Health Tips

5 Chocolate Treats That are Surprisingly Healthy

5 Chocolate Treats That are Surprisingly Healthy

Chocolate lovers rejoice! A research evidence shows that consuming chocolate may help in lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, and even reducing insulin resistance 2.

But, although cacao has been known to have health benefits, many chocolate treats are filled with added sugar, butter, and other ingredients which make them less than healthy.

The good news is that there is a list of chocolate treats which are actually good for you. Which means you can enjoy these healthy and cocoa-rich foods without feeling any guilt.

5 Chocolate Snacks that are Actually Good for You:

1. Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Did you know that chocolate covered espresso beans are very healthy. The flavenols present in espresso beans contain strong antioxidant activity, protecting you from environmental contaminants and oxidative stress that cause cellular damage 2.

Also, caffeine consumption has been associated with lower levels of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease 4.

But, limit yourself to a 1-ounce serving of chocolate covered espresso beans to avoid the negative effects of caffeine. These include rapid heart rate, jitteriness, and increased blood pressure 4.

2. Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds

Dark chocolates are filled with beneficial antioxidants, including the flavonoids called catechins, procyanidins, and epicatechins 1. These flavonoids are able to counteract oxidative damage, that accumulates in cells and is linked with disease and inflammation.

People with high flavonoid levels have been reported to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer 1.

Almonds are considered to be superfood. Consuming a diet rich in almonds can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes 3.

But, bear in mind the portion sizes when consuming dark chocolate covered almonds, as 1 serving is equivalent to a small handful of these snacks. Your total caloric intake can increase when you overindulge because almonds are an energy dense food.

3. DIY Fondue

When making the homemade Fondue, melt 1 ounce of dark chocolate, then dip your choice of fruit in it. You can use blueberries, apple slices and strawberries for double the heart-healthy flavanols. You can refrigerate it or enjoy it warm, according to Joan Salge Blake, R.D., a clinical associate professor at Boston University and author of Nutrition & You.

4. Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are typically filled with butter and added sugars which make them an unhealthy choice. For a healthy chocolate chip cookies, swap banana for the eggs, then put heart-healthy rolled oats, and add almond or soy milk for moisture 5.

Choosing high-quality dark chocolate can bring that big difference in the end product. Also, you may chop some high-quality chocolate bar into pieces for that chocolate chunk effect.

5. Rich Hot Cocoa

The cocoa beverages that you purchase from coffeeshops are often filled with mounds of whipped cream, extra pumps of flavored syrup, and drizzles of chocolate syrup. But this does not mean that hot cocoa has to be unhealthy.

How to:
1. You can make an antioxidant-rich cacao drink at home by combining 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder into a mug of hot milk. This can be nut, soy, dairy or rice milk. Then add a bit of agave syrup and vanilla extract for flavor and sweetness.

2. If you are truly craving whipped cream, you can make a healthy vegan whipped cream from raw cashews. Just soak 1 cup of raw cashews into ½ cup of water for at least 3 hours. Thenblend the mixture using a food processor, adding 1 teaspoon of honey for natural sweetness.

Lee, M. (2013). Cookie recipes that are guilt free. Prevention. Retrieved from,,20727879,00.html

Lee, M. (2013)Hooper et al. (2012). Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(3), 740-751.

Rao, L. (2011). Dark chocolate packs a big antioxidant wallop. Prevention. Retrieved from

Sagon, C. (2013). Caffeine for your health — too good to be true? American Association of Retired Persons. Retrieved from

Truex, L. (n.d.). What are the health benefits of chocolate covered espresso beans? The Nest. Retrieved from

WHFoods (2014a). Almonds. Retrieved from

photo credit: pixabay

Posted by Lisa in Health, 0 comments
5 best secrets to good night sleep

5 best secrets to good night sleep

We all know how important is a good night sleep. A survey byNational Sleep Foundation found that about 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.

  1. Ventilation – If your bedroom has been closed all day because you have been at work, it has higher level of carbon dioxide (according to new study Indoor Air). When you get back home from your office, open your bedroom window a little to get some air circulation going in your bedroom. Even better if you can sleep with the window just a little open.
  2. Continue reading →

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7 Tips to Hack Your Metabolism to Lose More Weight

7 Tips to Hack Your Metabolism to Lose More Weight

Your ultimate weight loss driver is none other than your metabolism. How you impact your metabolism determines the amount of pounds that you will lose.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is the term that is used for all the chemical reactions that are taking place in your body, from creating hormones in your body and converting food to fuel.

Here are some research-backed strategies you can use to speed up your metabolism. This means that burning more calories while at rest or increasing the daily expenditure with standby methods such as physical activity and exercise is a must.

But worry not, because a more efficient metabolism is well within your reach. These below hacks can reset your metabolism and get the body you have always wanted.

How to Hack Your Metabolism to Lose More Weight:

1. Consume Some Probiotics

What do kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles have in common? These foods are all delicious and healthy ways to boost your metabolism faster.

Researchers at the Imperial College London have found a link between consumption of probiotics, such as those present in fermented foods, and the metabolic changes associated with weight loss and decreased fat absorption.

Therefore, if you are eager to kick your metabolism into gear, start by adding some fermented foods into your diet.

2. Bring On the Heat

The researchers at Maastricht University and the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences reported that supplementation using even just a small amount of capsaicin, which is the compound that makes hot foods spicy, increased the subject particpant’s calorie burn. This is minus the increase in their blood pressure, which makes it a safe metabolic remedy for persons who cannot add high-intensity exercise into their routine.

Even if you are not into spicy food, you can still try the calorie-burning benefits of capsaicin by adding some paprika into your food. Chili peppers are not the only metabolism-booster in your kitchen pantry.

3. Drink More Water

According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, drinking more water may help in increasing the rate at which healthy people burn calories.

After drinking approximately 17 ounces of water or about 2 tall glasses, study participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30%. The researchers estimate that by increasing water consumption by at least 1.5 liters daily or about 6 cups, would burn an extra 17,400 calories over the course of 1 year, which is a weight loss of approximately 5 pounds.

4. Fill Up on Protein

To burn more calories from your food, while also feeding your muscles the nutrients needed for growth and repair, make sure you are meeting your daily protein needs.

Recent guidelines that were provided by the International Society of Sports Nutrition, recommends a consumption of at least 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily. This means that, a 140-pound woman should aim for roughly 89-127 grams of protein daily.

5. Get Some Early Morning Sunlight

One of the easiest tools that can help boost your metabolism is not only free, but is easily available. Getting some early morning sunlight could be the answer to losing those excess pounds.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine reported that persons who were exposed to early morning sunlight had lower BMIs. These are independent of other factors which are known to affect metabolism, including ge, calorie consumption, and exercise.

The power of the early morning sunlight is so potent, that individuals who caught the same amount of sunshine just a few hours later did not get the same metabolism-boosting effects.

6. Get Moving for at Least 2.5 Minutes

A research that was published in the journal Physiological Reports had shown that people who did 5, 30-second bursts of max-effort cycling, followed by 4 minutes of rest, burned 200 extra calories. That is about 2.5 minutes of work for a resting metabolism boost that will last for 24-48 hours.

7. Laugh

Laughter may cause a 10-20% increase in your resting heart-rate and basal energy expenditure, that is according to a study that was published in the International Journal of Obesity. This means that a 10-15 minute giggle fest could burn approximately 40-170 calories.

Posted by Lisa in Health, 0 comments
What are Phloem Bundles (Banana Strings) and Should You Eat Them?

What are Phloem Bundles (Banana Strings) and Should You Eat Them?

Bananas are the perfect on-the-go snack because of its rich source of potassium and fiber. The only negative side to the fruit are those irritating leathery strings or strands, – which are actually known as phloem bundles. These are the strings that you get, when you peel back the banana skin.

Those stringy threads may not be the most palatable, but did you know that they are in fact very important? You would not be able to consume bananas without these strings.

What are Phloem Bundles?

Phloem is the one responsoble for delivering important nutrients to plant cells, while xylem, transports water throughout the plant, Basically speaking, phloem bundles or banana strings, are loaded with nutrients that plants need to thrive and grow. Nutrients that people, also, can benefit from if they are eaten.

What are the Nutrients in Phloem Bundles?

It is still unproven whether or not banana strings contain higher levels of nutrients, as compared to other parts of the banana fruit. But, the case, however, seems solid.

Although researchers have not specifically tested phloem bundles, it is possible that there would be a difference in its nutritional value. Since these phoem bundles are intended to do a specific job, and likely have a defined structure which supports that job, these strings would be expected to have a different compound profile, as compared to the regular edible banana flesh, that is according to Dr. Nicholas D. Gillitt, PhD, as published in the Huffington Post.

But, one has to be consuming quite a lot of banana strings, to really notice a difference. This is because these strings are present in such small amounts, as compared to the rest of the banana. That unless you are eating a large amount of them individually, these would not be expected to impact the overall nutrition profile of the banana.

Is It Possible to Grow Bananas Without Phloem Bundles?

It is potentially possible to develop bananas minus the phloem bundles, but these are essential for the adequate disposition of nutrients throughout the plant. Therefore,these are not truly bothersome.

How to Consume the Banana Strings?

If the texture of the phloem bother you, but you still want to reap its nutritional benefits, you may consider consuming the bananas by making a smoothie. When you blend the strings in with the rest of your drink, it will make them completely unnoticeable.

Banana Smoothie Recipe:

This banana smoothie recipe is extra fruity and creamy and. Depending on how ripe your banana and orange are, you may need to add a extra honey. Just add based on your taste.


1-2 teaspoons honey
1 Banana
1/2 Orange
1/3 cup Yogurt
1/4 cup Milk

1. Chop the banana and oranges.
2. Add into the blender.
3. Combine yogurt and milk.
4. Blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Adjust with honey if necessary.

photo credit: pixabay

Posted by Lisa in Health, 0 comments