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. (more…)
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.
Watch out, donuts lovers of the world. Krispy Kreme, that iconic, yummy scented denizen of the South, has unveiled a new treat. Called the Dark Chocolate Kreme Doughnut, the signature yeast raised doughnut is filled with a rich dark chocolate cream and hand dipped in dark chocolate frosting. It is then drizzled with more chocolate. The doughnut is available for a limited time and will be out of their shops by February 14.
In conjunction with their “Celebrate Chocolate” theme, Krispy Kreme pairs the Dark Chocolate doughnut with their European Dark Hot Chocolate. The hot chocolate is topped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. Be careful, though – this combination may be delicious, warm and filling during the brutal weather we’ve been experiencing this winter, but it’s deadly to your diet. The Dark Chocolate Doughnut has 360 calories, 22 grams of fat and 40 grams of carbohydrates. A 16 ounce Hot Chocolate contains 320 calories, 8 grams of fat and 85 grams of carbohydrates. If you choose this afternoon snack, you’ll need to spend more than 3 hours walking at a brisk pace or play racquetball for more than an hour and a half to counteract it.
Dietician Cynthia Sass is the author behind several diet books, including Prevention’s Flat Belly Diet. Her latest book, Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, outlines a diet plan for people who are tired of counting calories and even requires a little chocolate.
The Cinch! diet ditches calorie counting in favor of guidelines for healthy eating. The plan recommends that you eat four meals per day, and every meal is constructed as a puzzle that contains the same five pieces. The pieces are:
1. Produce (Fruit at breakfast and snack meals, vegetables at lunch and dinner)
3. Lean protein (Includes vegetarian, vegan and omnivore choices)
4. Plant-based fat
5. Slimming and satiating seasonings (vinegar, citrus juice, cinnamon, ginger, ect.)
Tune in this Wednesday, December 29 to The Doctors to learn about ten seemingly unhealthy foods and behaviors that are actually good for you.
Vices, guilty pleasures, secret indulgences – we all have them. Find out what forbidden food you should eat without shame and which bad behaviors can help improve your life. (more…)