Chocolate has gotten a lot of buzz in recent years as a heart-healthy treat. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, plant nutrients that help repair cell damage. Flavanols—cocoa's main kind of flavonoid—help lower blood pressure, promote proper blood clotting and boost blood flow to the brain and heart. Add to that a hefty helping of minerals, fiber and other powerful antioxidants, and you have one sweet package. And the heart benefits are impressive: In one study of nearly 5,000 people, nibbling on chocolate five or more times a week was associated with a whopping 57 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared to non-chocolate eaters. (Keep in mind, though, that this was an observational study, so the research didn't prove a cause and effect.)
What exactly is a grazing table? Think of a cheese plate that has exploded to cover an entire table, consisting of everything from meats and cheeses to fruits, jams, nuts, herbs, olives, vegetables and dips, even desserts. They bring a little drama to the usual dinner party, with colorful presentations, height from decorated cake stands, seasonal foliage and a variety of beautiful bowls. Plus, they can provide guests with plenty of options to choose from so there's truly a little something for every tastebud.
Carolyn, agree completely, a plant-based Mediterranean style diet is the best diet for health. That includes some whole grains, ideally in intact form (such as farro, quinoa, and brown rice), some healthy proteins and fats (legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken), and mostly fruits and veggies. Refined grains, like white flour and sugar, and everything made from them (bread, pastas, backed goods, cereals, et cetera) are the real culprit.
I agree with you that there is big industry interest in maintaining the current unhealthy Western lifestyle, Azure. I also agree that certain pharmaceuticals manufacturers profited off of the popularity of opioids. Not sure how you can state the same of the prescribers, as I can’t see how there could have been a direct (or even indirect) financial incentive.
If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you’ve had enough of something in your life. Whether that something be the number on the scales, the fact your clothes no longer fit you, how you look in the mirror, comments people make about you, the way you feel, or something else altogether. This time, you’re motivated to do something different in the hope of experiencing a different outcome.
Eating healthy doesn't mean that you need to deprive yourself of delicious flavors and foods. (See: Please Stop Feeling Guilty About What You Eat) Try one of these healthy desserts for a snack that satisfies your sweet tooth or—if you're really dying for that ice cream or pizza—go ahead and indulge in something "unhealthy." (Just don't make it an all-the-time thing.) Life is all about balance, right?
At one of your meals today, double the amount of vegetables on your plate and skip the starch. A simple way to do it: Serve stir-fry over a bed of broccoli instead of rice. (Or turn the broccoli into rice!) The florets of the broccoli will soak up the sauce and juices from your dish just like the rice would have. Plus, you have the added cancer-fighting addition of indole 3-carbinol, a potent anti-cancer nutrient found in vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. (Also try making vegetable steaks instead of meat.)
Set a regular sleep schedule. When Shives treats insomnia patients, she tells them that although they can't make themselves fall asleep, they can make themselves get up at a certain time the next morning. And though they may be tired at first, if they don't nap, they may start sleeping better during the following nights. "We're going to get nowhere if they take big naps during the day and keep a very erratic sleep schedule; it's chaos then," Shives says.
Add a healthy kick to scrambled eggs by including salsa. Not only will it boost the flavor of your morning meal, but tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a nutrient that's been found to reduce cancer risk. Your body can absorb more lycopene from cooked or processed tomato products like salsa. (Try these other vegetable-filled breakfast ideas that don't include omelets.)
A 2018 analysis found a surprising link between yogurt and heart health in people with high blood pressure. In the study, researchers looked at data collected over 30 years from more than 55,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study, and more than 18,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They found that those who ate two or more servings of yogurt a week had a roughly 20 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate less. Adding yogurt to an already healthy diet upped the benefits even more.