Do you or someone you know experience constant chronic pain? If your answer is “yes”, your best bet to help yourself (and them!) is to have a piece of dark chocolate.
Yes, really! Chocolate helps reduce pain and improve overall health. In fact, the health benefits of dark chocolate are so extensive that it is considered by many to be a superfood.
The benefits of chocolate come from the cacao bean. The higher the concentration of cacao in your chocolate, the more health benefits you get.
While there are many different types of chocolate, dark chocolate with a cacao content of 65 percent or more is best for reducing chronic pain.
Dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate because it has more healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, more fiber, higher levels of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Dark chocolate also has more flavonoids, which are nutrients found in plants that reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
Here are 4 unexpected health benefits of dark chocolate — aka healthy reasons to eat more of it
1. Your hormones increase
Chocolate increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates. As a result, it decreases pain and lifts your mood.
It’s also the only known food source of ananamide, a natural cannabinoid that attaches to the body’s cannabis receptors, just like marijuana. This is another source of chocolate’s pain-relieving effects.
Chocolate also boosts the release of the body’s natural amphetamines, phenylethylamine, which increases energy.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that acts as an antidepressant, is also boosed by eating chocolate. This may be why so many people reach for chocolate when they need a mood boost.
2. It’s good for the heart
The heart benefits of chocolate are considerable. It helps restore the flexibility of the arteries as well as preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.
Eating chocolate has also been shown to reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholestrol and raise levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL).
As a result, it reduces atherosclerosis, a disease of plaque buildup inside arteries. Probably because of these effects, daily chocolate consumption has been linked to a lower risk of stroke.
3. Your brain also benefits
Chocolate is also good for the brain. A study at Harvard Medical School found that two cups of hot chocolate a day helped improve blood flow to essential parts of the brain.
This indicates that chocolate could help in fighting diseases of progressive cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s.
4. It has benefits during pregnancy
If someone you love is expecting, there are health benefits to eating chocolate for both mom and baby.
A Finnish study found that pregnant women who ate chocolate had less stress and their babies smiled more than the babies of moms who didn’t eat chocolate.
So, with all these dark chocolate health benefits, what’s not to like?
Well, chocolate does have a lot of calories, about 150 per ounce, so moderation is key. The trick is to substitute it for less healthy treats.
So the next time you’re looking for a dessert for yourself or a gift for someone you love, choose a nice box of dark chocolates.
You’ll get a tasty treat, plus some great health benefits and chronic pain relief, too!
When it comes to an action as involuntarily as sneezing, there is little we can do about it. When we feel the urge to cough or sneeze, our reflex reaction is to cover our mouth with our hands.
But what if we told you that you have been sneezing the wrong way all along and no, we are NOT kidding?
As a society, we have been taught since childhood to say “excuse me” and “I am sorry”, whenever we cough or sneeze.
But what we are NOT told (or we have conveniently forgotten) is that when your body is clearing out the airways with a sudden expulsion of air out of the nose and mouth, you are not supposed to use your hands as a cover. You need to change the way you sneeze
Yes, we know that nobody is carrying tissues or handkerchiefs all the time and sneezes do come unannounced. But if you sneeze on your hands, it actually becomes really easy to transfer those germs to someone else, from doorknobs, taps to handrails.
“If somebody sneezes into their hands, that creates an opportunity for those germs to be passed on to other people, or contaminate other objects that people touch,” Dr Vincent Hill, chief of the waterborne disease prevention branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What should you do instead?
Thankfully, the solution is not that difficult. If you do not have a tissue or napkin handy, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve (not on your palms) or in the bend of your arm. The important thing to remember is that you will still need to WASH your hands after sneezing.
Did you know that this hygiene etiquette, issued by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), has been around for more than a decade? Yeah, no kidding. So the next time you have the urge to expel a million bacteria out of your airways, we suggest that you steer clear of using your hands.
Orange is the best color for eye health! The color is produced by beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body
These nutrients help increase vision at night and prevent eye dryness
Helps reduce the risk of eye infections
Lutein and zeaxanthin are related to vitamin A and beta-carotene
Will protect your eye tissues from sunlight damage
Reduces risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
Eat dark, leafy greens with a fat, such as olive oil, to maximize absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Super high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds
Catechins may help lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
You can also find catechins in chocolate and red wine
Quinoa, brown rice, and whole grain oats are high in vitamin E, zinc, and niacin which are eye-boosting nutrients
Niacin is important for overall eye health
Many grains are fortified with niacin
Try swapping white carbohydrates for brown one
Another orange vegetable that is a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene
The extra vitamin A will fuel rhodopsin, the protein necessary to help the retina absorb light
Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables that are yellow and orange. They help decrease the risk of many eye diseases and infections.
Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are high in omega-3, a fatty acid our eyes need to thrive
Nuts and legumes are high in vitamin E which has shown to improve vision and slow age-related issues
Water is essential to everything, but if you’re experiencing dry eyes or blurry vision you may be at risk for dehydration
Water also helps flush out toxins from the body
Keeping hydrated with water will also help in focus and concentration with your eyesight
Just 15 minutes of jogging every day could reduce the risk of depression, a doctor has said.
Speaking on the back of a recent study that found physically active people are less at risk of the mental health condition, a medic from Massachusetts General Hospital urges the public to ‘just move’.
Whenever patients come to him complaining they are feeling down, the doctor tells them to ‘get outside and do something’ before he will prescribe an antidepressant. Dr David Agus, from the hospital’s department of psychiatry, told CBS News: ‘My patients now, when they say, “I’m starting to feel a little depressed and not do as much,” my first thing is not prescribe a pill, but get outside and do something.’
‘Fifteen minutes of jogging, an hour of gardening.’
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US for people aged 15-to-44, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
The condition affects more than 16.1million Americans (6.7 per cent) every year.
And in the UK, 19.7 per cent of people over 16 showed symptoms of depression or anxiety in 2014, Mental Health Foundation statistics show.
President Akufo-Addo says his government is working to complete abandoned infrastructure in the health sector.
He said although there are difficulties in working on abandoned infrastructure as new ones are being put up, the government remains committed to completing them to improve the quality of health service delivery in the country.
Addressing parliament during his third state of the nation address on Thursday, Akufo-Addo noted that the incident of having many uncompleted and abandoned health facility projects is a sign of “underdevelopment” that has plagued the country for many years.
“We have problems of numerous structures at various stages of completion that cannot be finished and brought to use because new structures are being started and there is no money to finish the ones started earlier. Again, this is a long standing problem that is a mark of our underdevelopment. We will not ignore or sweep the problem under the carpet and we are dealing with it and we will complete them,” he said.
The government in August 2018 said it was actively pursuing the completion of some abandoned hospitals aimed at tackling the health crisis the country faced.
The assurance was premised on Citi FM and OccupyGhana petition to the Presidency demanding the operationalization of all completed but non-functioning health facilities and timelines for the competition of abandoned ones.
The government through the Ministry of Health in an extensive response to that petition gave specific timelines for the competition of the key health facilities it had identified and had direct oversight responsibility for.
The facilities were the Wa Regional Hospital, Madina district hospital, Nsawkaw district hospital and the Tepa district hospital.
The others were the Twifo Praso hospital, Kumasi Regional hospital, Salaga district hospital and Konongo district hospital.
But Citi FM’s latest checks revealed that the government had missed some of its deadlines, and it was unlikely to complete abandoned projects on time.
But the government insists that it is working to ensure that the abandoned and uncompleted infrastructure are completed and put to use.
President Akufo-Addo further added that the government is expecting some 275 ambulances in June 2019 to improve the delivering of emergency healthcare services in the country.
“We are expecting the arrival of 275 ambulances ie. 1 per constituency, to make treatment of emergency cases more effective. Drone technology has also been introduced into that system to help deliver essential medicines, blood and blood products to remote communities. We still face problems of inadequate infrastructure in our health establishments,” he said.
Having acne trouble? A balanced diet along with a healthy lifestyle can help you curb it, say experts.
Preeti Seth, Cosmetologist, Pachouli Wellness Clinic, Delhi, and Prabhu Mishra, Senior Cosmetologist, SCI International Hospital, Delhi, tell what all one should eat to keep acne at bay.
* Brown rice: Brown rice is a rich source of vitamin B, protein, magnesium, and several antioxidants. For acne, vitamin B acts as our skin’s stress fighter, which will help regulate hormones levels and prevent the likelihood of breakouts.
* Garlic: Garlic is another super food that helps fight inflammation. Garlic is full of a naturally occurring chemical called allicin, which kills off many harmful bacteria and viruses your body might be fighting, so its proven to be good for reducing inflammation in acnes.
* Broccoli: It is the perfect skin clearing food. It contains health building properties like vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K. These antioxidants fight radical damage which will assist with the luminosity of your skin.
* Fish: Known to be a very good source of omega-3 and 6-fatty acids, fish is excellent for an acne prone skin. These acids reduce inflammation in the skin. Sardine and salmon are very good for skin.
* Nuts: Deficiencies in minerals such as zinc and selenium have been linked to acne. Most nuts contain selenium, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and iron, which are all essential for healthy skin.
* Fennel: If you are looking for the perfect natural skin cleanser, eat fennel. This licorice-tasting root vegetable can improve digestion, reduce swelling and help to flush out excess fluids and toxins in your skin.
* Green tea: Many studies show that green tea helps fight acne. Drink more green tea throughout the day, and try applying cooled tea bags or a cloth dipped in cooled green tea to acne-prone areas of your face for 10-15 minutes.
* Red grapes: The fruit and seed contain powerful natural chemicals and antioxidants that have been shown to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. On top of this, grapes can also help to control the side effects of allergic reactions on skin.
* Alfalfa sprouts: It looks like grass, but these sprouts are packed with valuable, skin-clearing nutrients. Alfalfa sprouts contain live enzymes which help fight inflammation.
* Foods rich in vitamin A and carotenoids: Carotenoids are used in anti inflammatory drugs for treatment for acne. Rich sources of carotenoids include carrot juice, carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, vegetable soup, mangos, papaya, instant fortified oatmeal, frozen peas and tomato juice. Fresh and canned peaches and red bell peppers provide modest amounts of carotenoid.
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide. Contrast to what you may see in a movie, the signs of a heart attack can be hard to miss. “Two-thirds of women will have less-typical, non-Hollywood heart attack symptoms,” says C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
Though symptoms like chest tightness and upper body pain are more obvious, hearts attacks present a host of symptoms that can be easily mistaken for another ailment (think nausea, heartburn, and fatigue). Identifying the signs of a heart attack and seeking early intervention can be the difference between life or death. Here are the most common symptoms to look out for.
The very first symptom of a heart attack listed by the American Heart Association is “uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest.” This discomfort may come in waves lasting more than a few minutes at a time.
2Pain in other areas of the body.
Heart attack pain can occur in places other than the chest, like the back, shoulders, arms, neck or jaw. According to Cleveland Clinic, when there’s a problem in the heart, such as a blocked artery, it can trigger the nerves in your heart to give a signal that something is wrong, and you’ll feel pain. Considering the vagus nerve is connected to not only the heart, but also the brain, chest, abdomen, and neck, you may feel those pain signals in other areas of the body aside from the heart region.
Many things can make you dizzy: not drinking enough water, skipping lunch, or standing up too fast. But dizziness or lightheadedness coupled with chest pain and shortness of breath may signify a decrease in blood volume and a drop in blood pressure, which means a heart attack could be on it’s way.
Feeling worn out after a sleepless night or a stressful day is normal. But women can feel fatigued a month out before having a heart attack, Harvard Health Publication reports. According to the National Heart,Blood and Lungs Institue, this sign is especially prominent in women.
5Nausea or indigestion.
According to Stoney Brook Medicine, gastric symptoms like a queasy stomach, vomiting, or belching develop when the heart and other areas of the body aren’t receiving enough blood supply. It can be misjudged as acid reflux or heartburn, so it’s important to reach out to your doctor, especially if you’re having other heart attack symptoms.
Unless you’re going through menopause or have just exercised, breaking out into a cold sweat or perspiring excessively could signal a heart attack. During a heart attack, your nervous system activates a “fight or flight” response that puts you in survival mode and could lead to sweating.
When the heart is lacking adequate blood supply, all sorts of things can happen in the body. According to Stoney Brook Medicine, the heart can begin to get irritable when it lacks nutrient-filled blood, which leads to the sensation of heart palpitations. If you feel like you’re having heart palpitations, make sure you contact your doctor right away.
8Shortness of breath.
Walking up the stairs used to be a breeze, but if you recently have been finding it harder and harder to make the climb, seek medical attention immediately. Even though this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re about to have a heart attack at this moment, it could be a sign that your heart is in danger. According to the AHA, shortness of breath could come with or without any chest pain.
Genetics can play a role in cardiovascular health, but so can lifestyle changes. Here are seven factors than can affect the heart and what to do about them:
What to know: “Bad” LDL cholesterol can clog up the arteries that feed your heart and brain – and increase heart attack and stroke risk. “Good” HDL cholesterol can help eliminate the bad, but only to an extent. The body also takes in additional cholesterol from certain foods – like meat, eggs and dairy.
What to do: Get a blood test and know your cholesterol levels. Then, work with your health care provider on what changes might be needed.
Resting heart rate
What to know: Lower is better. For most people, a resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal. It’s affected negatively by stress, hormones and medication. Getting into better shape can not only lower your resting heart rate, it could help save your life: Studies have shown a higher rate is associated with higher risk for death, even among people who don’t have traditional heart disease risk factors.
What to do: Check your heart rate at rest, preferably first thing in the morning, before getting out of bed.
What to know: Aerobic exercise can get the heart pumping and build endurance. Growing evidence over the past three decades has shown that low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and death. High levels are linked to a lower risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer.
What to do: A health care provider can assess your cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness. It is often measured using VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during intense aerobic exercise.
To increase cardiorespiratory fitness, go for a run or hop on a bike. Any type of aerobic exercise that increases breathing and heart rate has the ability to build your endurance if done regularly. If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and gradually build.
What to know: High blood pressure, or hypertension, often is called the “silent killer” because it usually lacks obvious symptoms. When left uncontrolled, it is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
What to do: Learn your numbers and what they mean. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 130 or higher for the top number, or 80 or higher for the bottom number. Make sure to take measurements regularly to detect patterns and recognise when numbers creep up.
Blood glucose level
What to know: Blood sugar levels can fluctuate depending on time of day, what you eat and when you ate it. Too high or too low a level can affect your concentration, make you dizzy, and harm vital organs. Diabetes develops when there is too much sugar in the blood because the body either fails to make enough insulin or cannot use it efficiently.
What to do: Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity and physical inactivity. Diet and exercise can lower the odds of developing it or slow its progression. A low-fat diet that cuts back on sweets, added sugars and processed meats can help keep blood sugar levels steady.
What to know: Some experts consider the distance around your natural waist a better way to measure body fat than relying on body mass index alone. Someone with a relatively low BMI score may have a large waist, and people who carry fat around their abdomen as opposed to the hips or elsewhere are at greater risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
What to do: Grab an old-fashioned tape measure and wrap it around your waist while standing. Place the tape measure just above your hipbones. Then, exhale and record the measurement. Men should aim for less than 40 inches, while women should shoot for less than 35 inches.
What to know: Family history is considered a “risk-enhancing factor”, according to recent cholesterol management guidelines. That means if a parent, grandparent or sibling has had a stroke, heart attack or other type of heart disease, the information should be shared with your doctor as soon as possible.
What to do: If you don’t know a relative’s full medical story, seek out family who do. Details such as how old someone was when heart disease first developed can be critical. Family history can give your health care provider a better perspective on your overall risk for cardiovascular disease in the future.
The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated.
It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more.
Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance
What’s more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults .
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