Skinny Chocolate, the Raisin Trick, and More Surprises
It’s a chocolate lover’s dream. Imagine eating chocolate – long forbidden to dieters – and not just staying slim. But staying slimmer than people who avoid chocolate!
Well, that’s what a new study in The Archives of Internal Medicine seems to say.
Researchers reviewed health and diet data for nearly 1,000 people. Those who reported eating chocolate regularly, tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure of body fat. But it accounts for your weight and height. So you’d expect people who eat chocolate regularly to have a higher BMI than folks who avoid it.
Instead, this study discovered that eating chocolate seems to have the opposite effect.1
Chocolate has already been linked to healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Now, it seems, eating a little chocolate a few times a week may have other benefits as well.
And here’s another delicious food that you might want to try… hot peppers. That’s because another new study found they may have an unexpected effect.
You may know capsaicin – the chemical that makes hot peppers hot – is a powerful pain reliever. But it may boost heart health, too.
In a recent study, capsaicin promoted healthy cholesterol levels… and supported good circulation.2 so, if you have a taste for jalapeños, go ahead and indulge. You may be doing your heart a big favor.
Another possible heart-booster was just revealed at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
Doctors gathered a group of volunteers with slightly high blood pressure. They gave the group various snacks 3 times a day.
At the end of the 12 weeks, the volunteers who ate one snack in particular had lower blood pressure. It was raisins.3
The researchers think the reaction may be linked to raisins’ high potassium content, along with the fiber, antioxidants, and other healthful compounds they contain.
Dried fruits tend to be high in sugar and calories, so I wouldn’t go overboard. But as an occasional snack, raisins may be more than just tasty.
Scientists have also discovered a possible shortcut to a leaner, sexier body.
A Rutgers University team discovered feeding animals a hormone made them leaner and more muscular.4 the hormone – called brassinosteroid – occurs naturally in plants such as mustard.
Mustard greens are also high in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and fiber. So they’re already an excellent food choice. If they can help you get leaner and more muscular, too, it’s an extra bonus.
Finally, here’s a brain bonus curry lovers may be getting.
Turmeric is a common curry spice linked to a number of health benefits – including joint comfort and liver health. And now there’s growing evidence it may be good for your brain, too.
Several years ago, scientists realized mature adults in India have a far lower rate of certain types of mental decline than their peers in the U.S. In fact, the rate in India is less than 25% of the rate here.
Now, animal studies show that curcumin – the active chemical in turmeric – blocks a suspected cause of this decline. Which means turmeric may be a potent “brain food.”
Like mustard, the effects of turmeric haven’t been proven in humans. But also like mustard, turmeric has many health benefits. So enjoying curries more often is a healthy idea anyway.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team1 Golomb, B.A., et al, “Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index,” Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172(6): 519-521. 2 Chen, Z.Y., et al, “Hot Pepper Compound Could Help Hearts,” American Chemical Society. Mar 14, 2012. 3 Bays, H., et al, “Snacking on Raisins May Offer a Heart-Healthy Way to Lower Blood Pressure,” American College of Cardiology. Mar 25, 2012. 4 Esposito, D., et al, “Anabolic effect of plant brassinosteroid,” The FASEB Journal. Oct 2011; 25(10): 3708-3719. 5 Zhang, C., et al, “Curcumin decreases amyloid-beta peptide levels by attenuating the maturation of amyloid-beta precursor protein,” J Biol Chem. Sep 10, 2010; 285(37): 28472-28480.