Between foods that are making us fat, the behaviors that are slowly killing us, the outbreaks and recalls and epidemics we can't escape, it can sometimes feel like health news is just out to tell us what not to do.
Which is why it's easy to understand where LiveScience was coming from with their list of the top 10 studies that ruin your fun.
But we couldn't help but want to stand up for health. Health news isn't all gloom and doom! In the spirit of safeguarding your fun, here are a few of the best scientific findings about health we've come across. Add yours in the comments below!
Chocolate Is Good For You
Sweet news! Study after study has added evidence to the pile of research showing that treating yourself to a little bit of (dark) chocolate regularly can do your body a host of good. The most <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/chocolate-eating-lower-bmi-body-mass-index_n_1379368.html">recent research linked a few nibbles to a lower BMI</a> and other studies have found <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/chocolate-health-benefits_n_1383372.html">chocolate may reduce stroke, heart attack and diabetes risk</a>. Just keep in mind it's still high in calories and can pack unwanted fat and sugar. Look for chocolate with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/chocolate-health_b_1262780.html#s684753&title=Con_Chocolate_Is">70 percent or higher cacao</a> for the biggest health punch, EatingWell reported.
Alcohol Is, Too
While red wine has earned a particularly healthful reputation thanks to its <a href="http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/95/2/326.abstract">heart-health claims</a>, turns out <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/alcohol-quality-of-life-moderate-consumption_n_1620104.html">alcohol in any form can improve quality of life</a> and lower the risk of certain diseases, including <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/alcohol-rheumatoid-arthritis-risk-moderate-_n_1662507.html">rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer</a>. The key, of course, is moderation, which is classified as <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alcohol/SC00024">two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one for women</a>, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cheers!
30 Minutes Of Exercise Is Better Than 60
For anyone who uses the age-old "I just don't have time" excuse for skipping the gym, a small Danish study published this summer was welcome news. The researchers found that moderately overweight men who regularly exercised in 30-minute intervals over a period of three months <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/30-minute-workout-better-_n_1828773.html">lost about eight pounds</a>, whereas men who exercised for an hour at a time lost only six. And even <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/exercise-pledge_b_1923795.html">just <em>20 minutes</em></a> is still "enough to matter" writes David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale Prevention Resarch Center and HuffPost blogger.
You Should Nap At Work
Insomnia leads to workplace accidents and mistakes that are costing <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/insomnia-workplace-errors-costs_n_1933704.html">more than $31 billion each year</a>, according to recent research. Skimping on sleep hurts memory and learning and can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/sleep-deprivation-work-slower-productivity-speed_n_1720700.html">turn even the most efficient employees sluggish</a>. The good news is that productivity can <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/sleep-deprivation-productivity-harvard_n_1334877.html">jump by as much as 20 percent</a> with just a little more value placed on sleep. One of the ways to help employees do so is promoting a workplace culture that encourages <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/how-to-nap-at-work_n_1232352.html">midday siestas</a> (we have two nap rooms here at HuffPost headquarters). It doesn't have to be a long nap -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/26/how-to-nap-at-work_n_1232352.html#s640089&title=How_Long_Should">fewer than 30 minutes will do the trick</a> -- and will get you through the rest of the day better than that fourth cup of coffee.
Working Out Makes You Smarter
Many of us already exercise, whether it's to reach or maintain a healthy weight, to relieve stress or to reduce our risk of chronic diseases and health problems like heart disease, diabetes or obesity. But more and more research confirms the idea that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/exercise-mental-benefits-_n_1923739.html">working out also benefits your brain</a>. A little physical fitness can sharpen thinking, help with problem solving and delay memory loss as we age.
Take Those Vacation Days
In today's constantly on-call work environments, taking a vacation can seem more like a splurge than simply some well-deserved, scheduled time off. But we shouldn't see things that way. <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/30/health/la-he-brain-on-vacation-20110530">"A vacation is not a luxury,"</a> Jens Pruessner, an associate professor of psychology, psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University, told the LA Times. "It's an investment in your health." Not only will it help you sleep and protect your heart, but the temporary break from daily stressors can actually <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linden-schaffer/vacation-health_b_1631688.html">help you make smarter choices</a> upon returning to the office, and what boss doesn't want that?
A Little Stress Is Good For You
Everyone's got something putting them on edge and most of us know all too well the reasons too much stress is bad for us. But when there's no avoiding a tight deadline, it's at least a little comforting to know that in manageable levels, stress is essentially what's propelling you to the best of your abilities. <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171192704005250.html">Stress increases blood flow</a> "to help the brain, muscles and limbs meet a challenge, similar to the effects of aerobic exercise," the Wall Street Journal reported, giving you that "pumped up" feeling when you're busy kicking butt and taking names.
Eat More To Weigh Less
Yes, you need to cut calories (either by consuming fewer or burning them off with exercise or both) to drop pounds, but you don't have to deprive yourself to reach your happy weight. In fact, you can eat <em>more</em> of the right foods and still slim down. Foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in fiber, which <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-dean-ornish/all-calories-are-not-the_b_172459.html">fills you up faster and keeps you feeling full for longer</a> than the same number of calories of, say, French fries, explains HuffPost Medical Editor Dr. Dean Ornish, since fat is higher in calories than protein or carbs. Unsure where to start? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/weight-loss-tips_b_1838082.html">These six foods can help promote weight loss</a>.
Cuddling, Kissing, Love, Marriage -- Whatever It Is You're Doing, Keep Doing It
Whether you’re looking for love, keeping things casual or happily coupled, there are benefits of intimacy for just about everyone from the dating end of the spectrum to the couple who has been married for decades. Kissing and cuddling can <a href="http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/sex-and-love/5-health-reasons-make-time-cuddling">reduce stress</a>, and puckering up can also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/national-kissing-day-health-benefits_n_1654548.html">burn calories and help keep teeth bacteria-free</a>. Falling in love can fight depression and even <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/07/AR2011020703564.html">speed up physical healing</a>, according to the Washington Post and married people have <a href="http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20466753,00.html">lower rates of heart disease and diabetes</a> than their unattached peers, Health.com reported.
Laughter Really Is Medicine
Okay, so your doctor's not about to prescribe laughter, but bear with us: A good belly laugh <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16652129">burns calories</a>, increases blood flow and heart rate in a way that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/06/laughter-yoga-benefits_n_1478960.html">could reduce heart attack risk</a> and may <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/5/1651.full">lower blood sugar levels</a>. And the people who laugh the most? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/optimism-longer-life-longevity-genes-personality_n_1553967.html">They live the longest</a>.
Related on HuffPost: