February 12: Weekly Health Roundup

Chocolate and Health – Where Do We Stand?

Chocolate is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so considering it a health-food might seem like it’s too good to be true. Science has some good news for you. Research has backed claims that chocolate lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease, helps to control blood sugar and reduces stress (just to name a few). So go grab a square or two of chocolate, your health depends on it, via ABC News

People Who Exercise May Have Bigger Brains

A recent study found that “people who weren’t as physically active in midlife had smaller brains than their peers 20 years later”. The strength of your heart – defined by how long one could run on a treadmill before their heart rate hit a certain threshold – determines a lot about brain size in late life. If anything could inspire you to get off the couch, even in the dead of winter, we think this is it, via TIME

6-Year Old Happy Meal Remains Unspoiled

A woman from Alaska posted a picture of a Happy Meal she purchased in 2010 and let’s just say the image was startling. On Facebook, Jennifer Lovdahl wrote it “has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all. It smells only of cardboard.” If you’ve ever questioned how healthy Happy Meals are, we think you’re wondering days are over, via Star Pulse

You Sigh Every Five Minutes – Here’s Why

Humans sigh a lot – we sigh when we’re stressed, when we feel love, when we meditate and more. Turns out, though, our “brains signal us to sigh every five minutes, often without us realizing it”. This is completely normal and helps preserve the health and function of our lungs yet the origin of this unconscious breathing was a mystery – until now and the discovery is something scientists are hoping to use to uncover how the “brain is working to produce [even] more complex behaviors, via Huffpost Science

Why American’s Don’t Live as Long as Europeans

Turns out Americans don’t live as long as our European counterparts and drugs, guns and car accidents are to blame. Europeans live 2.2 years longer, on average, the largest gaps are for those between the ages of 25 and 65. Experts say that it isn’t impossible for us to achieve what other countries have but some serious changes must occur for things to improve, via CNN Health

Time to Weigh In

Does the news about chocolate make your afternoon indulgence a little better? It sure does for us! Would you follow up that chocolate with a gym session after reading about how brain size is affected by cardiovascular health? If you’re concerned about your health, what are your thoughts on the 6-year old Happy Meal? Was it a surprise or no? Let us know in the comment section below!