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Fit Links: The Benefits of Busting Your Workout Rut and a Top Stress-Less Secret

Written on June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm , by

If you always jog for exercise, try yoga or strength training. You may learn something about yourself! (Photo by Denise Crew)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Food Fight: Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Written on January 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm , by

chocolate bar

Photo by iStock.

By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com

With all the recent talk about how certain types of chocolate are indeed good for you, an excuse to eat it isn’t all that hard to find.

But before you go and start eating chocolate bar after bar though, there is a small catch to all this good-for-you business. Chocolate, no matter the type, is still a source of calories and because it tastes oh-so-good to so many of us, it’s easy to over do it. Plus, not all chocolates are created equal. To get the health benefits chocolate provides, you really have to know which chocolate bar offers the most amount of nutrients and the least amount of calorie-ridden fat and sugar.

Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Although milk chocolate may taste great, it’s not nearly as good for you as dark chocolate is. This is because milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean than dark chocolate does. Although milk chocolate does contain cocoa solids, it’s often diluted with the addition of milk solids, sugar, and cream. Since milk chocolate does contain some cocoa solids though, its not completely void of all nutrition; however, the nutritional quality is minimal in comparison with dark chocolate, which typically has more of the original cocoa present.

This is important because the more cocoa that is present, the higher the nutritional quality. Cocoa is a fabulous source of flavonoids, a special class of antioxidants that are the primary reason chocolate is now considered to be a good-for-you treat. The more cocoa, the more flavonoids, and the better for you the chocolate becomes. Plus, dark chocolate varieties often have less added sugar and fat which can also improve its overall nutritional value.

The Benefits of Flavonoids

Flavonoids are often found in wine, fruits, vegetables, and, of course, dark chocolate. These flavonoids have been shown to reduce the amount of cell damage often implicated in heart disease. Flavonoids also help improve vascular function and can assist in lowering blood pressure. They can also enhance the power of vitamin C and prevent inflammation throughout the body when eaten in proper amounts. Some studies have also shown that they may be beneficial in keeping blood glucose levels stable and may help normalize cholesterol levels as well.
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