Tag Archives: chocolate

woman on desk-yoga

Chances are you spend most of your day sitting and hunched over your computer—and that’s not good for your health, creativity or productivity.

When you hunch, says BJ Dowlen, founder and CEO of The BodyWorks Ball, you’re cutting off the oxygen to both lungs and brain. “Take little breaks, stretch and move,” she says, “You’re not just working your muscles, but also getting a dose of those natural feel-good hormones, endorphins.  And a happy worker is more productive, less stressed and more grounded.”

Here are some of our thoughts for creating those little breaks. All are easy to do, whether at office or home.

  • Got wall—or floor? Grab a ball or foam roller and get rid of those kinks

We love the Bodyworks Ball (www.bodyworksball.com). When you lean up against the wall to use it– oh, baby!

Foam rollers are especially great for aching and tight calves and want to give yourself a little ART (Active Resistance Technique.)

Treat your feet:  High heels won’t just give you foot ailments like bunions and hammertoes, but they’ll throw your entire center of gravity off, explains “Toe Whisperer” Gary Williams. That hurts!

Massage your feet by rolling them over a ball.  Gary Williams also recommends taking a few minutes to talk around with knees connected, as if they’re taped together, to give the lower extremities a boost.

  • Indulge—in moderation!  Sometimes you just need a moment to stop, smell and savor a treat. Dark, raw chocolate is yummy and healthy, full of flavanoids, antioxidants and nutrients.  Just remember:  Everything in moderation!
  • The office “spa” Turn lunch time into a 45 or 50-minute yoga class; the deep breathing and movement will calm and rejuvenate—and you’ll be ready to go back and face the afternoon challenges.

 

heart2

It only seems natural to talk about chocolate in February.  For one, this is the month of love, and chocolate’s a frequent Valentine’s Day gift, but this is also American  Heart Month—and now some studies are showing that chocolate may actually aid heart health.

If it’s dark chocolate and contains at least 60-70 percent cacao, this heavenly substance can be packed with health benefits.  In fact, the highest level of chocolate consumption was associated with a 37 percent reduction in (non-fatal) heart attacks, as well a 29 percent reduction of stroke.

Chocolate and its main ingredient cocoa, appear to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol (especially LDL, the “bad” one) and possessing anti-inflammatory qualities. Chocolate can also reduce insulin sensitivity, and keep the blood platelets from getting too sticky. However, do be aware that these studies are short-term and uncontrolled, thereby requiring more research, says The Mayo Clinic.

Here’s why chocolate can be good: Most of chocolate’s health benefits come from the antioxidant, flavonoids, because chocolate comes from the cacao plant, which is rich in flavanols, a type of flavonoid phytochemical. Some forms of chocolate have a lot more flavonoids than others.

The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains.

What’s an antioxidant? Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals—body “rust” caused by such everyday things as pollen, molds and smoke. Free radicals accelerate aging and are responsible for illness.

Caveat: This isn’t an invitation to empty your cupboards and replace the contents with chocolate, but do enjoy that occasional treat.  Like anything, moderation is critical–chocolate still contains ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. Too much of that causes weight gain, one of the risk factors for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Remember, fruits, vegetables and legumes also contain high amounts of polyphenols, along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Milk chocolate doesn’t have the same benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

pumpkinspluggz

Halloween is just around the corner and this holiday really keeps us grounded.  Here’s how:

1.    We connect to nature. We spend a lot of time in the outdoors on Halloween, especially if our kids need us to go trick or treating with them. We jump and play in the leaves.  We’re surrounded by beautiful autumn foliage.

When yoga instructor, Vanessa Spina, returned from a trip to the woodlands and forests of Northern Massachusetts, she wrote on her website, “I am convinced, once again! That the greatest pathway to the heart of the self is to stand at the threshold of nature and let awe and rapture settle you into your own heart which is a sample of your own nature. The woods held the key to so many secreted, special wonders.”

2.    It brings out our inner child. Remember when our only responsibility was school and homework and we’d get to play outside endlessly for hours? We’d be so busy running, jumping and playing outdoors that it’d be almost impossible to bring us in for a meal, but now many of us just sit in front of the television chomping on cookies!

3.     Chocolate!  The Greeks call it “food of the gods,” while others call it “food of the devil”—but when when dark and comprised of 70 percent cacao, chocolate is a super food that’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.  Remember, moderation!

4.    Pumpkins, anyone?  They’re great to look at, fun to carve, and good to eat.  Loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants and all kinds of phytonutrients, they boost immunity, aid eyesight, help heart health and fight cancer. Don’t throw out seeds, either, because they’re full of antioxidants; toast them for a healthy, tasty snack. Want a real nutrient powerhouse? Mix pumpkin with another super food, yogurt. Try it with plain Greek yogurt—yum!