Monday, March 30, 2015

Don't hate on the Easter Bunny!

Yes, it's Easter and that means the Easter bunny (and every candy bowl at work) will be bringing you plenty of chocolate and candy to tempt even the strongest among us.  But don’t worry, he’s coming to help.

Ok the Bunny is not Dr. Oz, but he could be bringing a sweet indulgence that is actually great for you. I’m talking about chocolate!
 Yes, we all know that the healthiest is dark chocolate – which experts recommend having one or two ounces of every day. 
You do lose health benefits when chocolate is processed, so raw cacao products are the best, but I don’t think the bunny has delivered any of those to my house in a long time. 
The good news is that even other kinds of chocolate (except white) do have health benefits, so long as they are not filled with caramel or high fructose corn syrup. 
So don’t hate on the bunny. Just ask him to leave the jelly beans for someone else… 
Here are my top 8 reasons why the Easter Bunny is one of my health heroes! 
It’s packed with anti-oxidants - Chocolate is the only place to get flavanols, a type of flavonoid that occurs in plans and helps fight free radicals in the body.
It’ll give you a healthy heart – You can lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent if you regularly eat chocolate. And it can lower your risk of heart disease.
 It can help fight cancer - Chocolate ranks among the best cancer-fighting foods (like red wine, blueberries, garlic, and tea) according to several studies. Not only does it inhibit cell division, but it also reduces inflammation, though research is ongoing and will probably find additional ways in which chocolate fights cancer.
It can lower your blood pressure – Eating chocolate can lower your blood pressure and increase blood flow, which in turn can improve your vision and make you healthier overall.
 It can lower your risk for strokes -  a Swedish study found that eating the equivalent of two chocolate bars could reduce the risk of stroke among women by 20%. And Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that it can protect the brain after a stroke by shielding the nerve cells from further damage.
It can make you smarter  -  a small British study found that the increased blood flow from cocoa's flavanols make people perform better on counting tasks. Researchers at California's Salk Institute found that a chemical in chocolate called epicatechin improved the memory of mice.
 It can make you happier - Chocolate contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Chocolate also stimulates endorphin production, which creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. In fact, one study found that melting chocolate in the mouth produced feelings of pleasure longer than passionate kissing.
 Need one more reason?
Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to the age of 122, said at least part of her long life was due to her eating 2.5 pounds of dark chocolate a week!

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