Four ways that cocoa can supercharge your health

You may not know it, but cocoa makes other so-called superfoods pale in comparison. That’s pretty sweet if you ask me!

Offering your health a titan of benefits, raw cocoa can supercharge your health in many different ways! Here are some top health benefits of cocoa.

cocoa-powder-4

Four health benefits of cocoa

#1: Cocoa can save your skin

Dealing with problem skin? No problem – cocoa can help! Brimming with antioxidants that are fantastic for repairing skin cells and neutralising harmful free radicals, cocoa is suitable for treating just about any skin issue, according to dermatologist Ava Shamban.

#2: Cocoa crushes sugar cravings

Pass up on the sweet treats and take a whiff of cocoa instead. Cocoa powder has a rich, seriously indulgent aroma, so you’ll often be satisfied by simply smelling it, says founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation Alan Hirsch.

#3: Cocoa promotes heart health

Cocoa is fantastic for treating your ticker. The flavonoids in cocoa are linked to a number of cardio perks, from reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol, to lowering blood pressure, according to director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital Suzanne Steinbaum.

#4: Cocoa enhances your mood

Cocoa can make more than just your taste buds happy … it can make you happy, too! Containing more than 300 compounds, many of which enhance your brain chemistry, cocoa powder is the ultimate mood-booster, explains author of Eat Your Way to Happiness Elizabeth Somer. Some of these compounds boost your serotonin and endorphin levels, both of which generate a happy mood.

With all these amazing benefits, I don’t know about you, but I’ll sure be enjoying many mugs of hot cocoa this winter!

Advertisements

Three things you didn’t know about yoghurt

As you already know, yoghurt is a dairy wonder that’s beneficial for your health in many ways.

Rich in calcium and an excellent source of high-quality protein, this nutrient-rich, all-star food is delicious no matter how you eat it – whether it’s on its own or in smoothies.

However, there are a couple of facts about yoghurt I bet you didn’t know – I’m letting you in on three of them.

flavored-yogurt-10-easy-ways-get-processed-food-out-your-diet

Three surprising health benefits of yoghurt

#1: Yoghurt improves your digestion

That’s right – this creamy stuff can easy all of your tummy troubles! The probiotics AKA friendly bacteria in yoghurt helps balance the microflora in your gut, which in turn helps with digestion and keeps you regular, according to culinary and nutrition expert Robin Plotkin (RD). Considering 80% of your immunity lies in your gut, it goes without saying that maintaining optimal gut health is key to a strong immune system and excellent overall health.

#2: Yoghurt is great for your heart

One of the most surprising reasons to heart yoghurt? It keeps your ticker healthy! According to associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Alvaro Alonso, eating low-fat and fat-free yoghurt may also help lower your risk of developing high blood pressure. The special proteins, calcium, magnesium and potassium in yoghurt contribute to this blood pressure-lowering effect.

#3: Yoghurt can do wonders for your skin

Forget those pricy skin treatments to perfect your problem skin. According to dermatologist Hema Sundaram, yoghurt is rich in lactic acid, which is a component in some in-office chemical peels. Lactic acid is a super-gentle exfoliator that sloughs dead cells of the top layers of the epidermis, which helps clear up blemishes and discolourations as well as smooth out wrinkles.

And there you have it – three awesome health facts about yoghurt! Do you know of any others?

Here’s why the pomegranate is the anti-ageing queen of fruits

For years now, you’ve known that eating pomegranate seeds and drinking pomegranate juice is a healthy thing to do. The fruit is high in vitamin C, polyphenol compounds, catechins and anthocyanins. Those qualities alone make this ruby red fruit a nutritional powerhouse to include in your diet regularly and to fight free radical damage to your DNA.

 

But there’s even more you should know about pomegranates that make them both a powerful disease fighter as well as an effective anti-ageing substance. Want to find out more? Then read on.

large (2)

 

The anti-ageing benefits of pomegranates

Pomegranates are incredible, somewhat mystical fruits. The world of natural medicine has been using the seeds of this fruit for centuries to treat stomach aches, conjunctivitis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, viruses and even diabetes. Yet, it wasn’t until pretty recently that researchers found out about the fruit’s impressive anti-ageing properties.

Pomegranates contain active compounds that stimulate keratin cells, which are the cells present in healthy, youthful skin. These compounds also help stimulate collagen and elastin production, helping preserve firmness, tone and volume.

Another skin-loving compounds that pomegranates contain is punicic acid; an omega-5 fatty acid that helps your skin hold onto collagen. It also helps rehydrate skin and prevent moisture loss, giving your skin a plumper, more radiant look.

Due to pomegranate’s natural rejuvenating effect on skin, anti-ageing experts have deemed this fruit an ultimate natural anti-ageing solution. And that it is! Pomegranates can help improve skin tone, texture and elasticity, as well as prevent fine lines, redness, dark spots and wrinkles.

large (3)

 

How to use pomegranate on your skin in a homemade face mask

One of my favourite ways to use pomegranate on my skin is in the form of a raw honey and pomegranate anti-ageing face mask. It’s really easy to mix up and apply. Here’s what to do:

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 fresh pomegranate

What to do:

  1. Peel your pomegranate and place the seeds in a blender.
  2. Add the honey and blend until a smooth mixture is formed with the seeds completely blended.
  3. Apply the mask to your face and neck (make sure your skin is clean). Be sure to avoid the delicate eye area.
  4. Leave the mask on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water.
  5. Follow up with a toner or moisturiser of your choice.

How this mask will help:

  • It will gently exfoliate your skin
  • It will leave your skin feeling fresh and clean
  • It will leave your complexion looking clear and supple
  • It will stimulate the production of collagen
  • It will replenish moisture in your skin
  • It will give your skin an incredible glow

Try this mask out for yourself to experience the wonderful skin health benefits of pomegranates!

How to tell if your food is rich in antioxidants

I’ve already explained the importance of taking in a good amount of antioxidants each day through healthy meals.

 

And now, I’m going to teach you how to tell if the food you’re eating is a good source of antioxidants…

large (5)

 

Ask yourself these questions to determine if your food is rich in antioxidants

Does the food item contain fresh, frozen or dried fruits and/or vegetables? Read the ingredients list on food labels. If a product contains these ingredients, it’s very likely that it contains antioxidants. Also note that fresh fruits and veggies are richer in antioxidants than frozen or dried ones.

Does the food item contain real, natural fruit and/or vegetable juices? Many juices actually contain more artificial flavourings and sweeteners than real, natural. This is why it’s important you read the label to ensure you’re getting the real thing, along with all the natural antioxidants and nutrients.

Does the label say “whole grain”? Whole grain products contain higher antioxidant values and more nutrients than refined grain products like white bread and pasta. Eat whole grain products to get the best antioxidants to boost your health.

I hope these tips help you make better food choices!

Three reasons why peanut butter actually won’t ruin your diet

Are you a peanut butter lover? Then I have some great news for you…

 

Up until now, I’ve viewed peanut butter as a guilt-ridden indulgence akin to chocolate bars, cookies and cakes – diet disasters to be avoided at all costs.

 

Here’s why I’ve been wrong…

 

large (17)

 

#1: It helps you lose weight
Calling peanut butter a diet food, with 180 to 210 calories per serving, may seem counter-intuitive. But it has the enviable combination of fibre (2 g per serving) and protein (8 g per serving) that fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer, so you eat less overall. Plus, there’s nothing more indulgent than licking peanut butter off a spoon – and indulgence (in moderation) helps dieters fight cravings and stay on track.

#2: It’s packed with nutrition
A serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. Research shows that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming 28 g of nuts or peanut butter (about 2 tablespoons) at least 5 days a week can lower your risk of developing diabetes by almost 30%.

#3: It’s got the good fat
Peanut butter is chock-full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. A recent study found that insulin-resistant adults who ate a diet high in monounsaturated fat had less belly fat than people who ate more carbohydrates or saturated fat. PS: If you’re buying reduced-fat peanut butter because you think it’s better for your waistline, save your money. The calories are the same (or even a little higher) thanks to the extra ingredients that manufacturers add to make up for the missing fat (including more sugar).