By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab
On a Saturday evening out in the city, your night is either going to end with pizza or intercourse, and if you’re lucky: both. While you often make the decision based on what’s most readily available, which one is scientifically proven to be better for your body and mind? Let’s explore:
For the purpose of this article, we are going to define sex as the old school “P” and “V” action. While this is not the only type, this is where most of the research has been focused. A 2010 article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that a person’s level of satisfaction with their mental health was positively correlated to the rate they were having sex. Surprisingly, a greater incidence of masturbation was related to a higher level of depression and a lower level of individual happiness (i.e. real woman>porn).
In regards to your overall physical condition, sex helps strengthen a woman’s pelvic floor muscles and can help prevent incontinence later in life. For men, there may be a link to the amount of times a man ejaculates and a lower risk of prostate cancer, however there is not enough research to completely support this claim. For both men and women, sexual intercourse is linked to lower systolic blood pressure.
While kissing strangers might get you sick, sleeping with them might help boost your immune system. A 2004 study by Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan found that out of a pool of 112 college students, the ones that had sex one or two times per week had a higher level of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. The higher the level of IgA, the stronger your immune system, and the more likely you will be to fight off colds and viruses. Sex has also been linked to better sleep, less stress, and as a method to relieve pain.
Before you download Tinder, Grindr, or become more active on JDate, there are risks to engaging in sexually activities. One of the most serious is sexually transmitted infections (see HPV vs. Justin Bieber) along with pregnancy, and regret. Yet, if you’re in a healthy relationship and practicing safe sex, you could be love making your way to better health.
Now, let’s talk about the glorious gift that cows gave to humans: cheese.
Cheese not only tastes like miracles and sunshine, it’s also filled with essential nutrients including calcium. There’s more calcium in the body than any other mineral. It’s necessary for the function of your blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and hormones and plays a vital role in the structure and function of your bones. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults, both male and female, 19-50 years old, is 1,000 mg. A small amount, such as a 1.5 oz. piece of cheddar cheese provides 307 mg, which equates to 31% of the Daily Value.
Cheese is also a high source of protein which helps build bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood and plays a role in creating enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. The RDA for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. One ounce of part-skim mozzarella cheese provides 8 grams of protein and one cup of low-fat (2%) cottage cheese provides 26 grams of protein.
As if that wasn’t enough to stuff your face with a block of cream cheese right now, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues found that a fatty acid, called trans-palmitoleic acid, may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Of course, as with sex, there are drawbacks. The second highest source of saturated fat and cholesterol in the United States is dairy products. Luckily, there’s a solution: low-fat cheese! Not the same as the real deal, but sometimes you have to make modifications (i.e. condoms) in order to make healthier choices.
Well folks, now that you have the facts, this is a decision that you’re going to have to make as a mature adult (on a Saturday night after eight Fireball shots). The real difficult question is: if you had to give up one for the rest of your life, which would it be?