If you’ve got your ear to the ground you will no doubt have been hearing about cacao powder benefits. However, there’s plenty of confusion surrounding raw cacao – what is it? Are the snack bars, protein powders and spreads (read: Pip and Nut) that list cacao also healthy?
But rather than sugarcoat the truth we asked NutriCentre nutritionist, Cassandra Barn to break down this healthy food trend into bite-size chunks.
Read on for why cacao powder benefits aren’t fake news.
First off, what is cacao?
“The botanical name for the cacao tree is theobroma cacao, which roughly translates as ‘food of the gods’,” states Motion Nutrition. In reality it’s the unprocessed chocolate superfood that’s turbocharged with magnesium flavanoids, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese to name a few. As raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans these nutritional wins aren’t lost during processing.
Four Cacao powder benefits
Raw cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium – a mineral that many of you lack from your diet. Magnesium is essential for energy production, for a healthy brain and nervous system, for our muscles and for strong bones and teeth. Magnesium may also support a healthy blood pressure.
Cacao is a source of iron, which builds the blood and helps to transport oxygen around our body, as well as potassium, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.
Cacao can also be high in flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity. Raw cacao and flavonoid-rich chocolate have been linked with heart health benefits including increasing the good form of cholesterol (HDL) in our blood, lowering blood pressure and even improving vascular function in patients with congestive heart failure. These effects are thought to be primarily due to the antioxidants contained in the cacao.
In addition, cacao contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA for short!). PEA is thought to elevate mood and
Learn the reasons to change over to a vegetarian diet, and start eating less meat today—or none at all!
Why are people drawn to vegetarianism? Some just want to live longer, healthier lives. Others have made the switch to preserve Earth’’s natural resources or from a love of animals and an ethical opposition to eating them.
Thanks to an abundance of scientific research that demonstrates the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, even the federal government recommends that we consume most of our calories from grain products, vegetables and fruits.
And no wonder: An estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophageal cancer.
Why go vegetarian? Chew on these reasons:
You’ll ward off disease.
Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop the progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States.
But the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. A vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume less animal fat and cholesterol (vegans consume no animal fat or cholesterol) and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce——another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!
You’ll keep your weight down.
The standard American diet—high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in plant-based foods and complex carbohydrates——is making us fat and killing us slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.
You’ll live longer.
If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, you can add about 13 healthy years to your life, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat. “People who consume saturated, four-legged fat have a shorter life span and more disability at the end of their lives. Animal products clog your arteries, zap your energy and slow down your immune system. Meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age.”
Want more proof of longevity?
Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world, according to a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians. Their secret: a low-calorie diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy.
You’ll build strong bones.
When there isn’t enough calcium in the bloodstream, our bodies will leach it from existing bone. The metabolic result is that our skeletons will become porous and lose strength over time. Most health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended——through foods. Foods also supply other nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D that are necessary for the body to absorb and use calcium.
People who are mildly lactose-intolerant can often enjoy small amounts of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and lactose-free milk. But if you avoid dairy altogether, you can still get a healthful dose of calcium from dry beans, tofu, soymilk and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards and turnip greens.
You’ll reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses.
The CDC reports that food-borne illnesses of all kinds account for 76 million illnesses a year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods rich in protein such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood are frequently involved in food-borne illness outbreaks.
You’ll ease the symptoms of menopause.
Many foods contain nutrients beneficial to perimenopausal and menopausal women. Certain foods are rich in phytoestrogens, the plant-based chemical compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen. Since phytoestrogens can increase and decrease estrogen and progesterone levels, maintaining a balance of them in your diet helps ensure a more comfortable passage through menopause. Soy is by far the most abundant natural source of phytoestrogens, but these
If going for a jog every once in a while is good for you — and it is — then going jogging every day packs a whole world of potential benefits, from faster weight loss (or maintaining a healthy weight) to improved mood, more energy and lower risk of chronic diseases. You should, however, be alert to the possibility of overtraining, and the effects of repeated high-impact exercise on your body.
Jogging every day offers numerous health benefits, but be aware of the risk of overtraining.
Credit: Marija Jovovic/E+/GettyImages
Jogging every day offers a host of potential benefits, including a stronger immune system, better stamina, weight loss, less risk of chronic diseases and a natural mood boost. However, it also poses a couple of potential risks, including the possibility of overtraining.
The Benefits of Jogging Regularly
Health.gov’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week. If you go for a half-hour jog every day, that’s enough to meet — and even beat — this requirement.
The Dietary Guidelines also notes that doubling the amount of cardio exercise to 300 minutes of moderate exertion each week yields even more extensive health benefits.
So, what’s on the menu for “better health through exercise”? The well-researched benefits of jogging and other cardiovascular exercise include:
A stronger immune system
Decreased risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
Help managing chronic conditions and improving quality of life
An improved cholesterol profile
A natural mood boost
Weight Bearing and Impact
Jogging is also a weight-bearing activity that can help you build and maintain strong bones in your lower body, as long as your bones, joints and muscles can handle the repeated impact of each footfall. If you know you have weakened bones or any other condition that might affect your ability to withstand a relatively high-impact exercise, speak to your doctor before jogging every day.
Some of the steps you can take to mitigate the impact of jogging include:
Run on softer surfaces — such as dirt or wood chips — instead of pavement or cement.
Warm up and stretch before you jog; then cool down and stretch after, to reduce your risk of injury.
You can also try “water jogging” in the pool, with a flotation belt to keep you above water. This gives you all the cardiovascular benefits of jogging, with none of the impact on your bones and joints.
If you’re new to exercising, or new to a particular type of exercise, it’s typical at first to develop some soreness — so that is one of the effects you might experience when you first start jogging. The good news is that this type of muscle soreness typically fades within a few days, and as your body adapts to the new exercise the soreness is less likely to come back.
While a little soreness is typical, it doesn’t have to be intense. You can minimize the soreness by taking it relatively easy on your first jogs and gradually
Being lonely hurts — it can even negatively impact your health. But the mere act of being alone with oneself doesn’t have to be bad, and experts say it can even benefit your social relationships, improve your creativity and confidence, and help you regulate your emotions so that you can better deal with adverse situations.
“It’s not that solitude is always good, but it can be good” if you’re open to rejecting the idea — common in the west — that time by yourself is always a negative experience you’re being forced into, according to Thuy-vy Nguyen, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Durham University, who studies solitude.
“We have some evidence to show that valuing solitude doesn’t really hurt your social life, in fact, it might add to it,” she said, pointing out that because solitude helps us regulate our emotions, it can have a calming effect that prepares us to better engage with others.
Choosing to spend time doing things by yourself can
The side effects of too much caffeine can be subtle. Here’s how your coffee addiction may be hurting your health.
You feel anxious
Ruminating about an upcoming event or deadline can fuel your desire to grab a comforting mug of java. Yet, the National Institute of Mental Health recommends that people who suffer from anxietyavoid caffeine. Why? Too much coffee can actually worsen the effects of anxiety, either by robbing you of proper sleep or triggering your flight or fight response. In a 1990 study published inPsychosomatic Medicine, 25 men were given a moderate dose of caffeine or a placebo before a stressful task. The men, who were all regular coffee drinkers, had higher blood pressure, stress hormones, and about double the reported stress level with the caffeine compared with the placebo.
Your stomach hurts
You may associate stomach pains with spoiled food or PMS cramps. You should add your morning brew to that list as well. In 2017, European scientists found that certain compounds in coffee stimulate the secretion ofstomach acidby your stomach cells. Taking an over-counter medication like Tums can neutralize the acid short-term, but if you suspect coffee is making your stomach hurt, think about changing your coffee consumption habits. These 7 things happen to your body when you drink coffee every day.
Your heart is racing
The feeling that your heart is beating too fast can be frightening. It may feel like
A healthy immune system reduces your chance of viral infection and flu. With these natural ways to boost the immune system, you can achieve a healthy immune system.
During the Flu or viral season, many of your mates might get sick but some would stand tall even when everyone in their home is sick with the flu. Have you ever wondered, how some people get sick very often and some are more prone to catching cold or viral infection? It’s all about the body’s immune system. The immune system is the first line of defense of our body against an alien microorganism entering the body. Stronger your immune system, lesser would
A pair of high heels is a common fashion accessory for many women. But according to research, frequent use of high heels can force your body into an unnatural “plantarflexed” (tiptoe) position and inflict severe damage to your health in the long term.
How heels affect different parts of your body
Spine – Walking in high heels causes your spine to sway unnaturally, and stresses your lumbar erector spinae muscle, leading to a sore lower back.
Knee – Heels put extra weight on the inner side of the knees and knee joints, leading to the risk of twisting injuries to the knees.
Feet – Heels cause your body mass to be shifted onto the balls of your feet. Apart from bunions, blisters and calluses, this uneven weight distribution can cause pinched nerves, swollen joints and Achilles tendonitis.
Varicose veins – Heels force your ankles to bend forward, restricting blood circulation in your lower limbs and leading to varicose veins. This may result in ruptured veins, and a swollen and painful sensation in your legs.
Calves – Long-term walking in heels shortens the muscles and tendons in your calves, leading to stiffness, reduced range of motion, and a higher risk of strains, sprains and lower-body injury.