Healthy 2012 Tips

Tip 1: Movement

Yes, we understand that you may work at a desk in front of a computer nine hours everyday so your options may be limited, and after work you may feel so tired that you don’t even have the energy to work out. Not so fun-fact: roughly 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are directly related to a lack of regular exercise.*

A half hour a day of exercise is recommended, but recent studies show that shorter, spaced out workouts in a day can also do the trick. So if you’re feeling cooped up in your office, break up the day by taking small walks around your building to bump up your heart rate instead of dreading a workout before or after work.

courtesy of The Georgetown Dish.com

Sweet Chocolatey Facts

Cultures around the world have enjoyed chocolate in its many forms for a thousand years or more. In its earlier days, the Mayans and Aztecs sipped a chocolate beverage during sacred and religious ceremonies. Later, Europeans enjoyed chocolate enhanced by refined sugar and milk as dessert and candies. There are powerful scientific properties and findings that relate to chocolate. From its processing to potential health benefits, here are five fun facts about your favorite treat:

  1. Chocolate is made from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree. In its raw form, the seed possesses a bitter flavor. In the production of chocolate, the seeds are fermented in order to change the flavor.
  2. Due to a high concentration in flavanols, recent research suggests that the cardiovascular system may benefit from chocolate. Flavanols improve blood flow to the heart and brain, lower blood pressure and have antioxidant qualities.
  3. Flavanols are also the reason for chocolate’s natural bitter taste. The more processing that occurs in creating your favorite candy, less flavanols remain in the chocolate. Less flavanols means less healthy. Food manufacturers are currently exploring techniques to preserve flavanols in the manufacturing process.
  4. The specific flavanol thought to be responsible for most of these cardiovascular benefits is called “epicatechin.”
  5. Research into the potential health benefits of chocolate was in-part inspired by the Kuna people of Panama, who drink five to seven cups per day of a cocoa drink. The Kuna people have higher kidney function and lower rates of heart disease than other Panamanians, which sparked interest in the possible correlation between the cocoa drink and health.

The earliest documented consumption of chocolate was in 1100 BC, and it has remained one of the world’s most popular food types and flavors. Now isn’t that delicious? You know what I have the taste for right now?