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dark chocolate



3 Grab-and-Go Snacks That are No Good for You

By Karen Sherwood for NutritiousAmerica.com

In these last few days of October we rush around in search of the perfect costume, the most awesome carving pumpkin, and candy for the trick-or-treaters. And even before we have opened that first piece of Halloween loot we are bombarded with Christmas commercials, displays, and reminders that the rest of the holiday season is literally around the corner. Tis’ the season to have less and less time and a greater need for quick grab-and-go treats, sustenance to get you through.

There are so many options when it comes to grab-and-go snacks the grocery store isles are literally overflowing with them. Snacks claiming to be healthy, claiming to have a host of health supportive properties, but do they? Our Nutritious America detectives recently skimmed the grocery isles in search of questionable on-the-go healthy snacks.  Here are a few of the most popular culprits complete with our always unbiased opinions!
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Top 10 Foods for Better Brain Health

Michael Gonzalez-Wallace is the author of Super Body, Super Brain. You can read more from him at www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.

Who doesn’t want to get smarter? Who wants to look better or be healthier? Many recent studies have shown how specific nutrients have positive effects on the brain especially in those areas of the brain related to cognitive processing or feelings and emotions. Generally speaking, you want to follow a healthy diet for your brain that will lead to good blood flow, help maintain mental sharpness and reduce the risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We know how foods play a great role in our brain. This is the conclusion of several studies led by a phenomenal neuroscientist at UCLA, Gomez Pinilla.

According to one study, the super fats your brain needs most are Omega 3 fatty acids. Your brain converts them into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and promotes neuronal growth.


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Satisfy a Chocolate Craving on a Diet

Cultural reverance for chocolate has existed for centuries. Over the years, chocolate has been associated with decadence, luxury and relaxation. Cacao beans, which chocolate is made from, were so valuable that the Aztecs used them as a type of currency. Many Mesoamerican cultures considered chocolate to be magical and divine. The Smithsonian states that some historians believe that “evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia.” Although it was known in many cultures as an exotic treat for the elite, there’s a much more biological reason why humans crave chocolate. Chocolate triggers a series of chemical responses when it is eaten. There are numerous health benefits of chocolate including:

  • Reduced risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Improved blood flow to the brain which results in higher concentration, mental clarity and memory function
  • Increased production of serotonin and endorphins, which are hormones that regulate mood, sleep and other mental faculties
  • Antioxidant support


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Nutritionists “Heart” Dark Chocolate

Joy Bauer is a registered dietitian and the nutrition expert for the Today Show. She’s also the best-selling author behind several health books including Your Inner Skinny. You can visit her at JoyBauer.com, or follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.

Few nutrition research findings have brought me more pleasure than the discovery that chocolate can actually be good for you! We now have a large body of research showing that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduce clotting, and benefit overall heart health. But before you dive head-first into the nearest heart-shaped box of candy this Valentine’s Day, here’s what you need to know about choosing chocolates with the most health power.

Chocolate owes its health benefits to a category of antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids and other beneficial phytochemicals are found in cocoa solids, and dark chocolate contains a higher proportion of cocoa solids than milk chocolate, making it the more heart-healthy choice.  That’s because milk chocolate contains more added milk and sugar, which dilutes the cocoa content. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids, only cocoa butter, which means it’s not officially chocolate and doesn’t deliver any health-promoting flavonoids.
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Eating Healthy on Valentine’s Day

Historically, Valentine’s Day is a day full of boxes of chocolates, fancy dinners out, candy hearts and chocolate candy roses. For someone trying to lose weight or maintain a healthier lifestyle, being bombarded by high calorie foods can be tough. Sure, one candy or one dinner won’t do an enormous amount of damage – but you really don’t need to sacrifice yourself on the altar of St. Valentine. Not only that, but one day has a sneaky habit of becoming another day, and another and another. Do yourself a favor and don’t start.

One of the primary ways that we show love to each other is with food. It’s biologically innate in our make up, but it isn’t confined to high calorie/high fat foods. Here are some ways to celebrate the love that you have for your significant other in a healthy manner.


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