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vine vera banner Antioxidant Foods For Glowing Skin

Antioxidant Foods For Glowing Skin

Your friends are dying to know why you’re glowing. They think it must be a new love, or maybe pregnancy, or a new skin treatment. Should you tell them? Should you tell them that antioxidants are the reason behind your glowing skin? Antioxidants are the cause of a lot of the latest buzz in the world of health and beauty. You may know about how beneficial they can be to your skin in creams and serums, but did you know they can also give your skin a boost from the inside out? Here are some of the best ways of getting the antioxidant glow from what you put on your plate.

Kale
Kale is full of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients absorb free radicals from UV light, including the ones that actually reach the skin. One cup gives you 134% of Vitamin C and 133% of Vitamin A, both skins firming wonders.

Green Tea
When it comes to healthy foods, green tea can do no wrong. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank a beverage containing green tea polyphenols showed increased skin elasticity and had one-quarter less sun damage after UV light exposure, compared to a control group. Green tea has catechins like EGCG to help stimulate oxygen and blood flow to the skin to keep your complexion radiant and healthy.

vine vera banner presents Antioxidant Foods For Glowing Skin

Olive Oil
Women in the Mediterranean have been known to slather olive oil directly on their skin for its antioxidant properties. One study in PLOS ONE analyzing diets of 1264 women, found that those who consumed over 8.4 grams of olive oil a day showed 31% fewer signs of aging than those who ate less than one teaspoon. Olive oil also topped the list of oils for its anti aging properties, deftly knocking out both sunflower and peanut. Researchers credit the 75% mono saturated fatty acid content with the anti aging properties, and say the antioxidant polyphenols in the oil could be responsible for quenching free radicals that cause skin damage.

Tomatoes
If you’re looking for a place to drizzle your olive oil, how about on some ripe tomatoes? A study found people who ate 5 tablespoons of tomato paste per day with a tablespoon of olive oil for a twelve week period, had 33% more sunburn protection than a control group who ate just olive oil. The antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes increases the natural SPF levels in the skin, however, it is not recommended that you abandon your sunscreen in favor of tomato paste just yet.

Dark Chocolate
Save the best for dessert! Dark chocolate is the newest sinful delight that is scoring high points for antioxidant levels. The treat is rich in antioxidant plant compounds called cocoa flavanols. Studies found women who drank a high flavanol cocoa powder beverage every day for three weeks showed less skin dryness and flakiness when compared to a control group. Unfortunately, though a dark chocolate binge is not recommended. Stick to one ounce, 150 calorie portion to get the good skin without the extra weight.

What are your favorite skin healthy foods? Let us know what you’re putting inside you to get that antioxidant glow on the outside.

How to Pair Chocolate With Wine

You’re planning a romantic evening for you and your honey, and you want to invite two of your best friends – food and wine. You need to get the right balance though. After all, you don’t want to wake up the next morning with a horrible hangover and a pooch. Which wine would go best with which chocolate? You need to investigate properly. You’ve decided to buy a huge box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates. The dark one might go well with the Cabernet, but you need to be sure. Just one more bite, a little more chocolate, and a little more wine. You wake up the next day surrounded by chocolate wrappers and an empty wine bottle.

Sure, experimentation is a great way to find the best wine and chocolate combinations, but it may not be the best idea to attempt to get it all figured out in one night. If you are a novice to the wine and chocolate marriage, it may be a good idea to give yourself a little bit of a starting point before taking on.

Chocolate and wine

The Chocolate Should Not Be Sweeter than the Wine You Pair It With
If you’re planning to pair a syrah or merlot with your chocolate, the wine should be as sweet as the chocolate. You’ll need to do an advanced taste test, but this shouldn’t be too much of a pain. If the wine is not as sweet as the chocolate, the wine will taste bitter, and you don’t want that.

Purchase Quality Chocolate
When pairing with wine, your chocolate should be of impeccable quality. No generic chocolate bars for this. Go for the premium ones instead. They cost more, but they’re worth it.

Pair According to the Darkness of the Chocolate
The general rule is that the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine, so a dark chocolate calls for red. If you are pairing with a white wine, an intense and fruity variety is the best match for the bittersweet and occasional acidic taste of chocolate.

Look for Wine with Smooth Tannins
Smooth wine goes with smooth chocolate. When it comes to pairing wine with chocolate, soft, rounded tannins work best.

Full-bodied Wines Go with Intense Chocolate
If ganache brownies are on the menu, make sure you have a wine that can stand up to them.

Go From Light to Dark
Obey the rules of wine-tasting by starting with the light stuff and intensifying the experience gradually. Begin your odyssey on a light note with white and milk chocolate, moving gradually to a medium intensity. End with the darkest and most bitter of chocolates, and matching your wines in ascending order of darkness and weight.

White chocolate and wine

White Chocolate
When it comes to white chocolate you want a wine that will pick up more buttery tones of the confection. Best bets include Chardonnay, Sherry, Muscat, or Moscato d’Asti.

Milk Chocolate
Dessert wines, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Reisling, Muscat and Pinot noir are all great matches for milk chocolate, as is champagne. Bubbly provides a crisp dry contrast for the creaminess of the milk chocolate, as the fruitiness of red wines may be cancelled out by high sugar levels, leaving the wine tasting bitter.

Dark Chocolate (50-70%)
Intense chocolate calls for intense wine. Savignon, Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir are all good complements for dark chocolate and a Chianti matches well with a chocolate with a 65% content of cocoa.

Bittersweet Chocolate (70%-100%)
Chocolate gourmands consider bittersweet chocolate the creme de la creme, so you need a wine that can take on the range of flavor. Think Beaujolais, Shiraz, Bordeaux, Orange Muscat, and Zinfandel for the bitter stuff. Also, feel free to try a sparkling wine or champagne with a variety of chocolates. Dessert wines are also generally well suited to chocolate.

How did your wine-and-chocolate pairing go? Let us know once you’ve hit the sweet spot – we’d love to hear all about it!

Skin Friendly Snacks

The frozen snack aisle assaults you with a dizzying array of mini hot pockets, hot wings, fries, chicken nuggets, and cheese filled soft pretzel sticks, while the snack and candy aisle seems to have taken on epic proportions. There are potato chip flavors that you never dreamed were capable of fitting into a potato chip and hybrid candy bars that would have baffled Willie Wonka. And all you can think of is how badly your skin is going to react to all this. If you’re looking to avoid a major skin irritation flare up, here are some skin friendly snacks you may want to include at your next big celebration.

Berries

Berries
When choosing fruits and vegetables, color signals high the presence of natural pigments with antioxidant properties. Berries burst with color and antioxidants, replenishing your skin’s antioxidant defenses and absorbing free radicals from ultraviolet light.

Brazil Nuts
Packed with healthy monosaturated fats, Brazil nuts are a key source of selenium, which is crucial for immune support and a healthy circulatory system. These nuts are also rich in vitamin C, which improves skin circulation for a radiant glow.

dark chocolates

Dark Chocolate
Once thought to be the enemy of adolescent skin, dark chocolate is one of the newest snacks to achieve superfood status. Research in the European Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that, dark chocolate, in addition to protecting the blood vessels and heart, can also help defend skin from sun damage. When applied topically, natural cocoa butter is an effective ingredient in preserving skin moisture and elasticity.

Yogurt
Low-fat yogurt is a key source of vitamin A, known for its skin enhancing and anti-aging properties. The vitamin boosts the skin’s production of collagen and protects against its deterioration, increasing and preserving skin elasticity.

Kiwis

Kiwi
When it comes to Vitamin C rich fruits, oranges and grapefruit typically come to mind. That’s why it may come as a surprise to find out kiwifruit is an even more powerful source of the antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a valuable role in skin health, maintaining connective tissue and also prevents scurvy. Although it has since been eradicated, scurvy was once a major cause of sickness among sailors who suffered disfigurement as a result of the deprivation of vitamin C. Other good C sources include papaya and guava.

Olives and Olive Oil
If you are organizing a skin friendly celebration, make sure olives and olive oil are on the grocery list. Besides, being full of healthy monosaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil uniquely contains phytochemicals, health improving chemicals found naturally in plants. Enjoy olives and olive oil in food, or apply the oil directly to skin to receive its nourishing benefits.

Let us know what your skin friendly snack picks are! We love to hear from you!

Temporary Diet Changes For Better Skin

Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets a zit?” No? Well, truer words were probably never spoken. Have you been living the high life, staggering out of bed sometime in the mid afternoon to a “breakfast” of last night’s pizza washed down by soda? Did you overdo it at the bar last night? Did you have to go to MacDonald’s because you forget to go to the supermarket? We all know the devil-may-care attitude can be fun- until you look in the mirror. Your skin is probably the first part of you to show the effects of a less than healthy lifestyle, but never fear, with a few temporary dietary changes, you could be back on the road to beautiful skin in no time.

woman with chocolate
Dark Chocolate
Although for years we have been attributing our acne breakouts to it, chocolate is now being hailed as a superfood for your skin and health in general. Cocoa provides hydration to the skin, making it more supple and firm. Dr. David Bank, MD, says. Nicholas Perricone, MD and NYC dermatologist adds, “Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant.” To get the maximum dose of flavanol, make sure your chocolate is at least 70% cacao.” L.A. dermatologist Jessica Wu says, “When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness.” Is that bar in your mouth yet?

Greek yogurt
Yogurt

Anyone for froyo? Dr. Wu says the protein found in dairy makes skin more resistant to wrinkles. DR. Wu recommends Greek Yogurt as your yogurt of choice saying that, “The protein content is often double that of regular yogurt.”

Sunflower Seeds
Crack open the vitamin E and protect your skin’s top layers from sun damage. A daily handful will provide a high content of essential fatty acids and sunflower seed oil can also relieve parched lip and heels.

Pomegranates
Dr. Perricone says pomegranates are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that fight free radicals and relate blood flow to the skin, making it rosy. To get results, eat one fruit or a few glasses of its juice every day. Pomegranates can also be applied topically to moisturize and smooth fine lines.

Peppers
Peppers help your peepers! Dr. Wu says, “Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes.” The carotenoids in yellow and orange vegetables are also great for reducing skin’s sun sensitivity. Try for two cups daily for a crisp, tangy skin booster.

Kidney Beans
Kidney Beans
Zap zits with zinc! The high levels of zinc may be just the thing for your blemishes. Dr. Wu says, “That may be because of zinc’s healing properties.” A four ounce serving of kidney beans should keep your skin clear.

Soy
Let’s hear it for the soy! Dr. Bank says, “Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyper pigmentation.” One cup a day should give you what it takes to even out your skin. tone.

So has this convinced you to make some dietary changes? Let us know if they worked! We always love to hear from you!

Choosing The Right Foods For Your Skin

Let’s take a moment to give thanks for our skin. Where else would we put our lovely tattoos? Our skin protects us from the sun and keeps out nasty germs. It can be pierced to display beautiful jewelry. It acts as a water barrier. It cools us when we are hot and keeps us warm and snug when we are cold. Plus, the skin is the largest sexual organ of the body. Think about it. Skin is constantly changing. It can be lifted and pulled, darkened and lightened, damaged and healed. Since our skin does so much for us, shouldn’t we make sure we treat it as well as we possibly can?

We are what we eat and our skin is part of what we are. Los Angeles dermatologist, Jessica Wu says, “What you eat can affect your hormone balance, cause acne, and create or lessen inflammation, which is associated with aging.” When it comes to skin care, the foods you put in your body can be just as important as the facial creams you put on it. Here are some foods you can eat that your skin will thank you for.

woman using olive oil

Olive Oil
This makes sense. We all want our skin to maintain oil as we age, so shy not put some in our bellies? A 2012 study found that women who consumed more that 2 teaspoons of olive oil a day showed 31% less evidence of aging. This is because 75% of the fat in olive oil is in monosaturated fatty acids which keep you young and the antioxidants in olive oil defend against dangerous free radicals.

Tomatoes
Here’s the perfect place for that olive oil tomatoes. A tablespoon of olive oil along with 5 tablespoons of tomato paste has been proven to give 33% more protection from the sun. Lycopene found in tomatoes can raise the natural SPF levels of the skin.

Dark Chocolate
Delicious and healthy? That’s like being cute and single. Cocoa flavanols can improve circulation and hydrate skin. According to 12-week study, drinking a high flavanol cocoa every day caused less scaliness and roughness to women’s skin. To avoid weight gain while maintaining glowing skin, sticking to a 1 oz. a portion of the cocoa is recommended.

oatmeal Oatmeal
While we are singing the praises of oatmeal, let’s take a moment to point out a less desirable breakfast option, the bagel with jelly. With carbs and refined sugar, a bagel with jelly will increase production of insulin and hormones called androgens which, according to Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of “The Beauty Diet,” cause sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete more oil which gets trapped inside pores, causing pimples. Stick to the oatmeal and try topping it with fruit as opposed to brown sugar.

Sardines
Omega -3 fatty acids are among the best fat sources and sardines are packed with them. One serving has 1.5 grams of Omega-3. Sardines are rich in DHA which is an anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent acne, inflammation being the root cause of breakouts.

Orange Peel
Admittedly a more acquired taste, the researcher found that people who ate the peels of citrus fruits had a 33% reduced risk for squamous cell carcinoma, while juice and fruit had no effect. Peels contain limonene which has UV protective properties. Try blending them into a juice or smoothie for a less bitter taste.

Antioxidant Packed Snacks and Lunches

Woman having lunch

Those of us that ate school lunches as children may have been scarred for life.  We may, to this day, have nightmares consisting of grey mystery meat sandwiched between a soggy bun, “pizza”  which is closer to congealed yellow cheese with red sauce on toast, canned vegetables and fruit cocktails consisting of vaguely identifiable fruit, as in, “Is that cube a pear or a pineapple?”  Well, with adulthood, the nightmare may be over, but with our busy schedules, we might find our food options are still somewhat limited, and you may even find yourself having a not so pleasant deja vu, unless your idea of gourmet food is the gas station food shop.

You may have heard a lot about antioxidants lately.  Antioxidants fight free radicals in your body and slow down the aging process.  Sound good?  Here are some ideas for  putting them in your snacks and lunches! They definitely beat the creepy hot lunches and are a lot more healthful no matter who you’re packing for.

Snacks
Trail mix nuts are a great source of antioxidants.  Studies find walnuts can be 2-15 times more powerful than vitamin D when it comes to anti-oxidizing properties.  Add in some dried cranberries and dark chocolate pieces for an added health and antioxidant bonus.

Dark Chocolate!
Who would have thought something so sinful could be so good for you!  Unprocessed, raw cocoa beans are one of the highest scoring foods ever tested on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), the measure of antioxidant activity in food.

Fruit
There is no end to the nutritional benefits of fruit.  They are a delicious easy snack and are rich in antioxidants, with berries and red grapes leading the pack and so easy to add to the lunch bag.

Lunch
How about some broccoli and tomato pizzas? Yum!  Broccoli has antioxidants and Vitamin E and is very effective against breast cancer.  Tomatoes have lycopene which prevents tumor growth. Top with ricotta or mozzarella.  You choose!

Woman having wine at lunch

Grape and Cheese Salad
Red grapes contain the mother load of resveratrol, yes, that red wine ingredient.  Throw some walnuts on top for a crunchy way of getting melanin! And what would a salad be without the baby greens, packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene? Eat up!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Tomatoes and Zucchini
Here’s one for the exotic veggie lover.  The Vitamin A in the squash will fight off the effects of aging and the zucchini has lutein for healthy eyes.  Leave the skin on the zucchini- it has beta carotene.  Great substitute for a carb-rich pasta dish.

Avocado Bean Wrap
Have you died and gone to heaven?  You’ve got black beans and avocados and carrots which mean plenty of immune supporting compounds like betacarotene and vitamin E. Is your mouth watering?

Veggie Lasagna
Mangia!  Try a recipe with kale, the super-food with vitamin A and C.  Throw in cherry tomatoes and garlic, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and your choice of cheeses.

Enjoy and stay young and keep the school lunch ghoulies away!

Foods That Promote Memory and Longevity

In 1935, Woody Allen  said, “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be one hundred.”  This is true to some extent.  We have all heard stories of octogenarians who claim to have smoked a cigarette every day of their lives or have engaged in some kind of dangerous taboo and have beaten the odds.  However, nowadays we find that there is an alternative.  More modern studies reveal that we can eat  foods that are enjoyable and will also promote longevity and  boost our memories.

Dark chocolate

A favorite among these is dark chocolate.  According to recent studies, this awful temptress that our mothers warned us about, is really quite good for us.  You may already be aware  that dark chocolate can lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and prevent cardiovascular disease, but did you know it may also  protect your skin against the sun?   And, take heart if you are struggling with your weight.  The fats in dark chocolate are mostly saturated and unsaturated, giving it an excellent fatty acid profile, although it still is best consumed in small amounts because of its high-calorie content and sugar.  But, keep in mind, if you do indulge, the higher the cocoa content, the more beneficial to your health.

Mediterranean diet

But what about memory loss?  Over 5.2 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.  Is it preventable?  While scientists are still not certain about the complete workings of the memory, a John Hopkins Health Alert reported two studies giving evidence to the theory that a Mediterranean diet may be the answer.  The Mediterranean diet is  a plant-based diet with limited red meat, limited animal fat,  and  low-fat dairy.  One study, printed in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry evaluated two groups of people in their 70s over a period of six years.    One group was given a low-fat diet and the other  followed a Mediterranean diet. At the conclusion of the test, it was discovered that the group who followed the Mediterranean diet scored higher on cognitive tests and were less likely to develop dementia.  So, bottom line, losing the fat may be consistent with losing the marbles. (Take that froyo!!)

Olive oil

However, we must be aware that it is not about loading the fats on, but  rather choosing our fats wisely.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the reason the Mediterranean diet is so effective is because olive oil is its primary source of fat.  Olive oil provides monosaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol levels and provide antioxidants.

So, do not surrender to  complete abandonment when it comes to mealtimes.  We all need to be aware that everything should be done in moderation and this article is not suggesting that you go to your local Greek or Southern Italian place and order a highly caloric dish followed by a dark chocolate bar.  Overeating can also be very dangerous and is a leading cause of death in America, but, isn’t it nice to know that, in some instances, we can have our cake and eat it too, even if it portion controlled?

Foods for Flawless Skin

Healthy, beautiful skin does not come solely as a result of the skincare and beauty products you purchase and use daily. What you put into your body is just as, if not more, important than what you put onto your body. A diet rich in the following 10 foods not only provides you with tons of variety when it comes to meals, but it also helps you achieve flawless skin.

salmon

Salmon
When it comes to fish that contain large amounts of essential fatty acids, salmon is king. Salmon contains a rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide several nourishing benefits to your skin: they reduce your body’s production of inflammatory substances, prevent fine lines and wrinkles and unclog your pores.

Papaya

Papaya
This juicy fruit is an excellent source of skin-important antioxidant vitamin C. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that adds brightness to your skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots like sun damage or post-acne scars. Another vitamin found in abundance in papaya is vitamin A, which is an essential component to healthy skin turnover.

Sesame seeds.

Black Sesame Seeds
These little black seeds are totally easy to overlook because how much nutrition can they really contain? The answer is a lot. Although they look unassuming, black sesame seeds contain essential fats, oleic acid, amino acids, potassium and fiber, all of which are beneficial for your skin.

Sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a delicious way to add more beta-carotene into your diet. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that is responsible for many vegetables that contain yellow, orange or red pigments and it helps prevent skin damage due to sun exposure.

Peppers.

Peppers
Add a little spice to your diet by increasing your intake of chili peppers. This feisty food contains a good amount of vitamin C in addition to the amazing ingredient capsaicin. Capsaicin helps prevent signs of aging and reduces both inflammation and irritation.

Spinach.

Spinach
Consider this leafy green a skincare superfood and be sure to add plenty to your diet. Unprocessed spinach contains carotenoids, amino acids, potassium, iodine and vitamins A, C, K and B complex. Spinach helps clear your skin while also imparting a healthy glow.

Lemons

Lemons
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know how we advocate for starting your morning with a glass of hot water and the fresh juice from half of a lemon and we do so with good reason. This tip is practiced by beauty experts and models all over the world because lemons are so great at removing old hormones and fat-soluble toxins from your body. Lemon juice emulsifies fats in your body, which keeps your skin hydrated and clear.

Tomatoes.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a natural protection against UVA and UVB rays. Even though lycopene increases your UV protection, you’re still going to want to apply an SPF. Tomatoes are also great for adding life and luster back into the dull skin.

Nuts

Nuts
Nuts are an incredible snack for your skin and your body. Nuts contain high levels of vitamin E which protects your skin from environmental damage. Vitamin E is also helpful at reducing skin irritation and flare-ups, so your skin is not only protected from free radical damage, but it also stays clearer.

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate
Flavonols, the type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate, are intense antioxidants that fight damage from free radicals, increases blood flow to your skin and offers a bit of natural UV protection. Before you go stocking up on your favorite candy in dark chocolate versions, the dark chocolate that is beneficial to your skin is dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao content.

Eating your way to flawless skin is easy when you know what foods to add to your grocery list. A balanced diet not only benefits your skin, but your entire body and overall health. Put a few, or all, of these incredible skin foods on your next grocery list to begin your diet for flawless skin.

Foods That Relieve Stress

The American Psychological Association reported that in 2010, 40% of Americans reported either overeating or eating unhealthy foods in direct response to stress. When you’re super stressed your cortisol levels rise and it is true that cramming your face full of cookies or chomping down on french fries can make you feel better initially because cortisol causes food cravings. Although your favorite ice cream may soothe you immediately, ultimately this will result in more negative feelings like irritability or mood swings on top of the stress you were trying to get rid of to begin with. But, when your cortisol levels tell you need something this second, there are foods that you can eat that can actually help you to relieve stress, feel calm and help you to feel focused and balanced so you can tackle stressful situations head-on.

Avocados

Avocados
Technically a fruit, avocados are often considered a source of fat, so it’s best to eat this stress-busting food in moderation. One of the potential problems when overindulging in unhealthy fats and sugars is more oxidative damage, and a substance, glutathione, in avocados specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of these fats. In addition to glutathione, avocados contain beta-carotene, lutein, folate and vitamins B and E. A serving of avocado is roughly ⅓ of the fruit and you can eat this is so many ways. Mash some with fresh chopped cilantro, onions and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice for a healthy, stripped-down guacamole or simply slice some thinly and add to your favorite sandwich.

Berries.

Berries
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…take your pick. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a German study indicated that vitamin C is helpful in the fight against stress. In the study, researchers asked 120 participants to give a speech and then complete difficult mathematical problems. The participants who have been given vitamin C had lower blood pressure and cortisol levels (two indicators of stress) following these exercises than participants who had not been given vitamin C. Berries are delicious on their own, in healthy smoothies or on top of your favorite Greek yogurt.

Dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
You may have reached for chocolate before when you were feeling particularly stressed and ended up regretting doing so. This is most likely due to the variety of chocolate you decided to eat. Milk chocolate is loaded with extra sugar and it’s easy to polish off an entire bag of milk chocolate candies pretty quickly. The resulting sugar crash probably only made you feel worse. Good news, you can continue to eat chocolate during times of stress if you choose dark chocolate and enjoy it in moderation. Dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure, which leads to feelings of calm. Additionally, dark chocolate contains two important types of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, that are helpful to your overall health. Keep a few squares of dark chocolate in your purse or in a drawer at work and enjoy when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Remember that moderation is important, though it is easier to curb the amount of dark chocolate you eat because it is so rich tasting. Stick with dark chocolate that is 70% or more cacao to get the full stress relieving benefits of this sweet treat.

Reaching for food during periods of stress is a completely normal response in both men and women, but it often is done in an unhealthy manner. Training yourself to choose the right foods when you feel frazzled can help to reduce levels of stress, increase feelings of calm, help you feel energized and keep you focused so that you can meet your challenges head on.

What to Eat to Live Longer

You know that what food you choose to put into your body has a significant effect on your health. A carton of french fries will leave you tired and sluggish while a handful of almonds can re-energize and invigorate you. When it comes to living a long, healthy life, diet and exercise are often the most important components. If you want a diet full of life-extending foods, this list is exactly what you need. The five foods on this list are all backed by scientific research that indicate proven longevity.

Dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
A diet with chocolate? But of course. Dark chocolate is actually super beneficial to your health, but it must be dark chocolate with a cacao content of 70% or higher to provide these benefits. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidant flavanoids known as flavanols. Flavanols improve blood flow and regulate cholesterol levels. Studies such as the one conducted by Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, indicate that individuals whose blood levels of flavanoids are high have a lowered risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, asthma and prostate cancer. While dark chocolate provides wonderful health benefits, gorging yourself on it will negate these effects. Just a one ounce serving of dark chocolate daily provides you with all the antioxidants you need to get these health perks.

Green salad

Dark, Leafy Greens
Salads have always been good for you, right? It depends. You know not to slather on fat-laden dressings, but what you make the salad with has a significant effect on the health of a salad. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium and flavanoids. These greens also have important phytochemicals and just a one-cup serving of kale has 700% of your daily requirement of vitamin K. Research suggests that it is the high levels of vitamin K that provide one of the most amazing benefits of dark, leafy greens: the slowing down of age-related cognitive decline.

Chili peppers

Chili Peppers
Spice up, and lengthen your life by adding chili peppers to your diet. One huge (nearly 500,000 participants) Chinese study published in the BMJ 2015 journal discovered that spicy foods contribute to a lowered risk for all causes of premature death. Capsaicin, the molecule in peppers that creates the heat, is thought to be responsible for the life-extending benefits. The study concluded that those who ate spicy foods six to seven times each week had a 14% lower risk of premature death than those who chose to stay away from spice. If that seems excessive to you, simply eating spicy foods once or twice a week reduces the risk of premature death by 10%.

Pecan pie

Pecans
A Dutch study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology took place over 30 years found that eating nuts decreases mortality rates. The study included Dutch people who were between the ages of 55 and 69 who ate a small serving of nuts each day had lowered (23%) mortality rate than those that did not eat nuts. Almonds and walnuts are also excellent choices for you health, but pecans have a certain type of vitamin E (gamma-tocopherols) that lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well. When you decide to eat nuts, remember to practice moderation because of the high fat content.

Blueberries

Blueberries
The fact that blueberries are beneficial to your health should come as no surprise. Their soluble fiber lowers cholesterol, keeping your heart healthy and they are packed with antioxidants, such as resveratrol. One of these antioxidants, in particular, may decrease the rate of mental decline during the aging process. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that supports muscle retention and healthy brain function. A recent study showed that women with a diet that included strawberries and blueberries had a slower rate of mental decline than those who skipped the berries.

Including these amazing foods into your healthy diet may indeed increase longevity. When it comes to dark chocolate and nuts, be aware of the serving sizes so you don’t counteract the health benefits. Enjoy a varied and nutritious diet by adding these five foods to your grocery list.