6 Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has recently been discovered to have a number of healthy benefits. While eating dark chocolate can lead to the health benefits described below, remember that chocolate is also high in fat.
1) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your HeartStudies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
2) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your BrainDark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.
Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.
Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.
3) Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood SugarDark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.
4) Dark Chocolate is Full of AntioxidantsDark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the ageing process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of ageing.
5) Dark Chocolate Contains TheobromineDark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.
Theobromine is also a mild stimulant, though not as strong as caffeine. It can, however, help to suppress coughs.
6) Dark Chocolate is High in Vitamins and MineralsDark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:
The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolateprotects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Somethign which i have been thinking about more and more recently is all the fitspo instagram accounts. More and more are popping up, everyone flexing their muscles and taking pictures of the workouts. I get it. I do the same 😄
However, some people i can say are not inspirations. And should Not be followed. Infact they call themselves healthy and fit, yet they barely seem to eat anything.
I am not judging, i am just writing what i see and what i think. I can not, and should not judge the people as i do not know them, however when they posts pictures (Like below) and say that that is their lunch and they have thousands of followers, i wonder what type of inspiration is that?
Young girls and guys think that they should eat the same… cut out all carbs, all junk food etc Of course, you do not know what the person actually eats… i mean there are times when i post pictures of what i eat, and can end up not finishing the whole thing or going for more. But i dont write that down. I eat dark chocolate as dessert some days, and other days no i dont eat carbs for lunch or dinner. You really cant judge what or how a person eats just by a picture.
But i think that some instagram/fitspo accounts just arent sending out a good message to people. Yes i workout often i am not lying about that. Somedays i eat too little etc but i think that in the whole i wouldnt consider myself a good inspiration or motivation. I dont send out messages that you shouldnt eat fruit, or that chocolate is bad or to only eat egg whites or no carbs for dinner. Healthy is about balance. Eating enough for your body. And of course everyone has different metabolisms and goals. But you NEVER have to starve yourself to reach those goals.
It feels like now a days fitspo has turned more into thinspo….people reposting pictures of photoshopped models… with their muscles and 6 packs. But the fact is, its only a picture. The models dont even look like that in real life. So dont compare yourself to pictures of others. You are you.
I feel that fitspo can do more harm than good now a days.
^^No. no. no
Those 3 accounts all have thousands of followers and this is the message they send?
Eat as little as possible, exercise as much as possible?
They all have ‘healthy’ or ‘fit’ in their names, though i dont at all consider them to be inspirational.
This is just my opinion and i know i shouldnt judge.
But in the end, this is my blog and i have a right to send out my opinion or voice.
I dont want to be rude to anyone or anything, hence why i have blocked the names of the accounts.
Of course… there are some accounts which i follow who are HUGE inspirations to me. I love their posts and their outlook on health and fitness. They are the ones who give out the message of NOT starving yourself. To workout and enjoy it… dont compare yourself to others. Eat enough for your body.
Its more of those types of accounts we should follow, not ones that promote an unhealthy balance of food and exercise.
(People who send a good healthy messgae through their instagram accounts!)
What are your opinions on fitspo/instagram fispo accounts? Do you follow them?
A common question which i get is how I started strength training/ how to start strength training.
I love strength training! It’s one of my passions in life.. However it wasn’t always that way. I’ll admit, I will always be a cardio girl! I mean I lpve running, walking, hiking, swimming etc but I also love lifting weights 😉
Building muscle is great for many different reasons. And it can also help you to improve your body image.
It helps strengthen bones, build strength and muscles and helps boost your immune system etc
So how did I begin? I began by doing body weight exercises, mainly doing sit ups and some abs exercises. Then I got some more confidence and began to use weights. And I did things like bicep curls… using 3kg which was heavy for me at the time! In fact I remember the moment when I realised I could use 4kg for bicep curls. I was so proud of myself and felt super strong!!
Then I began using the gym machines, I went to the gym one day in the mid morning and there was practically no one in the gym. So I went and tried all the machines, some I couldn’t get to work which I found very embarrassing or was too weak to change the seat or height!!
I then began doing research of exercises… exercises for each muscle group. I began using more weights. Testing myself and my limits and getting more confidence!! When I first began I used the ‘ladies section’ of the gym, where all the dumbbells are coloured and there are pilates balls etc ( that’s where I go to stretch now) but I go to the ‘manly’area now when I strength train 🙂
It’s scary to begin strength training because you’re worried of what people will think, or your not strong enough or dont know what to do. But it’s all about confidence. Go there and do your own thing. Most people are so busy with themselves that they don’t care about what you are doing.
Also research is important!! Find new exercises and learn the technique. Don’t be scared to test new things or to ask for help.
You are at the gym for yourself. So don’t care about others.
And remember, everyone starts somewhere.
I mean when I began I didn’t even know what a squat was… and now I can leg press 100kg and squat my body weight etc… that might not be alot for someone else. But for me it’s alot. And I am happy with my progress. I dont compare myself to others because I have only been seriously been strength training for less than a year!!
If you have any more questions, you can email or comment 😉
But remember to eat more when you exercise!!
I thought i would just write a little quick post about BMR and calories.
Now a days on Tumblr and instagram i see so many people who are eating around 1200 kcals a day. And the thing is… that is NOT ok. The reccommended amount for a 5 year old is 1200. The RDA for women is around 1800-2000 and for men its 2500. And on the days you exercise – unless you need to lose weight, you should be eating what you burn.
Now… to explain BMR and TDEE.
BMR is basically the amount you burn in a day when you do absaloutly nothing. Its what your body burns just living and breathing. And for most people its around 1300-1500. So you should NEVER eat less than that. Not even if someone is trying to lose weight, because then your body isnt getting enough for its daily functions.
And TDEE is total daily energy expenditure which counts in exercise… and that can be around 2000+ That is basically what you should eat to maintain your weight +/- 300 hundred calories.
So for me, my TDEE is around 2400. And my BMR is around 1400.
Say if i eat 1800kcal a day, and then i burn 500kcal through exercise then i end up with a NET of only 1300kcal, putting me under my BMR and WAY under my TDEE. This in the long run wont help me, this will infact put my body into starvation mode and make my body hold onto water and fat.
Say your TDEE is 2200 kcal a day, and you need to gain weight, so you should be eating around 2700kcal a day, and then you go running for an hour and say you burn 400kcal, then you need to eat enough to gain weight and also what you burned so you need to eat 3100kcal tjat day.THAT is one of the reasons why exercise is not reccommended during weight gain and recovery, because its hard enough to just eat food to maintain your weight, but then actually gain weight and ontop of that eat what you burn through exercise…. You get the dilemma?
If you arent struggling with an exercise problem, then you should only exercise if you know that you can eat enough.
Please dont bescared to eat. Infact you are doing your body more harm NOT eating than actually eating. You wont feel better by starving yourself, mentally or physically. Food is fuel and its important.
Hopefully now you understand why you shouldnt be eating less than your BMR, or eating low calorie amounts.
Everyone has different ideas of what health or healthy is… Some base it intirely on weight, i.e you cant be healthy if you dont have a healthy weight. But i dont think that is intirely true. I just feel that the BMI chart is a bit outdated now a days… But thats just my opinion.
Health in my opinion is about a bunch of different aspects…. Weight/physical state, mental state, diet, exercise and lifestyle.
If you are someone who eats healthy and exercises regularly, but lives a very stressful life where you are under lots of pressure.. then i dont think you can call yourself healthy, because that stress can lead to both mental and physical problems. You obviously dont have such a healthy lifestyle, and should change something so that you get more rest and can destress.
Also mental health is a MAJOR part of being healthy. People think its just about the exterior… whether you have a smile on your face or not. But that is not the case… there are hundreds of thousands of people who suffer with some form of mental illness whether its OCD, anxiety disorder, depression etc
Being mentally healthy, where you are truly happy is part of being healthy.
People think they can judge whether a person is healthy or not just by their size…. But that is so very wrong. Some people who may be a bit bigger may actually be alot healthier than someone is smaller. Often people who are naturally very skinny eat lots of junk food (i used to be one of them when iwas younger) No matter what i ate, i was still skinny and underweight. However that is not healthy for you… You might not gain weight, but fat builds up on the inside and around your organs, jus tlike on an obese person. This fat can lead to problems in the future….
And someone is who more curvy but eats healthy and exercises regularly may not look as healthy or slim as the skinny person, but is alot healthier than the skinny person.
Weight is not an indictor of health.
And then theres exercise, which is part of a healthy life. Because the truth is… its not good for you to never do exercise (all of you who are struggling with exercise addiction and not allowed to exercise, please dont be triggered by this. Because by resting you are doing a good thing for your body, and its more healthy to rest than to exercise. And it wont be forever where you arent allowed to exercise. Just for now.)
People who have desk jobs, and do no phsyical activity each day, even if they are slim they are still considered unhealthy. Because everyone should try to exercise 30 minutes everyday, just for overall health.
But there is of course the aspect of too much exercise.. whichis not healthy. Because you are overworking. You are not resting enough…. Sleep and rest are also part of a healthy lifestyles and health.
You need to find the balance between exercise and rest. Thats when your body will also feel good!
And lets not forget food and diet! They are key aspects to a healthy lifestyle.
You shouldnt eat too little or too much. And you shouldnt eat too much junk food or too healthy. You need to find the balance between healthy and unhealthy. Because a little junk food now and again never killed anyone, and i like to call it ssoul food. Because sure broccolli might be better for your body, but sometimes all you need is some white chocolate… and that never killed anyone. And in moderation it never made anyone fat either.
Being healthy is also about being happy.
Is there something in your life that makes you unhappy? Change it. Whether its your job, your friends, your relationship… youneed to think about yourself and your needs sometimes.
You need to find a balance between all these things. Not too much sleep, not too little. Not too much food and not too little. Not too much exercise and not too little.
But it is important to also be happy. To like the life you live…
Everyone is different. Some people cant eat dairy, but they still live a healthy lifestyle. Some people exercise 3 times a week and others exercise 6 times a week… the person who exercises 6 times a week ISNT more healthy than the person who exercises 3 times a week.
Its about the individual. Remember that. So dont compare yourself to others.
I often set up small exercise goals for myself to achieve… mainly because then you have something to really work on… or you know, in the back of your head that there is this goal you are working to reach. But i am never so strict with them… i’m sure i would reach the goals faster if i really worked towards them, but for me, exercise is just fun. So i do what i feel like at the time!
My goals are never anything like – have six pack abs, or lose fat because to me that isnt why i am exercising, yes my body may be changing, but i guess thats just a bonus!!
My goals at the moment (March 2014)
- To be able to do a handstand (and then without a wall!)
- To be able to do the splits again (could do it when i was 12, but then of course i wasnt allowed any exercise or to stretch so became less flexible!)
- To be able to do proper pull ups and proper dips!
- To use 10kg+ dumbbells for bicep curls…. (Now that i think about it, i most probably can. Its just that i havent tried… gotta do that sometime soon!) -> When i first started strength training i could only use 3kg dumbbells… so remember, everyone starts somewhere!!
- To partake in several races – this year…. (Me and my step dad have been talking and both of us are planning to start running again, and both want to run races. So hopefully we will do it this year, because ive wanted to run these races since 2012, but just never signed up)
Todays breakfast was egg white oatmeal with cinnamon and stevia. Mix of nuts and seeds, cottage cheese, sugar free appelsauce & frozen berries! & a Mango& Peach Vitamin Well!! I love this combination, and it keeps me full for several hours! Today im planning to work my back and also intervals, if i have the time and energy!!!
But first its school.
Are you going to workout today?
What did you eat for breakfast today?
I thought i would write about my exercise and my workouts, however I wont write everything i do, i.e all exercises, reps, sets or weights. Mainly because its MY workouts. They work for me, and my body, my goals. And i dont want anyone doing just the same thing, ebcause you wont look like me, even if you were to eat the same thing or exercise in the same way. Everyones bodies reacts differently. But i will write shortly about how my workouts are. 🙂 So if you’re interested, keep reading.
So… A short background:
Ive been active all my life in some form or another – walking, yoga, running, basketball, P.E in school. Then when i became sick, exercise became a compulsion and obsession – i.e running and walking everyday (or other day), running up and down the stairs at home, hours on the exercise bike at home, continuously standing or pacing. Then i was on 0 activity for almost 2 years – however i still exercised quite alot, and getting rid of that compulsive behaviour was hard.But i did do it. I DID recover from my exercise addiction.
Then i was allowed to begin walking my dog 3 times a week. Then i was alloewd to go running 3 times a week & go for a walk 1 time a week (i.e exercise 4 days a week)
Then i was alloewd to go to the gym – 3 days a week. Only did cardio.
And over time, i increased how often i went to the gym – BECAUSE I LOVE IT! And also my focus of just doing cardio, changed to also doing strength. And now my main focus is strength training.
For me, cutting out cardio was scary at the beginning, i did have thoughts that i would gain fat, or i couldnt eat as much. But that is NOT the case. Strength training is not for everyone, and i dont judge people who just do cardio, i mean i do love cardio and do go for powerwalks and will begin running more often! But i dont think you should just do cardio to try to control your weight or so that you wont become fat….
Anyway, onto my workouts now a days:
Well i workout several days a week… Of course i listen to my body, rest when i need it. But i always have a minimum of 1 rest day a week. Where i try to keep exercise to the bare minimum. However on rest days it does happen that i go for short walks with my dog – as that is pretty much my job at home, as Daisy is my dog! But otherwise, i try not do so much as i really want to let my body rest.
I divide up my workouts into muscle groups. -> Biceps & triceps. Legs. Shoulders. Back. Abs & cardio. And somedays i eiither do a full body workout (usually bodypump), or have a cardio day… depending on how i feel. But i avoid working the same muscle groups 2 days in a row.
Reps: Repetitions of the exercise i.e 8/10/12
Sets: How many of the repetitions you do… i.e 8 repetitions, 4 sets. (i.e 32 repetitions in total)
I focus on using heavy weights, and try to increase as often as i can. And do many sets i.e around 4-6 depending on the exercise, with low reps. This is to increase my muscle mass. However it all depends on my energy levels and mood. Sometimes i like just using low weights, and focusing on technique, or doing more reps.
I dont do cardio so often, but once again… it all depends. At the moment i am doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) 3 times +/´- a week. And/or powerwalks, depending on how my schedule is and how i am feeling. But thats about it for now. In summer i do plan on going out walking and running more often.
Ill just add in how i eat as well: I dont count calories or macros. I just eat when im hungry and what im craving. Somedays i eat less, somedays i eat more.But i do eat quite alot, as i know i need it. Also when you strength train, you need to give your body lots of food and enough rest so that the muscles can grow stronger!!
I dont have any restrictions on what type of food i eat. So i mean if im craving chocolate ill eat it, because i know that it wont harm me. But also, it wont ruin my progress. I dont eat junk food so often, just when i crave it, so i have nothing to worry about! Its about finding the balance.
For me, this works. And its a workout plan which i have created for myself. I do quite alot of different exercises, and try to vary the exercises as much as possible.
Usually my workouts are 1 hour (strength) and either i do a warm up of 10 minutes, or do HIIT for 20 minutes.
Somedays my workouts are longer, and can last 2 hours – if i do stretching and handstand/head stand practise afterwards. And somedays they are just an hour, so it depends on time, energy, mood etc But really, 2 hours is very excessive – however only about 80 minutes of the time is actual work, the rest is just stretching and ‘fun time’ as i like to call it, when i do things like practise chins/Pull ups/splits/handstand!!
^^ SO there you go. For those of you who are interested!!! If you have any questions, its just to ask!!