has been known to reduce the risk of liver disease, circulatory issues, heart disease, strokes and digestive issues, so it's combined benefits can actually add years to your life.

According to researchers, these effects are due to the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee.

The UK study, led by Imperial College London and the UN International Agency for Research on Cancer, looked at 520,000 people over the age of 35 living in ten countries, over a period of 16 years.

Results showed that men who drank three cups of coffee a day were 18 per cent less likely to die over the course of the study.

The effects were not as strong for the female participants, however, women who drank three cups a day had an 8 per cent decreased chance of death over the time period.

Similarly, the US study found that those who drank one cup of coffee a day were 12 per cent less likely to have passed away during the study, while those who drank three cups were 18 per cent less likely.

Now, it's highly likely that these people were living healthy lifestyles and it would be irresponsible to give coffee all the credit, but it's definitely something that, when consumed in moderation, could keep keep everything ticking over. 

Dr Marc Gunter, leader of the UK study, said: "We found higher coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from any cause, and specifically for circulatory diseases, and digestive diseases."

"We are not at the stage of recommending people to drink more or less coffee."

"That said, our results suggest that moderate coffee drinking – up to around three cups per day – is not detrimental, and that incorporating coffee into your diet could have health benefits."

We'll take that. 

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The act of body piercing is far from a modern custom, in fact, ancient civilizations who lived as far back as 3,300 B.C. were known to pierce their bodies for various religious and social reasons.

Today, the jewellery is mostly worn in the name of fashion and used as a form of self-expression. 

But, it now seems that the daith piercing, one the latest trend amongst the style conscious, may come with a surprising health benefit.

Haven’t a clue what we’re talking about? Don’t worry, here’s a photo to clear things up.

Well, not only is the daith piercing a fashion trend loved by the likes of Kylie Jenner and Zoe Kravitz, it’s also fast becoming one of the most talked about cures for migraines.

Much like acupuncture, many have claimed the piercing acts on a specific pressure point said to relieve even the most painful headaches.

However, it seem this magical cure might not work for everyone. Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, a neurologist and trustee of The Migraine Trust said, ‘There is no evidence that daith piercing work to help migraine.’

But hey, it looks cute, and if it just so happens to cure your migraine, even better!

 

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We'll admit that we like the odd shot or two on a night out, and when it comes down to it, tequila is probably everyone's first choice.

Some love it, some hate it, but either way it goes down with a sting and makes you dance all night long. Win-win, right?

So, when we heard that the drink has actual health benefits, it's safe to say we jumped for joy.

According to Science Daily, a new study which has been carried out in Mexico has found that a substance found in tequila – the blue variety of agave tequilana – is good for you!

The drink "has substances capable of improving the absorption of calcium and magnesium, essential minerals to maintain bone health."

Dr. Mercedes Lopez from the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies said, "the consumption of fructans contained in the agave, in collaboration with adequate intestinal micriobiota, promotes the formation of new bone, even with the presence of osteoporosis."

It is believed that this new find means doctors will be able to use an alternative treatment for osteoporosis.

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If you – like us –  find yourself lying about the number of coffees you get through in a day, the good folk from the world of science are here to tell us that we no longer have to live a lie.

While your friends and co-workers reach for their second litre of water and you guzzle down your fourth flat white, experts in the field suggest you stop hiding you habit and start boasting about the benefits.

According to a recent study, your coffee habit will stand to you in the future, with findings suggesting that women over 65 who drink two or three cups of coffee per day reduce the risk of dementia by a third.

With the help of almost 6,500 women, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee established that caffeine consumption of more than 261 mg per day was associated with a staggering 36 per cent reduction in the risk of dementia.

"The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications," lead author Professor Ira Driscoll explained.

"What is unique about this study is that we had an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationships between caffeine intake and dementia incidence in a large and well-defined, prospectively-studied cohort of women."

The study's authors explain that the level of caffeine recorded in the study equate with two to three 8-oz cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-oz cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.

Get thee to the local cafe, ladies!

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It is at times like these when we realise that science has our backs. 

Yet another study has just proved to us the benefits of that occasional glass of red wine. 

So while we are not telling you to go on a mad one and have an entire two bottles to your self, you should definitely not feel too guilty about having that extra glass of vino around the Christmas period. 

According to research conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada, one glass of wine is JUST as healthy as an hour long gym session.

All the more reason to ditch the runners and embrace the festive season while it lasts people! 

The study showed that consuming a particular compound in red wine called Resveratrol actually has similar health benefits to exercising. 

Yep, we're talking improved muscle function, physical appearance and sheer strength. 

"Resveratrol could mimic exercise for [people] or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do," said the lead researcher ​Jason Dyck​.

Yep, that's enough evidence for us. Bring on the weekend. 

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As we all know in Ireland, tea time is ALL the time. Drinking tea is something we all just can't get enough of.

But now, the rest of Europe is catching onto our love affair, as new Dutch guidelines are encouraging people to drink tea regularly.

The guidelines from The Health Council of the Netherlands, has advised people to drink up to five cups of tea a day. Hallelujah! 

The advice only applies to green tea or regular tea though (which is totally fine with us), and not other herbal options. 

They have already implemented the new guidelines into many Dutch schools, with children as young as four being encouraged to enjoy a cup of milky tea at lunchtime. 

“We noted that in the scientific literature in the last 10 years, there are clear signs that drinking tea is good for your health,” Eert Schoten, a spokesman for the health council, tells The Telegraph.

“Three to five cups a day reduces blood pressure, diabetes and stroke risks, so this comes as one of our 16 guidelines,” he says.

Tim Bond, from the Tea Advisory Panel says that the guidelines are the same as what he would recommend: “A number of recent studies looking at long term drinking habits have indicated that three to five cups of tea are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

We already knew that green tea was good for us and can help protect against various illnesses, but we didn't realise that our love for Barry's or our taste for Lyon's would be providing us with hidden health benefits too.

Going to pop the kettle on? Yep, us too! 

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Beetroot sometimes gets left behind in the health and fitness world because, let's face it, it's just not trendy.

Anyone who remembers having to eat the slimy purple stuff as a child was no doubt put off the taste for years.

But in fact, beetroot has always been included in many lists of the most recommended vegetables for health benefits… and if used correctly it can taste AMAZING too.

The vegetable became popular in Roman times as it was then used to treat fever, wounds and skin problems, as well as being used as an aphrodisiac. 

Interested now? We thought so.

Yes, while store-bought beetroot is often drenched in overly-sour juices, fresh beetroot is sweet, earthy and tender to eat. So if you want to make this vegetable part of your five-a-day, go for the fresh kind.

It contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fibres. So, see what we mean by a wonder food now?

 

To make it a bit easier for you we have compiled a list of all the benefits right here: 

1. Lower blood pressure
Eating beetroot or drinking beet juice can help lower your blood pressure within an hour. The benefit comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beetroot. In turn, when released into your body it helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and pressure. 

 

2. Fight inflammation
Beetroot has a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation as well as protect internal organs.

 

3. Anti-cancer properties
The powerful pyhtonutrients that give beetroot its deep crimson colour may help fight off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot has reduced multi-organ tumour formations and is also being studied for use in treating pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer. 

 

4. Rich in valuable nutrients and fibres
As seen above beetroot has LOADS of vitamins and nutrients in them which can totally boost your immune system. Minerals like potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle functions – while manganese is good for your bones, liver, kidney and pancreas. 

 

5. Detoxification
The betalin pigments in beetroot support your body's detoxification process, helping to purify your blood and your liver. So if you want to try a detox diet, beetroot is the way to go.

 

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