August 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm EST | by Kevin M. Norris
Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and sex

Most things are best consumed or experienced in moderation and some things may even be better for you the more you consume or participate.

There is a common notion that if some things are good for you, they must be better for you in abundance. Unfortunately what is good for you in moderation may not be beneficial to you in surplus.

Here are some basic guidelines to keep you satiated without going overboard.

ALCOHOL: There can be a host of benefits of alcohol. Alcohol in moderation is beneficial for your heart and red wine in particular is packed with cancer fighting antioxidants. But, drink too much alcohol and you are at risk for adverse health consequences. The Mayo Clinic lists the benefits of alcohol consumption as: reducing the risk of heart disease; lowering blood pressure; reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol; possibly reducing the risk of strokes; lowering risk of gallstones; and possibly reducing risk of diabetes.

But the risks associated with excessive drinking can outweigh the benefits if you drink in excess. Always drink responsibly and in moderation. The risk of over consumption of alcohol include: addiction; cancer of the pancreas, mouth, pharynx, liver and breast; pancreatitis; heart muscle damage; stroke; high blood pressure; cirrhosis of the liver; miscarriage; and depression and suicide.

CHOCOLATE: Can chocolate possibly be good for you? Yes, indeed. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate with 65 percent or higher of cocoa content is best. The flavanols (antioxidants) found in chocolate are similar to the antioxidants found in green teas, berries and red wine.

The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, which appears to reduce the risk of heart disease. The flavanols in cocoa beans are purported to not only behold antioxidant effects, but also aid in lowering blood pressure and improve vascular function. Limit yourself to 3 oz. of dark chocolate a day as chocolate is high in calories. Consume in moderation and balance the calories by taking in less of other food.

CAFFEINE: This has been widely debated for some time and will continue to be. According to The Mayo Clinic, caffeine has been proven to stimulate the central nervous system, alleviate fatigue and increase mental alertness and physical performance. What’s more, caffeine can potentially decrease the chances of Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer and diabetes.

In excess, caffeine can be detrimental to your health according to Mayo. Caffeine in excess of 4-7 cups a day can cause a litany of health concerns. With increased caffeine consumption, you may experience insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, nausea, irregular heartbeat, anxiety and headaches.

SEX: I saved this for last because I could not find as much evidence to suggest that sex in excess undermines health, apart from the occasional muscle strain and possibly sex addiction.

All-in-all, sex (with all safer-sex precautions taken including the use of condoms) is good for you with numerous health benefits. According to Newsweek, “regular exposure to a loving partner has extraordinary effects on health and well-being.”

According to a recent Fox News report, sex increases your libido, improves cardiovascular function, burns calories (a little more than four calories per minute) lowers anxiety and stress, boosts immunity (curtailing colds and flu) and helps you sleep better.

Sex has also been shown to limit headaches, especially migraines, as orgasms act as an analgesic. Sex can promote regular menstrual cycles in women and increase estrogen levels, which can lead to glowing healthier skin.

Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life, Australian researchers reported in the British Journal of Urology International.

Remember, however, the penis is a muscle and requires rest and recovery. Too much sex in men can lead to damage of the erectile tissue.

There you have it, some basic guidelines on just how much to add to your health regime without over consuming. Consume responsibly and enjoy.

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