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Chocolate for your loved one

Giving chocolate to your loved one for Valentines Day is an old tradition. But why do we associate chocolate with love and what are health benefits of eating it?

Benefits of chocolate.

1. It improves our life.  Anandamide is the chemical in chocolate that quickly activates dopamine receptors in the brain which temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression and provides the sense of wellbeing or “high”.

2. Substitutes for love.  It delivers a potent neurotransmitter called phenylethylamine, which is more commonly known as the “love drug.” That is why people crave chocolate when love is missing in there lives.

3. Makes us happy.  Cacao also has tryptophan – a precursor to the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter serotonin.

4. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems. It has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin which can improve blood flow and circulation.

5. Prevents cognitive decline. Cocoa’s flavonoids seems to make people feel more awake and alert and perform better. ( No wonder why my mom always gave me dark chocolate  when I took my tests).

6. It  is also and inflammation fighter due to resverathrol  presence. Eating dark chocolate is the most natural ways to reduce the inflammatory processes underlying the chronic, degenerative diseases.

7. Keeps cholesterol healthy. Naturally occurring polyphenols in cocoa, the fundamental component in chocolate, actually boost levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, while at the same time reducing the atherogenicity of so-called “bad” variety – LDL – by preventing its oxidation.

8. Increases energy. Chocolate contains caffeine, a stimulant that can help heighten physical energy and alertness, but studies also show that it can inhibit inflammation in the brain that causes migraines.

9. May reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

10. Increase insulin sensitivity and reduce risk of diabetes.
All those beneficial properties related to dark chocolate over 70%. My personal favorite is 85%

Caution!!!

1. Non-organic bars might contain GMO- soy product, such as lecithin!
2. Watch for amount of sugar!
3. Do not overeat!

As mentioned in Cleveland Clinic study:

“It’s important to remember the word moderation. There’s a measured and tested amount of chocolate – 6.7 grams a day (or one small square of chocolate two or three times a week) – that provides the best health benefits. While it undoubtedly comes as a pleasant surprise that chocolate is actually good for you, eating the right amount is crucial if you want it to be a benefit and not a liability.”

Keep all this information in mind  when you buy good quality chocolate for your Valentine.

If you would like to surprise you loved one and make chocolate yourself check my recipe from the forthcoming cookbook.

—–> GET RECIPE HERE <—–

oxidative-stress

HOW TO DEAL WITH HOLIDAY STRESS IN A POSITIVE WAY ?

The holiday season can be a magical time for some people, while others have a tendency to stress out.

Stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s life.  Particularly during the holidays, you  spend extreme amount of money  in over-crowded shops, you tend to over-eat and drink a lot , you try to fit in last minute events in already over-booked calendar.  As a result, all this can put you over the edgeUnderstanding the following two facts about stress will help you deal with it in a positive way.

1. Stress is cumulative; it builds upon itself day after day.

2. Your ability to handle stress depends on how resilient you are at any particular time in your life. Resiliency factors are things that make life easier, like supportive people, good health, and positive thoughts. If resiliency factors are missing, than the same stressful event will knock you to your knees or worse yet, flat on your face.

How to fight the cumulative nature of stress and strengthen your resiliency factors:

1. Learn to relax. This DOES NOT include watching TV or taking a nap. Although in moderation, there are benefits to these activities.  What really works is training your body and mind to refocus and take a break from any situation. You can learn meditation, breathing exercises, visualization, journaling, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga, and connect to your senses by using music, aromatherapy or a favorite soft blanket to help you relax. Everyday you can choose to make a conscious effort  to practice these relaxation tips for at least fifteen minutes.  Then you will breakdown the cumulative nature of stress and see the  considerable difference within one week.
2. Find out which situations, people, and things make you more stressed and come up with a plan of action. Be realistic with your personal expectations and don’t overwhelm yourself by concentrating on everything you need to do.  One step at a time.

3. Surround yourself with supportive people. Choose to limit your time around somebody who stress you out and try to emotionally distance yourself from situations that sabotage your good efforts for health.

4. Decide what you can control and what you can’t. If there are situations or people out of your control then continually remind yourself that it is wasted energy trying to make someone do what you want them to do, or trying to make something to be different then it is.

5. Choose to change the negative tapes playing in your head; replace “I can’t do this”, “I’m not smart”, or “I will fail” with “I can deal with challenges”,” I may have made mistakes in the past, but I am doing better”, or “I’m a hard worker”.

6. Most of your experience of stress has to do with your attitude and the way you perceive your life’s events or others. Here are some tips to help you maintain a stress-relieving attitude: positive affirmations, optimism, maintaining a sense of humor, using low of attraction, and letting go of anger.

7. Exercise, sleep and nourish your body in a healthy way. Physical activities release healthy chemicals ( endorphins) in your brain. Therefor, increasing your heart rate for at least 15 minutes a day, every day, is the single most effective thing your can do to fight stress. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Eat right because your brain will not function properly if it is malnourished.

8. Everyday do something that you like to do and remind yourself who you are. Your life will be off balance unless you restore your sense of fun.  Harmonizing  your life will help you to be resilient to stress.

9. Don’t mask your stress with addiction forming drugs and alcohol.  Natural stress-relievers such as valerian root, chamomile and passion flowers work synergistically to help you regain control of your emotions. 

Start now in order to reduce and better manage your stress by using my effective tips, and enjoy the holidays in good health and happiness!
If you would like help and support for boosting your resiliency and for staying happy and healthy during holidays, schedule a free session with me
here