Why Eating Chocolate is Beneficial to Your Health

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Don’t let the title of this post fool you. Eating chocolate IS beneficial to your health, but only in the form of dark chocolate (sorry milk chocolate lovers). Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants, which protect the body from aging and free radicals that can be harmful to your heart. It has been proved that a small bar of dark chocolate can actually keep your cardiovascular system running smoothly by lowering your blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol. Studies have shown that dark chocolate can reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the bad form of cholesterol, by up to 10 percent!

Dark chocolate also has other benefits besides  helping to protect you from heart problems. For example, it contains serotonin which acts like an anti-depressant and stimulates endorphin production, which releases hormones that make you feel happy.

Now with this being said, it is important to remember that just because dark chocolate contains health benefits, it does not mean you should consume it in mass amounts. Chocolate in general is high in fat, so it is important to watch your intake. Dark chocolate contains a more bitter taste then milk chocolate, but if you choose  to switch over, I can almost assure you that your taste buds will adjust (mine did!). So, find a brand you like and eat it for dessert instead of that big bowl of ice cream. You can even add a few nuts to boost flavor and add some protein!

Source:

http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongnutrition/p/chocolate.htm

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Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/25128194@N02/4216679799/’>Janet Hudson</a> via <a href=”http://stockpholio.com/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.com</a>

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An Apple a Day Keeps The Doctor Away

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Yep, your mom really wasn’t lying when she told you that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Although apples are not the only fruit to contain health benefits, they seem to contain a larger combination of the health benefits. So if your looking for a fruit loaded with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, grab an apple.

First, apples contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C not only boosts your immune system, but also promotes healthy gums which will ultimately help  reduce your visits to the dentist. Furthermore, the juices inside the apple have properties that can kill up to 80% of bacteria, preventing tooth decay. Another way to avoid the dentist!

Additionally, apples are rich in flavonoids, or highly beneficial anti-oxidant compounds. Flavonoids can help prevent heart diseases such as coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. It has also been suggested that they may delay/prevent the onset of other diseases like cancer as well. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that apples, specifically red apples, can add  powerful antioxidant benefits to one’s diet. However, there is a catch. In order to receive the full health benefits from the apple, you must consume the skins. Apple skins are the most antioxidant rich part of the fruit. This study, which was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, even brought to light the possibility of  developing a way to extract these antioxidant compounds to create and sell even more anti-oxidant rich “super apples.” Interesting thought.

Another study at the University of Nottingham concluded that people who ate five or more apples per week had lower respiratory problems, including asthma. So overall, people who ate apples had healthier lungs.

So now the next time you hear someone say “an apple a day keeps the doctor a way” you will know that it is not just a childhood phrase, it’s the truth!

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Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/10687935@N04/8725155913/’>Robert S. Donovan</a> via <a href=”http://stockpholio.com/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.com</a>

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal Of The Day

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If you want to start your day off right don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast in the morning boosts our metabolisms and provides us with the most energy to help us get through the day. Adults and children who don’t skip breakfast will not only feel more awake and energized, but will actually perform better in both school and the workplace. You may think that skipping breakfast will allow you ten more minutes of sleep in the morning, but the reality is that you will just end up feeling even more tired later because your body has no fuel to run off of.

Not only is it important to eat breakfast in the morning in general, but it is important to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and not just a poptart as you run out the door. A meal with both fiber and protein will fill you up and keep you satisfied until lunch. An example of a balanced breakfast may be a bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal with low fat milk and a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter (for some protein). You can even add fruit to your cereal to boost flavor and add natural sugars. Kashi has some great cereals full of fiber, protein and whole grains that I highly recommend, one of my favorite’s being Honey Sunshine cereal pillows which contains 6 grams of fiber, 20 grams of whole grains and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives.

Comment and share healthy breakfast suggestions!

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Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/42764227@N07/5412073662/’>Ashley Coombs</a> via <a href=”http://stockpholio.com/&#8221; target=”_blank”>StockPholio.com</a>