Wow! Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is only 3 days away? Have you given much thought to how you’re going to spoil your significant other?
I’m going to treat my hubby with a nice nutritious treat: Chocolate dipped strawberries! Yes! This is a nutritious treat and here’s why:
There is now increasing evidence that chocolate can be part of a healthy diet – and that it may even offer some specific health benefits! Here’s a rundown on some of the latest research in support of chocolate’s health benefits:
- Heart Disease – A study published in the March 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that of more than 34,000 post-menopausal women who consumed the most flavonoid-rich food, 22 per cent had a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease. Chocolate was ranked as one of the top flavonoid-rich foods associated with a protective effect, along with bran, red wine, grapefruit and strawberries.
These findings support previous research published in 2006 in the Archive of Internal Medicine, which found men who consumed high amounts of cocoa products (2.3 grams or more per day) had a 50 per cent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, compared with men with the lowest consumption.
- Blood pressure and cholesterol – In a study published in the July 4, 2007, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that a little bit of dark chocolate may help lower your blood pressure. German researchers followed two groups of people with untreated high blood pressure for 18 weeks. Half got a bit of dark chocolate every day while the other half received white chocolate. In the end, those eating the dark chocolate saw a drop in their blood pressure and there was no change for group that ate white chocolate.
- Psychological well-being– Heart health isn’t the only thing with a link to chocolate. A 2007 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who preferred chocolate to other types of candy had a lower body mass index and waist circumference than men who did not eat chocolate. Chocolate lovers also experienced more feelings of happiness and better psychological well-being. (This is great news for my running/bloggy friend Jon in Michigan who is well know for his chocolate addiction).
I recommend that you opt for dark chocolate for optimum health benefits, as it has the most flavonoids. Also, consider organic or “fair-trade” dark chocolate to further make your treat guilt-free
We all know strawberries are delicious, but like chocolate, they are also nutritious, and ideally should be a part of everyone’s daily diet. You’ll enjoy some health advantages by eating strawberries regularly, and the best part is strawberries are one of the most delicious fruits! Strawberries contain a range of nutrients, with vitamin C heading the group. They also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These antioxidant properties are believed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red.
In addition to vitamin C, strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
PS – Have you entered my SADE “Soldier of Love” CD Giveaway yet?
Fitness Tip of The Day: When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home. Exercise is not enough. You must also include healthy eating habits.