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The 10 Most Counterintuitive Health and Beauty Tips

Sometimes the things everyone knows aren't exactly true, and that holds as well for health and beauty treatments as well as for anything else.

Chocolate is good for your skin

The National Institute of Health explains that chocolate’s reputation for causing breakouts is completely undeserved. “Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but there is little evidence that foods have much effect on acne in most people.” In fact, dark chocolate contains antioxidant flavonoids which reduce inflammation of the skin and help acne heal. Keep portion size in mind; chocolate has health benefits, but it is still a fattening food.

Too much shampoo damages your hair

Too much cleaning can be a bad thing; shampoo strips the natural oils from hair, leaving it dry, brittle, and easy to break. In fact, hair health experts recommend shampooing only once every two to five days depending on your hair texture and scalp. The products which are supposed to add shine to hair don’t do much good either; most of them are silicone-based and cause a dull layer of build-up in your hair over time. The best ways to keep hair healthy and shiny are to use a deep conditioning treatment, allow time between washes, and keep the use of hot styling tools to a minimum.

Too much brushing can weaken and damage your teeth

Many people believe they need to brush their teeth after each meal and snack, but the truth is that the American Dental Association advises patients to brush only twice a day. Frequent brushing can wear away tooth enamel, making the teeth susceptible to cavities and discoloration. Brushing within a short time of having acidic foods or drinks is also a bad idea. The physical brushing can actually move the acid more deeply into your teeth, leaving the enamel at greater risk of erosion.

Bacteria in your gut help reduce the smells of flatulence

Thousands of bacterial species are living in your digestive system as you read this, and they’re absolutely supposed to be there. They actually aid your body to digest food for the most effective absorption of nutrients. One of the early signs of an imbalance in the bacterial ranks is an increase in the unpleasant odors of flatulence. The imbalance, most often caused by antibiotics or an unhealthy diet, can be corrected with a probiotic supplement or fermented foods like yogurt with active cultures.

Drinking more water reduces water retention

Water retention and bloating are actually caused by your kidneys going into a panic mode when they detect a drop in your overall fluid levels and cause your body to keep all of its current water. To keep your kidneys happy and prevent bloat, drink water during the day. The eight glasses a day rule is not hard and fast; any increase in your fluid intake will help. In fact, it doesn't even have to be water. Flavored and caffeinated beverages also count towards your total daily fluid intake.

Keeping the right kinds of food around helps you make healthy eating choices

Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University discovered a strong link between visual cues and choices about eating while researching his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Each person makes over 200 decisions about eating every day, and a pleasing package or food appearance can influence a person to eat junk food or eat more than they intended. Dr. Wansink recommends that people buy healthy, convenient snacks and leave them in plain sight while hiding the treats away.

Gaining weight helps you burn fat

At least, gaining weight helps the body burn fat more effectively if the weight is lean muscle mass. Muscle is denser and weighs more than fat. More than a few women have found that after they start a weightlifting program, their weight on the scale goes up a little, even though they look more toned and their clothes are starting to fit more loosely.

Less repetitions with heavier weights increase strength

The common advice tells us that if women do weight training, they should do more reps with lighter weights than a man would use so they don’t bulk up. This is actually a very inefficient way of building strength, and women don’t develop bulky muscles without using steroids or having a terrible hormonal imbalance to start with. The small brightly-colored weights have their place for people who are just starting weight training or rehabilitating an injury, but real gains in strength come from pushing harder with heavier weights.

Unlike cardio exercise, frequent workouts are not good in weight training. Muscles should be allowed to rest between workouts so they can rebuild themselves; a good rule of thumb is to work the muscles every other day.

Adding walking to your training can improve your marathon time

Olympic runner Jeff Galloway popularized this method of training. His strategy is to walk one minute of each mile during his training runs. The rest before the body is worn out helps increase endurance and hasten recovery, which eventually shortens the marathon running time. Tim Deegan, a skeptic of Galloway’s method, tried the run-walk training and shortened his marathon time by 20 minutes.

Talking about your problems can make you unhappy

Dr. Guy Winch told Psychology Today that frequent complaining can cause someone to develop a learned helplessness which leads them to believe they can’t have any effect on their problems. “When we become convinced our actions will not have the impact we desire, we cease our efforts and become passive and helpless,” Dr. Winch explained.

On the other hand, a certain amount of venting can be helpful during times of stress. The key is to blow off the steam and be done with it, not complain continuously. Examining and being grateful for the good things in your life can also increase your happiness.

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