We all have at least one guilty pleasure that we'd rather not admit to anyone because we're a little embarrassed. We know it's not really good for us, but we do it anyway because it just makes us feel better when we're stressed, sad or trying to quell a craving. But some guilty pleasures are actually better for you than you might think. Here are five habits you don't have to consider breaking.
Daily chocolate fix
There's something about chocolate that just makes us want to eat it every single day. So we do. And while it seems unhealthy, research has consistently shown that dark chocolate with high cocoa content is not only full of free-radical fighting, antiaging antioxidants but is a natural antidepressant that can help curb your sugar cravings. One small portion a day is definitely doable.
If you feel guilty about splurging on massages when you've had a rough day, don't. It's been shown that people who get touched regularly are healthier than those who don't and often experience less pain, depression, anxiety and anger. You don't even have to break the bank on professional massages—just having your partner make a valiant effort is enough to reap the benefits.
Having a glass of wine at the end of a long day is a ritual for many women, and it's one that may be good for us—as long as we do it in moderation. Drinking a glass of wine per day (up to two glasses for men) can benefit your heart. Some studies suggest that red wine may have more heart-protective benefits than other alcohol because it's rich in antioxidants and resveratrol, which helps reduce the chances of blood clots and plaque buildup in the arteries. Other studies indicate that white wine, beer and other alcohol may offer some of the same protective benefits. Just make sure you drink moderately, because too much alcohol can cause many health problems. And be sure to leave room in your daily calorie count for those drinks.
You may think you're cheating when you choose a full-fat salad dressing instead of a fat-free variety at lunch, but you're actually doing your body a favor. Full-fat versions of foods taste better and are more satisfying and can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke if you eat the right amounts of the right kinds. Each day, aim for fats to make up 30 percent of your daily calorie intake. At least 10 percent of these fats should be from the monounsaturated types found in vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.
You might feel super guilty after a day at the mall, but shopping can be a great mood booster if you're not splurging on things you can't afford. Research has proven that shopping can provide lasting positive impacts on mood, so don't feel bad about buying yourself something small every now and then—or saving up for something big.