Is dark chocolate really better for you?

Hmm, the hype about dark chocolate having antioxidants is true, but don’t forget that dark chocolate is still chocolate. It still has tons of sugar and fat and can STILL raise your cholesterol and blood sugar if you consume too much.

Yes, I understand that it is better than milk chocolate since milk chocolate does not have antioxidants.

I suggest having dark chocolate with some kind of fruit like strawberries. At least you’ll get the antioxidants from the berries too.

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10 Great Tasting Heart Healthy Foods in Plain English

25 Top Heart-Healthy Foods

Here are some of the best tasting foods for your heart. There is something on the list for every taste.

Salmon
Grill salmon with a great tasting rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.

Flaxseed (ground)
Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods — yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.  

Oatmeal
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.

Black or Kidney Beans
Give soup or salad a nutrient boost — stir in some beans. 

Almonds
Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.  

Walnuts
Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes. 

Red wine
Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve “good” HDL cholesterol. 

Tuna
Here’s lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep “Salad Spritzer” a light dressing — in your office fridge. 

Tofu
Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry. 

Brown rice
B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber. Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).

Why are antioxidants so important and are they easy to eat?

Well, let me answer the second question. Antioxidants are found in 95% of all fruits and vegetables. So, if you like at least one fruit or vegetable, I suggest eating a lot of it as antioxidants can help fight against heart disease, aging, and other health issues.

Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unpaired electrons. In your body, free radicals attack health cells in an attempt to grab their electrons, which they usually lose. In attempt to recover their lost electrons, they steal them from healthy cells, making healthy cells become free radicals themselves. So, they multiply, which later on, can cause cancer, heart disease, aging, arthritus, and a whole other suite of problems. This process causes oxidation in your body and blood stream. Antioxidants basically donate their electrons to damaged cells without losing their own. So, it is a win win situation for all cells involved.

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is the best way to get antioxidants. All kinds of berries are rich in antioxidants including strawberries, blueberries (5 times as much as strawberries), rasperries (twice as much as blueberries). It is the Acai berry from Brazil that reigns in antioxidants and it has about 10 times as much as all the berries combined. This high level of antioxidants makes Acai one of the world’s superfoods. The Acai berry comes from the rainforest in Brazil and can be found in Mona Vie, the juice, rich in antioxidants from over 19 fruits.

Other frutis and veggies that contain a high level of antioxidants are pears, bananas, cherries, grapes, apples, citrus fruits, and more.

Since antioxidants are so important, they are always in the health news and will be in my blogs often.

What the heck is an empty calorie?

I was a coca cola junkie. I drank maybe, 2 or 3 cans of it every single day and ignored the warning signs. I also loved Sprite.

I would drink tons of this stuff every single day and never bothered to look at the nutrional information and then after I found out that diabetes runs in my family, I decided to check the sugar content of everything I consumed. Soda, in general, is a freaking wakeup call! An average can of non-diet soda has something in the range of 20 to 30 grams of sugar and lots of calories.

Now, the latest buzzword is “empty calories”. I really had no idea what an empty calorie is. After all, it must have had something in it. So, why would it be empty?

I found out that the empty calories simply are calories that can make you fat but provide very little nutrition. Soda is top fo the list! Even potato chips, the most popular junk food out there, has some potassium in it from its potato content, but soda, forget about it.

Now, you may love your soda and not care, but consider all the sugar you are getting and in some strange way, it makes it anything BUT an empty calorie. That means diabetics should drink water or even the beverage which I switched to, seltzer, which I call smart soda, because it is a smarter choice than soda.

Drink water, juice (watch the sugar content), and seltzer.

Avoid deep-fried foods. Instead of deep-frying, use other methods of cooking. For instance, have a baked potato with skin instead of fries, or a piece of baked skinless chicken breast instead of fried chicken.

Avoid sweetened drinks and canned drinks.

Try whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains are packed with beneficial fiber and antioxidants. For instance, have a slice of whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Have a bowl of whole-grain breakfast cereals or unsweetened oatmeal instead of corn flakes.

Snack on fruits! Instead of prowling for a box of crackers in the mid afternoon, snack on fruits. Better yet, dip them in low-fat yogurt to get additional calcium and protein.

Eat Healthy and Enjoy!

The green veggies and fruits that we should eat every day

Well, I don’t mean to eat ALL of these fruits every day, but mix your colors and get at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

These greens can help you with your antioxidant in take, which is good for heart disease and aging among other health issues:

Avocados

  • Green grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Broccoli
  • Green peppers
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Green peas
  • Snow peas

Most of these are delicious, but in case you cannot acquire a taste for them, dip them in fat free ranch dressing or even better, vinigar. Basalmic is my favorite.

The foods that can help your eyesight and prevent blindness

The reds, oranges, and yellows of Beta Carotene/Vitamin A are all good for the prevention of macular degeneration (blindness) and great for night vision and driving . Eats lots of them!

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Butternut squash
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Yellow wax beans

The focus is on the colors, folks!

 

Fruits and vegetables come in tons of colors and they always say that you should mix your fruits and veggies by eating different colors.

What is so true about that is that different colors actually mean different things nutrionally.

I found out that red and orange mean high beta carotene content which is found in carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, etc.

Beta-Carotene also helps prevent night blindness and other eye problems, skin disorders, enhance immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process. Sources of Beta-Carotene can be found in a good liquid multivitamin.
Not too bad!

Actually yellow foods are in the same category as reds and oranges:

Beta carotene high foods also contain high levels of vitamin A.

Ok, how about those green veggies that people say don’t taste all that great. After you read this, you may not care how they taste, because you will see how you can rrally improve your health with greens:

While dark green plant foods are loaded with nutrients, one of their biggest claims to fame is lutein. Lutein is an also an antioxidant (see my blog entry on antioxidants above) found in high levels in the eye’s macula, which sends the signal to the brain of what the eye sees and is also responsible for the central vision that enables us to drive, read and perform activities in which we need to see straight-ahead clearly. Degenration and macular damage happens with age and is the leading cause of blindness in elderly men and women. Regular consumption of lutein-rich foods helps prevent macula degeneration, thus lowering your risk of blindness.