Chocolate: More Benefits Discovered
It controls blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, and more
Chocolate is good for the heart in more ways than one: Not only is it a symbol of love, but it also helps to control blood pressure and reduce unhealthy clotting and plaque. It’s rich in antioxidants and packs a variety of minerals and natural mood-boosting ingredients—and it does even more.
Among diabetics, chocolate helps to reduce cholesterol levels, according to a British study published in Diabetic Medicine. Another study, published in Nutrition Journal, found that the “food of the gods” can ease symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Beneficial chocolate is naturally high in antioxidants, but these can be lost in the manufacturing process. To reap health benefits, look for good quality dark chocolate with high cocoa content, or raw chocolate or cocoa powder. In studies, approximately 1.5 ounces (45 g) of chocolate per day has enhanced health.
Honey: Nature’s Cough Remedy
For sore throats, honey soothes and fights bacteria more effectively than common pharmaceutical cough syrups, according to research at Penn State College of Medicine. In two studies, researchers found that honey was better than conventional cough syrup in suppressing nighttime coughs among children ages 1 through 18 years.
For children (12 months or older) and adults, honey can also help to ward off infection, as it contains natural antibacterial ingredients and antioxidants. Take a teaspoon or two and use honey to sweeten hot or cold beverages.
Fish Oil Lowers Stress and Body Fat
Supplementing with 4 g of fish oil daily for six weeks can reduce body fat and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study of 44 men and women. During the study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants did not change their diets or exercise habits.
Ginger Reduces Muscle Pain
Ginger reduces lingering pain after exercise, according to a study published in Phytotherapy Research. Compared to placebo, 2 g of ginger taken 24 hours after a workout reduced pain by 13 percent the following day. Other studies have found that ginger reduces arthritis pain and motion sickness.
Enter to Win
Met-Rx Warrior Workout Video Contest
MET-Rx, the number-one selling protein bar in America, has partnered with Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the hit series on STARZ, in a Warrior Workout Video Contest. To enter, create a video that portrays your “inner warrior” for a chance to win a walk-on role on a STARZ Original Series.
How to enter:
1. Go to the MET-Rx Facebook page www.facebook.com/officialMetrx.
2. Upload a one-minute video depicting your “inner warrior” workout, and then share it with family and friends.
There is no cost to participate. Contest ends March 15, 2011.
Tai Chi Relieves Arthritis
The ancient practice of tai chi benefits people with all types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, according to a study of 354 people from North Carolina and New Jersey.
Results of the research project, presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta, showed that people who attended tai chi classes twice weekly for eight weeks experienced less pain, stiffness and fatigue, improved balance or reach, and a greater sense of well-being.
The Best Weight-Maintenance Diet
Many people can lose weight by following a strict diet over a short period of time, but few can keep the weight off. However, a European study, the largest to date to compare different types of diets, has found the best way to prevent weight regain: Eat lots of lean protein and stick to low-glycemic carbohydrates—those that are slowly digested and converted to blood sugar. High-glycemic carbohydrates are primarily refined and high in starch and/or sugar, and convert rapidly to blood sugar.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested various diets on nearly 800 adults who had lost weight with a restrictive, eight-week regimen. After that, lean protein (lean meat, low-fat dairy products and beans) and unrefined carbohydrates (whole, rather than refined grains and non-starchy vegetables and fruits) enabled people to maintain weight loss without going hungry. Those eating high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets regained the most weight.
Just Do It?
It’s easy to think of good reasons to exercise: feel and look better, and protect yourself against heart disease, diabetes and even colds and flu. But rational thinking probably isn’t enough to get you moving, according to a study of 61 college students published in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.
In contrast, researchers found that thinking of practical ways to be more physically active led students to get more exercise and become more fit. For example, rather than thinking about the fact that exercise can help you lose weight, think of a good place to take a walk and schedule a time to do it, alone or with a friend.