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Stendhal Disorder


By: Gene Carla Chua


StendhalHave you ever seen something so beautiful, you thought you might faint or suddenly fall to the ground? Have you encountered such beauty, that your heart began to palpitate and you started to hallucinate? Most people answer no or even think that such question is very bizarre, but there are actual people who have experienced these sensations when presented with beautiful pieces of art, or confronted with the spectacular beauty of the natural world. These are the individuals who have Stendhal Disorder – also called Florence Syndrome, or Hyperkulturemia.

Stendhal Disorder is a psychosomatic illness. A psychosomatic illness means that this illness involves or relates to both mind and body. This causes fast heartbeat, extreme dizziness, and confusion. In worst cases, it may even cause hallucinations when the affected individual is exposed to art. It worsens when the person is exposed to particularly beautiful works of art, large amount of art or even beautiful natural sceneries.

It has been long debated by psychiatrists if this disorder even exists. We can’t actually blame them because this illness sounds fairly profound to many. They have not even found what causes this reaction within the human brain or anywhere in the body. Surely, this disorder has to be further studied and tested. There has been proof though, that it is really a serious disorder. After touring inside the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, Italy some tourists have experienced the symptoms of Stendhal Disorder. Some of the affected tourists even needed serious medical attention and treatment in a nearby hospital. The employees at Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to dealing with tourists suffering from dizzy spells and disorientation after admiring the statue of David, the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery and other treasures of the Tuscan city.

This illness is named after the renowned nineteenth century French author more commonly known as Stendhal. Stendhal is a pseudonym for his real name, Henri- Marie Beyle. It was named after him since he described his experience with the phenomenon during his visit to Florence in 1817 in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio. Although there have been a lot of descriptions of people becoming dizzy, fainting, and getting confused while admiring and taking pictures of Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi, dating from the nineteenth century onwards – surprisingly it was only named in 1979. It was named when an Italian psychiatrist named Graziella Magherini described the phenomenon. She has observed and described more than a hundred of similar cases among the many tourists and visitors in Florence, Italy.

Since not a lot of information about this illness is known to us, researchers are currently using hi- tech instruments to record and measure the reactions of the visitors as they survey through the treasures exhibited in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.

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The Superpowers of Candy


By: Gene Carla Chua


CandyYes, candy has superpowers. It can’t make you fly, it won’t make you invisible, but it can make you live longer. A study in Harvard School of Public Health revealed that people who consumed candy lives longer than people who don’t. Modest candy consumption (one to three times a month) provides that most benefits, but even to those who has a daily habit (but not overindulgent) proved to live longer. Who knew a little sweet treat once in a while can give you a few extra years?

It’s not just that! A little bit of sugar can restore your willpower. Studies show that people who consume sugar, focus harder, and persevere longer on a difficult task. A little bit of candy while doing a big project, a really hard math homework, or just some chores can go a long way. Sugar is sucrose that becomes glucose when we ingest it. This glucose is where our energy comes from. Glucose is also vital in the formation of elastin and collagen, which are two of our skin’s main components. Without sugar/ glucose, our skin ages. In fact, without sugar, our body ages so much faster.

Chewing gum can also improve mental health. Chewing gum of any kind, can improve your mood, help reduce stress, increase your mental focus, and even lessen pain. This is because it increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone. It plays an important part in regulation of learning, mood, sleep, and vasoconstriction or the constriction of blood vessels. Serotonin is found in antidepressant medication. Chewing gum can also help in losing weight. When you crave for a dessert, chew a stick of gum instead. Since gum contains very little calories per serving, which means it will not ruin your diet. The act of chewing the gum and the flavor can also help you fight your cravings for other food that contains more calories.

Now let’s get started on chocolate. Chocolate is the most famous sweet-tasting delicacy in the world, and it also has a lot of health benefits. Chocolate has been used to treat depression, bronchitis, and insect bites for centuries, in civilizations from Mexico to Europe. Chocolate is also famous for being an effective aphrodisiac. Dark chocolate is also proven to improve blood flow, blood vessel function, and it may lower blood pressure. This is because dark chocolate contains more cacao and, less milk, and sugar. Cacao contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as well as potassium, sodium, and fluorine.

See! Candy has a lot of health benefits. So the next time you give yourself a little treat, don’t be too guilty, because you probably deserve it. Everyone thinks everything that tastes good is not good for your health. Candy in large amounts is really not good, but just in the right serving, you will see, it does have superpowers. This does not mean that you can abuse it though. Too much of one thing is always a bad thing.

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Love your Heart

By: Gynn Flores


HeartIt is alarming to note that more and more people suffering from heart ailments are from the below 50 age bracket. In the good old days, it was usually 60 years old and above. This may be because of the food we eat, stressful lifestyle or simply the lack of discipline. It is our heart that keeps us going. Can you imagine when your heart suddenly stops beating? It simply means the end of our existence. Therefore love your heart. Here’s how:

I.    Indulge in heart saving foods like the following:

•    Fresh herbs to replace salt, sugar and Trans fats.  Your food remains flavorful without the guilt. Examples would be rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme that contain anti-oxidants.
•    Black beans contain foliate, anti-oxidants, magnesium and fiber that control high cholesterol and high sugar levels. Make soup or a stew with it.
•    A glass of red wine for women and two for men a day will do well for your heart. Red wine contains rasveratrol and catechins that are good antioxidants that can protect your artery walls. Alcohol itself boosts the formation of good cholesterol (HDL). However, be cautious – too much alcohol can harm your heart.
•    Salmon is rich in omega-3s EPA and DHA.  This lowers the risk of rhythm disorders and reduces blood pressure. It also lowers blood triglycerides and reduces inflammation. Two servings a week is recommended and tuna is a suitable replacement.
•    Extra virgin olive oil contains heart healthy antioxidants called polyphenols that protects your blood vessels and lowers cholesterol. Use this for your salads and cooked vegetables.
•    A handful of walnuts or almonds a day can lower your cholesterol level and reduce inflammation in the arteries of your heart. Walnuts contain monounsaturated fats, omega-3s and fiber. Munch on this instead of chips and sugar-rich snacks. Almonds reduce the risk of diabetes.
•    Green soybeans are rich in soy protein which can lower blood triglyceride levels. Make this an appetizer like in Japanese restaurants.
•    Tofu is rich in soy protein. Make this a replacement for red meat which is bombarded with artery-clogging fats.
•    Have sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes as the former is fiber-filled, have lots of vitamin A and lycopene and do not cause quick spike on your blood sugar.
•    Oranges contain the cholesterol-fighting fiber called pectin and potassium which helps control blood pressure. Have some slices of these or make it your refreshing juice.
•    Carrots are top cholesterol fighting food and help control blood sugar level because of their ample amount of soluble fibers. Include some chopped carrots on your spaghetti sauce or salads.
•    Lower your LDL level which is the bad cholesterol by having some oatmeal in any form. Make it your breakfast in a bowl with some slices of fruit or make a cookie out of it.
•    Low fat yogurt can help control high blood pressure. It is rich in calcium and potassium.
•    Coffee and tea can be helpful in warding off type 2 diabetes. Although they are not advisable for those who already have the condition because they can cause complications.

II.    Indulge in regular exercise ideally 3 to 5 times a week.

Choose from the following:
•    Walking
•    Swimming
•    Any sports activity
•    Aerobic exercises
•    Hit the gym

III.    Avoid having a very stressful lifestyle

It may be easier said than done, but if possible, do not over spend. There is no point in living an expensive lifestyle if you have to work almost most of your waking hours. A simple but healthy lifestyle is ideal.

Will you start loving your heart now?

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