Treat Yourself To Some Chocolate And A Few Added Health Bonuses

The holidays are approaching, and I’m sure you’ve been a good boy or girl, so go ahead and treat yourself to some chocolate, without the guilt. That’s right, you don’t have to feel bad about treating yourself to a little chocolate this year, as long as it’s in moderation and the right kind of chocolate, you’ll actually be getting some health benefits too.

Chocolate may not be ideal for weight loss, but it can certainly improve some other aspects of your health. Treating yourself to a small amount of chocolate on a regular basis is a health message almost everyone can get behind, but keep in mind, not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate and even cocoa powder pack the most when it comes to health benefits, and with the holidays, it’s not going to be a problem for most of us to splurge on a hot mug of cocoa or a sweet treat at a holiday party.

What are the benefits of chocolate you ask? There are a few. a 2011 study done in Sweden, home of some of the worlds finest chocolate to boot, found that women who consumed more than 45 grams of chocolate per week were at a 20 percent lower risk of suffering a stroke to women who had 9 grams or fewer per week. The logic is simple, those who treat themselves to a regular dose of chocolate gain a variety of health benefits including lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL Cholesterol, and a lessened risk of suffering heart disease. Dark chocolate is the best for these benefits, it has inflammation-fighting properties which can reduce cardiovascular risks overall.

Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber which actually helps fill you up and results in eating less. Those who snack on a bite of dark chocolate regularly are probably doing themselves a favor by simply indulging on a bit of chocolate rather than reaching for 11 different things that don’t fill them up. The University of Copenhagen even found that snacking on a bite of chocolate reduced cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.

Got a cough? Skip the sugary lozenges and reach for chocolate instead. It contains theobromine which seems to calm the activity of the vagus nerve which is the part of the brain that actually triggers coughing fits.

One of the best benefits of chocolate, and one of the most obvious for those who snack on it regularly, is the fact that chocolate boosts your mood. Indulging your sweet tooth makes you happy, as does taking a moment to simply sit back and enjoy something in life. Those who regularly snack on chocolate often report feeling calmer and less stressed.

Sure, it’s still a sweet treat and should be eaten in moderation like anything else, but isn’t it great to know that a sweet treat that is so popular with so many people has so many wonderful benefits? For a more in-depth and scientific look at what’s in chocolate and how it can boost your health overall, head to this Huffington Post article.

 

Why Eating After 7 PM Can be Dangerous To Your Health

A new health study claims that people who eat after 7:00 p.m. are up to three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. The study of more than 700 people tracked eating habits and other environmental factors and weighed that data against the number of people who had a heart attack or stroke during the time of the study.

Researcher Dr. Ebru Ozpelit, presented her results at the the European Society of Cardiology Congress and said the increased health problems seems to be the result of the patients blood pressure.

According to researchers, most people’s blood pressure drops up to 10 percent when they are sleeping. But people who eat just before they go to sleep have steady blood pressure rates. That turns out to be a problem because that dropping blood pressure rate allows a person’s body to heal overnight. The steady blood pressure puts increased stress on the body, which can lead to an increased likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

People who have blood pressure that doesn’t dip during sleep are referred to as “non-dippers” and they are a large part of the global population. For example, experts estimate that as much as 40 percent of people with hypertension are also “non-dippers,” and that potentially could hint at a large number of otherwise preventable heart attacks and strokes.

The study also showed that people have better health results if they eat three meals a day and eat them roughly at the same time each day. That regularity allows the body to get into a digestive rhythm and it also reduces the stress on the body in general. So experts suggest the healthiest approach to eating is to consume three healthy meals a day, spaced out regularly to minimize any nutritional shocks to the body. They also warn against skipping meals, a practice which might be as dangerous to the body as eating late in the evening.

Using Vegetables In Your Cooking

As was highlighted in this Huffington Post article, vegetables can be incorporated into almost any additional for delicious taste and nutritional benefit. That is something we should all try.

My family loves to roast vegetables. Squash, zucchini, and pepper all get roasted, which gives them a hot, juicy taste and a unique flavor that really compliments the natural flavor of the vegetable. From there, you can make a bed of vegetables for fish, create a healthy topping for a burger, create a veggie-heavy platter of kabobs, or even just pop them in your mouth for a healthy snack instead of eating chips. By putting vegetables on top of your fish, you also make it easier for those pesky, picky eaters who just won’t touch certain vegetables.

You can also incorporate vegetables more into the actual dishes you make themselves, too. Throwing cut-up and roasted peppers into rice can give it a zest and bring it to life. Putting peppers and corn into chili is a mainstream way of incorporating vegetables into your meat dishes, increasing the flavor and adding nutrients that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. Throw in a pepper and zucchini into your salad, throw peas into your casserole, and incorporate spinach into your pizza recipes and any quick omelet.

There are so many simple steps you can take to ensure that more vegetables make it into your cooking and therefore into your body. It just takes a creative mind, and a commitment to cooking healthy.

Quesadillas Are the Cheapest, Easiest and Healthiest Meals

When you’re looking for a healthy meal or snack that is also easy to make and cheap to buy the ingredients for, quesadillas top the list. There are so many ways to make delicious and healthy quesadillas, so we’ll share some of these ideas with you below.

The BLT Quesadilla

You thought you could only make a BLT with bread, mayonnaise and all the rest of ingredients, but a quesadilla BLT is healthier and maybe even tastier than its classic cousin. All you have to do is put all the ingredients in a quesadilla and add some mozzarella cheese. If you don’t want to put the lettuce and tomato inside the quesadilla, add it on top!

Classic Mexican Quesadilla

For a classic Mexican quesadilla, put black beans, corn, salsa and mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese inside a quesadilla and pop it over some heat on the stove. Add guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and cilantro on top as garnishes.

Pizza Quesadillas

You don’t have to order out to have a delicious pizza at home. Just make a pizza quesadilla with some dipping sauce. Put a quesadilla in a pan with some olive oil on the stove. Add mozzarella cheese, some marinara sauce and any toppings you like. Pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, sausage and green and black olives are always a good idea, but you can go a bit simpler if you want. Put another tortilla on top and flip to cook. Cut the quesadilla into triangles and use some leftover marinara dipping sauce and parsley for garnishes.

Watching Your Waist? Cook Up These Zero-Carb Noodles

A glowing ray of hope for any conscientious dieter, shirataki noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle that is gaining popularity in the west. Shirataki noodles are 97% water, are vegan, have very few calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero grams of fat. Traditionally the noodles are made out of konjac yam, also known as glucomannan, but there are tofu varieties as well.

The preparation of these convenient and healthy noodles is a little bit different than the preparation of conventional flour pastas–for the tastiest possible shirataki dish, follow these instructions.

Here are the tools you will need:

  • A strainer
  • A large frying pan
  • A medium to large saucepan

The shirataki noodles will come in a bag filled with fluid. Clip the corner of the bag and drain the noodles into the strainer over your sink. Rinse them well for a minute or two.

Next, fill your sauce pan with enough water to cover all of your noodles evenly. Heat the water until boiling, and cook for three minutes.

Finally, strain your noodles over your sink again and cook them evenly in your frying pan on medium to high heat. You may add oil if you’d like, but they’ll fry just fine on their own. Cook the noodles for eight-to-ten minutes, but be careful! Shirataki noodles let off a lot of steam.

Feel free to add any sauce or seasoning you’d like to your noodles–they pair great with everything.

Poultry Producers Leading the Way in Cutting Back Use of Antibiotics

The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria over the coming years is a cause for concern among those in the health care arena. A big potential cause of the development of such bacteria is the overuse of antibiotics by doctors for their patients. Even if this is curbed, however, there is another source of this problem. Companies that sell meat to consumers use antibiotics in their chickens and other animals to fight disease but mainly to help spur growth, so they can get bigger chickens and make more from each one. Some of these antibiotics that are used for this purpose are also used in humans for treating bacteria caused diseases. There is concern that their use in farm animals for our consumption will cause the rise of bacteria resistant to them that will then find their way to infecting humans. Consumer Ivan Ong stresses the importance of eating quality food.

Poultry producers Perdue and Pilgrim’s Pride had already announced they were no longer using antibiotics that are also used in human medicine in raising their chickens. The big news now is that the largest poultry producer, Tyson Foods, has just announced that they will be following suit. This was prompted by increasing complaints from advocacy groups about this type of use for these antibiotics and also by the fact that McDonald’s had announced they will phase out the use of such chicken. Tyson is their main supplier so this must have factored heavily in their decision. Now we all have to wait for producers of turkey, beef and pork to catch up to this sensible policy.

Multiple Allergic Reactions Traced To Single Protein

John Hopkins plus other researchers from University of Alberta have identified the fact that one protein is the cause of painful and hazardous allergic reactions that happen to a variety of medications as well as other substances. In case a new drug is able to be discovered that mainly targets the challenging protein, the researchers states that, it could assist in smooth therapy for patients suffering from conditions that range from prostate cancer to HIV and Aids to diabetes. Their findings are published in a journal called Nature on December 17, and TechCrunch also covered the findings extensively.  Even heard about this from fellow Skout users.

Previous researchers traced reactions like pain, rashes as well as itching at the sites where injection of most drugs was done and also in the section that has the immune system which is known as the Mast cells. The moment specific receptors found on the outer part of the mast cells detect caution signals referred to as antibodies, they start acting, releasing histamine plus other substances that ignite inflammation and attract additional immune cells to that area. These antibodies are generated by use of additional immune cells in reaction to germs, viruses or even other apparent threats. Nevertheless, even though most of the injections sites responses seems like an allergic reactions, the odd thing concerning them is the fact that there no antibodies produced. This is according to Xinzhong Dong, Ph.D, who is neuroscience associate professor in the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences in Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine.

Healthy Home Cooking?

To me the reading of this article involves common sense. For many years, researchers, reporters, and healthcare workers have touted the benefits of home cooking. But this article shares a word of caution about home cooking.

Dr. Rod Rohrich says that researchers have been studying data collected from over 2700 women ranging in ages from their 40’s to 60’s. In this study the women answer questions about cooking at home and what was used in cooking. It was found in these studies that the more people cook at home, they raise their chances of contracting heart diseases, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. But Why?

The answer, to me, is simple: When we cook at home it doesn’t mean we are cooking healthier. People in general tend to use more salt, butter, and oil than in needed to prepare healthful creations.  Now wouldn’t you rather fill the tank with premium (fruits, vegetables, protein) versus the lowest grade fuel you can find?