For the longest time, we have been told that eating sweets, especially chocolate, and the consumption of alcohol is bad for us – period. But recent research suggests that eating chocolate, especially the darker varieties, and drinking red wine, both have a number of health benefits, when consumed in moderation. For example, for my first love, chocolate, many different studies suggest a laundry list of health and beauty benefits when it comes to this dark, delectable delight:
- An excellent source of antioxidants
- Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helps to prevent cancer and damage from harmful UV rays
- Promotes better mood and vision
- Can relieve stress and calm coughs
- Reduces the risk of diabetes and can be helpful with weight loss
Dang, I’m craving brownies all of a sudden and when it comes to beauty tips, apparently dark chocolate also aids with our complexion, giving us smoother skin, promoting better hair growth and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
FULL FAT FALLACIES
Another myth we’ve been fed over the years, pardon the pun, some full fat choices are actually healthier than their leaner alternatives. One might first think of the differences in dairy when it comes to fat free or skim varieties, 1% over 2% and whole milk choices. Recent studies have shown that drinking the full-fat versions can actually be better than the low-fat blends which is contrary to what many weight-loss experts have been feeding us (another unfortunate pun).
Drinking one cup of whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated and skim milk has neither of these. More research suggests that people who regularly drink whole milk are 23% less likely to develop type-2 diabetes compared to those who opted for skim milk instead. A similar study found that those who ate fattier cheeses were less likely to gain weight than those who opted for the 2% and lesser fat choices. Take that weight watchers – PLEASE – no reference, connection or offense intended towards the actual organization itself – I’m just sayin.’
Choose your shelled favorite, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts and especially macadamia nuts, along with many of their other legume cousins, eat a handful of these daily and reap the rewards. Nuts are chock full of healthy monounsaturated fat, as well as omega-three fatty acids. Not to mention that nuts are also chock full of Vitamin-E, which promotes healthy skin, eyes and nails. As with any so-called fatty food, limit your consumption to around ½ cup per day and notice some differences over a very short period of time.
THE TROPICAL TRIUMPHS OF COCONUT
The many benefits of coconut, can be found in both its oil and meat, and if combined with dark chocolate, now that makes me want to suck back an Almond Joy ® candy bar right about now.
The truth is that Polynesian people have thrived on this pod product for centuries from utilizing this tropical treat both inside and out. Dang, now I’m craving a Mai Tai! But I digress, according to Wellness Mama (dot com), there are over a hundred benefits of this tropical oil that can aid with everything from an infant’s diaper rash to increasing the mental alertness of young and old alike.
Don’t fall for the hype when it comes to your health – do your homework and listen to research. You can enjoy many of life’s simple pleasures, eat some dark chocolate, enjoy a glass of red wine, relax and rejuvenate. Just don’t overdo it and we’ll all live happier, healthier and much longer lives.