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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Next time you visit the grocery store in search of healthy foods to nourish your body, don’t forget to grab some dark chocolate. No, this isn’t a joke!

Raw chocolate has many amazing nutrients that most of us had no idea that our sweet tooth led to creating an abundance of the following healthy attributes:

  1. It can promote cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol and lowering plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries along with lower risk of heart disease. This is reflected by the benefits of dark chocolate being so heart-healthy and inflammation fighting perks.
  2. It may fight diabetes. According to a 2005 Italian study, they found regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity and therefore; reducing the risk for diabetes.
  3. It can reduce blood pressure and enhance circulation by aiding in the strength of dilation and health of blood vessels.
  4. It supports digestion while the cacao moves the production of digestive enzymes in the body.
  5. It can balance the free radicals from sun exposure, or pollution by protecting the body through the high level of antioxidants in cacao.
  6. It enhances mental and physical well-being by improving mood, lowering stress and reducing depression.
  7. It reduces stroke risk.

So, how does chocolate boost our brain?

  1. It can make you smarter- According to a British study, the cocoa’s flavanols increase the brain’s blood flow, which seems to make people feel alert and more awake and therefore; perform more efficient on counting tasks and improve thinking skills. “From laboratory studies, we know that flavanols smooth the way for brain cell connections and survival, and protect brain cells from toxins or the negative effects of inflammation,” says Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso, a neuroscientist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
  2. It improves vision due to the improvement in the blood flow caused by the benefit of chocolate, may increase blood flow to the retina and therefore; improving vision.
  3. It can quiet a cough, due to the theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate that seems to lower activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that provokes hard to shake off coughing.
  4. It can prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage, due to the flavanols in chocolate.

 

Of course, keep in mind chocolate is high in calories, so according to news out of England, the middle aged to older adults can eat up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate per day to aid in lowering heart disease rates than those who turn down chocolate. Really, who turns down chocolate?  The 3.5 ounces are actually more than 2 standard Hershey bars…..  According to the European Food Safety Authority, it is suggested that 200 mg of cocoa flavonoids per day is a good target for the general population. The higher the cocoa content of the bar, the more health benefits it will provide, usually bars with 70% cocoa or more.

In summary, knowing the many health benefits that chocolate offers to aid in our goal of being healthier, it’s a win-win. But as I always say, all in moderation. As always, consult your health professional before starting any diet to ensure you are on the right track.

I hope this article finds you in good health.

 

Fight Heart Disease With These Heart Healthy Foods & Tips

Every year, over 500,000 people in America die from heart disease and while exercise and portion control can help you stay healthy, nothing has been shown to reduce heart disease more than a healthy diet. So how can we protect ourselves to achieve longevity?
This infographic is loaded with heart healthy options, highlighting the individual benefits of each fruit, vegetable, grain and nut listed. If you don’t think enjoying a heart healthy meal can be pleasurable -just imagine snacking on a grass-fed steak with sauteed red peppers, spinach brown rice risotto, sweet potato with an orange-cinnamon glaze and a dessert of dark chocolate covered blueberries dusted with crushed almonds.

Picture your way to a healthy heart with these great tips.

Best Multivitamin for Women

 

  • It’s believed that around 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of the most important vitamins and minerals, and for many women the risk only increases with age. Another scary finding? Estimates show about 75 percent of women would likely develop nutrient deficiencies if supplemental multivitamins didn’t exist.
  • The best vitamins for women include vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B vitamins. In addition to the best vitamins for women, other nutrients that are important include iron, iodine, magnesium, omega-3 fish oil and calcium.
  • Risk factors that make a women more likely to have a vitamin or mineral deficiency include: eating a highly processed diet, being vegetarian or vegan, being underweight or consuming too little calories in general, being of reproductive age, being over the age of 65, and having a low socioeconomic status, a lack of education and living in poverty.
  • Risk factors for not getting enough of the best vitamins for women include being vegetarian or vegan, pregnant or over the age of 55.
  • Make sure to consume as many of the best vitamins for women as possible in order to be the healthiest you can be and prevent nutritional deficiencies.

 

 

The Best Vitamins for Women

5 Types of Yoga and their benefits

On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. These postures are performed to make the spine supple and healthy and to promote blood flow to all the organs, glands, and tissues, keeping all the bodily systems healthy.

On the mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind. However, experts are quick to point out that yoga is not a religion, but a way of living with health and peace of mind as its aims. Yoga has been used to alleviate problems associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, migraine headaches, asthma, shallow breathing, backaches, constipation, diabetes, menopause, multiple sclerosis, varicose veins, and many chronic illnesses.
It also has been studied and approved for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. On the other hand, some researchers are now questioning claims that yoga is beneficial for such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome.
As of late 2002, yoga is increasingly recommended for dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and other disorders in premenopausal women, in Europe as well as in the United States. Yoga can also provide the same benefits as any well-designed exercise program, increasing general health and stamina, reducing stress, and improving those conditions brought about by sedentary lifestyles.
Classical yoga is separated into eight limbs, each a part of the complete system for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Four of the limbs deal with mental and physical exercises designed to bring the mind in tune with the body. The other four deal with different stages of meditation.
Yoga can be performed by those of any age and condition, although not all poses should be attempted by everyone. Yoga is also a very accessible form of exercise; all that is needed is a flat floor surface large enough to stretch out on, a mat or towel, and enough overhead space to fully raise the arms.
It is a good activity for those who cannot go to gyms, who do not like other forms of exercise, or have very busy schedules. Yoga should be done on an empty stomach, and teachers recommend waiting three or more hours after meals. Loose and comfortable clothing should be worn.

 

 

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Why is Niacin-Vitamin B3 important and what you should watch for?

Niacin is an important vitamin for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and metabolism- especially balancing blood cholesterol levels. In addition niacin helps with brain function, healthy skin formation and maintenance and even preventing or treating diabetes. (1)

However, according to recent studies, there are certain known niacin side effects that can occur when taking niacin-containing medications or supplements in high doses. The common niacin side effects are headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure and more. Continue reading for a complete list of possible side effects, benefits, sources and signs of deficiency.

If you’re eating foods rich in niacin, the chances that you’ll experience side effects are very slim. However it’s possible to experience niacin side effects when taking supplements, especially if you have high doses. The following niacin side effects seem to occur most often in people who are taking high dose supplements and who have pre-known medical conditions:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin reactions, rashes
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic reactions: Niacin supplements can cause allergies because some contain histamines, chemicals substances that can trigger allergic symptoms to be released
  • Heart problems: High doses of niacin may increase the risk of irregular heartbeats
  • Diabetes: Niacin and niacinamide might increase blood sugar. People with diabetes who take niacin or niacinamide should check their blood sugar carefully.
  • Worsened gallbladder or liver disease symptoms
  • Aggravated gout symptoms.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Problems after surgery controlling blood sugar levels