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How does music affect your eating habits?
Believe it or not, our eating habits are influenced by what music is playing and other forces that we may not be consciously aware of.
When mealtime rolls around and we’re considering what we’ll have to eat, the last thing we think about is what’s on our iPod, and what volume it's playing at. Maybe we should. Do you think you eat healthier when soft or loud music is playing? Researchers at the University of South Florida, Tampa, ran several experiments to find out. Their study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. In it they wrote, “[T]his is the first research to examine the effects of ambient music volume on choices between healthy and unhealthy foods."
If you’re a fan of all things rock’n roll like I am (also ‘90s hip-hop), you’ll probably say loud music has no effect on what you’re eating. You’d be dead wrong. Over several experiments, USF researchers came to understand that soft music influences people to make healthier choices, while loud music causes them to choose less healthful options.
Restaurants, cafes, and eateries are more and more using ambient music to influence consumers in particular ways. Yet, customers usually sail through these environments completely unaware. There’s a high level of variation, however, depending on where you visit. Some places purposely create a soft ambiance and others, a loud, noisy atmosphere.
To find out how background music affected food choice, visitors to one café in Stockholm, Sweden, over the course of two days, encountered many different kinds of music, played on a loop. Volume levels also varied from 55 to 70 decibels. Specific items were selected for the menu and researchers tallied what people had while a certain genre was playing, at a certain volume. These included healthy choices such as salad, neutral choices like coffee or tea, and unhealthy ones, such as cakes and chocolates.
When quieter music played, people were 10% more likely to select healthy choices. When louder music was on, they were more likely to make less healthful ones. In the second study, researchers carried out the same experiment in a supermarket. The played several different types of music, either at high or low volume and recorded customer purchases in each phase. They got the same results as the previous study.
In a third experiment, they tested quiet, loud, and no music at all in a room, and each type’s influence on the food choices of 71 college students. Classical music was selected and played at 55-70 decibels. After a few minutes, the students were offered a choice of fruit salad or chocolate cake. When exposed to loud music, students chose the chocolate cake 44% of the time. When no music was playing, around half chose the cake. When soft music played, however, students chose the cake only 14% of the time. More fascinating still, the genre didn’t matter. The same experiment was played with loud or quiet heavy metal music, and researchers got the same results. Thereby proving one of the coolest finds in the research: influence lies with volume, not genre.
Why this pattern emerges is interesting. USF scientists believe it all surrounds relaxation. When high volume music or noise fills a space, this excites a person, which persuades them to make more exciting and less healthy choices. By contrast, low volume music tends to make a person feel relaxed, which is more conducive to healthy ones. USF researchers hope this will allow people to be cognizant of their surroundings and make better choices, regardless of what’s on the sound system.
Music played at loud volume can influence us to make unhealthy food choices, regardless of genre. Image credit: Getty Images.
This isn’t the first study on how background music can affect diet. Previous research has shown that loud music played in a restaurant increases soda and alcohol consumption, and slow-tempo music leads to longer stays and higher beverage orders. Oxford University professor Charles Spence, Ph.D., has gone one step farther. Through his research, he's discovered that particular types of music can bring out certain flavors in the food. “You can play specific types of music to sonically season a dish,” he told Weight Watchers.
Certain genres tease out sweetness, bitterness, spiciness, and so on. “One cafe just opened up in Vietnam where they play only sweet music—think tinkling, high-pitched piano or wind chimes,” Spence said. “The idea is that they’ll be able to add a little less sugar to their cakes and drinks.” The takeaway of all this is that the human brain is noticing and therefore influenced by all types of things in our environment, whether we’re aware of it or not. The more we come to understand these hidden influences, the more we’ll be able to steer ourselves in the right direction.
Want to learn more about how music affects your brain? Click here:
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Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
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- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
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- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
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