The Easter holiday marks the beginning of spring, which comes with many temptations. Choosing to lead a healthy life could prove to be a difficult task during a month filled with chocolate and alcohol. ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Kristen Bobik, D.C., L.Ac. offers these tips and tidbits to stare temptation in the face and turn your indulgences into healthy immune boosting treats.
A Glass a Day Keeps the Doctor Away – Red wine is packed with powerful antioxidants proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition to improving brain function, increasing lifespan and fighting cancer; phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and resveratrol decrease the effects of aging by preventing “free radicals” from causing cellular damage in the body.
“My Goodness My Guinness” – Darker beers favor the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and inhibiting the oxidation of unhealthy cholesterol. Drinks such as, Guinness, can raise your good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) and thin your blood, preventing clotting and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Everything in Moderation – Heavy drinking can lead to weight gain. Keep in mind that one bottle of wine is about 480 calories, that’s equivalent to two 20-ounce Cokes! In addition, over consumption can trigger migraine headaches due to the tannins and sulfates in most wine.
“Life is Like a Box of Chocolates” – The benefits of chocolate have been known for thousands of years and some native tribes who regularly consumed cocoa showed very low rates of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the natural compound found in cocoa, epicatechins, has been found to restore function to blood vessels. Chocolate, which contains endorphins, has also proven to improve one’s mood and well-being.
Not All Chocolate is Created Equal – When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. As chocolate becomes processed, the amount of antioxidants dwindles. Added ingredients like sugar and dairy may interfere with the absorption of beneficial antioxidants. Bobik suggests consuming a moderate amount of organic, unprocessed, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa.
Bobik offers this friendly advice for those with a sweet tooth, “In a month where chocolate bunnies fill the grocery store shelves, it is easy to feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s O.K. to give in to temptation, just be smart about it…So indulge on these plant phenol-rich super foods during this holy season… but keep well by indulging in moderation. Happy Easter, everyone!”
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