Tag Archive: heart health

  1. Fixing Your Sugary Brain

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    If you’ve ever ordered dessert when you’re already full, or reached for a pint of ice cream when you’re stressed, you’ve experienced emotional eating. Emotional eating is attempting to use food to boost your mood or feel better.

    And using food occasionally as a pick me up, a reward, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, when eating is your main emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to rip open a bag of Oreos whenever you’re upset, or stressed, or bored—you get stuck in an awful pattern that’s bad for both your brain and your body.

    Not sure if you are an emotional eater? Answer these questions to discover if you may have a problem.

    Emotional Eater Checklist

    *Do you always eat more when you’re feeling stressed?

    *Do you reward yourself with food?

    *Does food feel like a friend?

    *Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

    Taking Steps to Break the Cycle

    Identify Your Triggers. The first step in putting a stop to emotional eating is identifying your personal triggers. What situations, places, or feelings make you reach for sugary comfort foods? Keep an emotional eating diary. Make note of events or feelings that are happening when you reach for a sugar fix.

    Feed Your Emotions in Other Ways. If you’re feeling down, call someone who lifts your spirits. If you’re anxious, take a walk to burn some of that nervous energy. If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of coffee or tea. If you’re bored, change tasks or read something inspiring.

    Choose a Healthy Lifestyle. Invest in yourself. When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.

  2. 3 More Reasons to Walk

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    Walking is the most popular form of exercise.  No question, it’s great for heart health and weight management.  But walking has a number of other health benefits that will have you lacing up your sneakers and heading for the door.

    Walk to Protect Against Dementia
    Walking improves blood flow to the brain which can reduce your risk of dementia.  University of Pittsburgh researchers found that seniors who walked at least 6 miles per week had less brain shrinkage than people who did not exercise.

    Walk to Lift Your Mood

    Regular brisk walks not only help improve your mood, they may also reduce symptoms of depression.  Walking with a friend is a great way to stick to your workout routine.

    Walk to Manage Chronic Pain
    Sounds strange perhaps, but walking can actually reduce pain from arthritis.  An Australian study noted that people that walked just 1.5 miles three times each week reported that they had less pain and felt better in general.

    Tip – Download some upbeat tunes to your Ipod.  Studies show that listening to fast music helps boost endurance and effort.

  3. Top 6 Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

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    Wondering if dark chocolate is good for you?  The answer is absolutely – in moderation.  Scientists have recently discovered many positive health benefits you can receive from eating this decadent treat.

    1) Dark Chocolate Improves Blood Flow to the Brain.

    Eating dark chocolate helps send blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps boost concentration and problem-solving skills.  Consuming dark chocolate can also help reduce your overall risk for having a stroke.

    2) Dark Chocolate Keeps Your Teeth Strong

    Dark chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine.  Theobromine has been shown to harden tooth enamel. So unlike most sweets, which can lead to cavities, dark chocolate can actually help protect your beautiful smile.

    3) Dark Chocolate is a Heart-Healthy Treat

    Research proves that consuming dark chocolate a few times each week can actually help lower your blood pressure. Because dark chocolate increases blood flow, it may also prevent blood clots from developing.  More good news?  Dark chocolate can play a role in reducing your risk for arteriosclerosis.

    4) Dark Chocolate Boosts Your Mood

    Dark chocolate includes a number of chemical compounds that help boost your mood. Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA).  This is the same chemical your brain produces when you fall in love. PEA causes your brain to release endorphins, which lift your mood and make you feel happier.

    5) Dark Chocolate Helps Protect Against Diabetes

    Dark chocolate helps to increase circulation and protect blood vessels. Flavonoids, found in dark chocolate, also help your body to use insulin efficiently. Finally, dark chocolate is low on the glycemic index, which means it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels.

    6) Dark Chocolate Helps Fight Free Radical Damage

    Loaded with antioxidants, dark chocolate helps free your body of free radicals, which can cause damage to cells. Free radicals cause more rapid aging and can lead to cancer.  Consuming a variety of antioxidant-rich foods like dark chocolate can help protect you from numerous cancers.