It seems brushing one’s teeth is not only for health and hygiene reasons, it is so much more.
Increase Brain Power
There are also some research about the effect of chocolates to brain power. Apparently the flavanols in cocoa can increase cognitive abilities, allowing for multitasking, i.e. ability to perform two or more tasks at a time.
Having joined and subscribed to the British Heart Foundation, I was sent a magazine package complete with freebies of a recipe booklet and a tape measure of all things, like those used by tailors and dressmakers.
Measure for measure, photo by JMorton
Measure for measure, photo by JMorton
The tape measure is slightly different from the normal ones because it was colour coded. White for normal waistline and the red to denote dangerzone towards being unhealthy.
Apparently a woman should have a maximum of 32 inches waistline, while men should have 37 inches at the most. Any higher, would mean an increased risk to health such as heart disease and diabetes.
Come on guys, get measuring. If you are over the limit, time to change your routine and lifestyle.
What we eat can affect our moods and general health. We should, therefore, watch what we consume foodwise, drinkwise or even drugwise. Be wise.
Below is an article from NHS.uk which I think we should all know as everyone of us at one point of our lives will suffer from depression (from mild to debilitating one).
Healthy eating and depression
Feeling down or depressed can affect both your appetite and your daily routine.
Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. Others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight. Antidepressants can also affect your appetite.
If you’re concerned about weight loss, weight gain or how antidepressants are affecting your appetite, talk to your GP.
Tips for eating a healthy diet
Research into the links between diet and depression is ongoing. As yet, there is not enough evidence to say for certain that some foods help relieve symptoms of depression.
However, a healthy balanced diet is important for maintaining good general health.
“The most important thing is to eat regularly and to include the main food groups in your daily diet,” says Dr Lynn Harbottle, consultant in nutrition and dietetics at the Health and Social Services Department in Guernsey.
A diet based on starchy foods, such as rice and pasta, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils, and some milk and dairy foods (and not too much fat, salt or sugar) will give you all the nutrients you need.
There are many simple ways to improve your diet. However, if you’re more severely depressed and feel unable to shop or prepare food, see your GP to discuss the types of treatment and support that are available.
Eat regular meals
Have three meals every day, including breakfast. Breakfast can help give you the energy you need to face the day. Try a bowl of wholegrain cereal with some sliced banana and a glass of fruit juice for a healthy start to the day. If you feel hungry between meals, have a healthier snack such as a piece of fruit.
Eat more wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds
These foods are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
Include some protein at every meal
Protein is essential for the growth and repair of the body. You can get it from meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, lentils and beans.
Don’t get thirsty
We need to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid a day to stop us getting dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect our mood. Symptoms of dehydration include lack of energy and feeling light-headed. Find out more about how much you should drink, including how to choose healthier drinks.
If you drink alcohol, drink within the recommended daily limits
If you’re a man, don’t regularly drink more than three-to-four units a day. If you’re a woman, don’t regularly drink more than two-to-three units a day. Use our alcohol unit calculator to find out how many units there are in different types of alcoholic drinks. Don’t drink alcohol if you’re taking antidepressants.
When you make changes to your diet, set yourself realistic and achievable goals. Lynn warns against crash or miracle diets that might not be nutritionally balanced. Instead, make moderate changes. If you want to make major changes to your diet, see your GP, who can refer you to a registered dietitian.
Further information about diet and mental wellbeing
For general advice on healthy eating, see our food and diet section.
The energy diet has information about how healthy eating can help prevent tiredness.
Many treatment options are available for depression, including talking therapies, antidepressant medication and various self-help techniques. Find out more about treatment for depression.
If you’ve been feeling low for more than two weeks, see your GP to find out about treatment choices and to get advice on which might be most suitable for you.
Fruit Serving at the H20 Hotel, Manila Photo by PH Morton
Fruits can be very expensive and I find sometimes rather bland compared to the fruits I was used to eating growing up in the Philippines.
Gwyneth Paltrow would have approved of our microbiotic diet. We ate lots of Grains and fruits, fresh from trees in the backyard or from our farm. I remember climbing trees to get fruits, it was that fresh!
Anyway, I do like to eat fruits, sadly it is not part of my everyday diet but I do try to eat fruits and vegetables during the week. Life is so hectic, everything is from a can, a jar or even from take-aways.
I must say I do miss eating fresh fruits, that I had four large oranges in one sitting just the other day, which brought me sensitive teeth. Not nice.
Below is advice from the National Health Service on how to have your 5 a day servings of fruits and vegetables.
5 A DAY fruit portions
Small-sized fresh fruit
One portion is two or more small fruit, for example two plums, two satsumas, two kiwi fruit, three apricots, six lychees, seven strawberries or 14 cherries.
Medium-sized fresh fruit
One portion is one piece of fruit, such as one apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.
Large fresh fruit
One portion is half a grapefruit, one slice of papaya, one slice of melon (5cm slice), one large slice of pineapple or two slices of mango (5cm slices).
A portion of dried fruit is around 30g. This is about one heaped tablespoon of raisins, currants or sultanas, one tablespoon of mixed fruit, two figs, three prunes or one handful of dried banana chips.
Tinned fruit in natural juice
One portion is roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat for a fresh portion, such as two pear or peach halves, six apricot halves or eight segments of tinned grapefruit.
5 A DAY vegetable portions
Two broccoli spears or four heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach, spring greens or green beans count as one portion.
Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn, or eight cauliflower florets count as one portion.
Three sticks of celery, a 5cm piece of cucumber, one medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes count as one portion.
Tinned and frozen vegetables
Roughly the same quantity as you would eat for a fresh portion. For example, three heaped tablespoons of tinned or frozen carrots, peas or sweetcorn count as one portion each. Choose those canned in water, with no added salt or sugar.
Pulses and beans
Three heaped tablespoons of baked beans, haricot beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans or chickpeas count as one portion each. Remember, however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day.
Potatoes don’t count towards your 5 A DAY. This is the same for yams, cassava and plantain too. They are classified nutritionally as a starchy food, because when eaten as part of a meal they are usually used in place of other sources of starch, such as bread, rice or pasta. Although they don’t count towards your 5 A DAY, potatoes do play an important role in your diet as a starchy food. You can learn more in 5 A DAY: what counts?
5 A DAY in juices and smoothies
One 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion. But only one glass counts, so further glasses of juice don’t count towards your total 5 A DAY portions.
A smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one 5 A DAY portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.
For example, for a single smoothie to qualify as being two portions, it must contain either:
at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 150ml of a different variety of 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice, or
at least 80g of one variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable and at least 80g of another variety of whole fruit and/or vegetable
Sugars are released from fruit when it’s juiced or blended, and these sugars can cause damage to teeth. Whole fruits are less likely to cause tooth decay because the sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit.
5 A DAY and ready-made foods
Fruit and vegetables contained in shop-bought ready-made foods can also count toward your 5 A DAY.
Always read the label. Some ready-made foods contain high levels of fat, salt and sugar, so only have them occasionally or in small amounts as part of a healthy balanced diet. You can find out more in Food labels.
Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power, it is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.
– Baron Justus Von Lieberg (19th century German Chemist)
If I could only have two foods, I’d take some fantastic chocolate. And some terrible chocolate.
– Sonia Rykiel
French Fashion Designer
Fruits only angers my need for chocolate
– Jason Love
1001: Chocolate – The Lowdown
15 August 2012 Dark chocolate ‘may lower blood pressure’
By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News
There may be good news for people looking for an excuse to munch on a couple of squares of chocolate after a review showed the treat could reduce blood pressure.
An analysis of 20 studies showed that eating dark chocolate daily resulted in a slight reduction in blood pressure.
The Cochrane Group’s report said chemicals in cocoa, chocolate’s key ingredient, relaxed blood vessels.
However, there are healthier ways of lowering blood pressure.
The theory is that cocoa contains flavanols which produce a chemical in the body called nitric oxide. This ‘relaxes’ blood vessels making it easier for blood to pass through them, lowering the blood pressure.
The 100g of chocolate that had to be consumed daily in a number of the studies would also come with 500 calories – that’s a quarter of a woman’s recommended daily intake”
British Heart Foundation
However, studies have thrown up mixed results. The Cochrane analysis combined previous studies to see if there was really an effect.
There was a huge range in the amount of cocoa consumed, from 3g to 105g a day, by each participant. However, the overall picture was a small reduction in blood pressure.
A systolic blood pressure under 120mmHg (millimetres of mercury) is considered normal. Cocoa resulted in a 2-3mmHg reduction in blood pressure. However, the length of the trials was only two weeks so the longer term effects are unknown.
Lead researcher Karin Ried, from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, said: “Although we don’t yet have evidence for any sustained decrease in blood pressure, the small reduction we saw over the short term might complement other treatment options and might contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
High blood pressure is both common and deadly. It has been linked to 54% of strokes worldwide and 47% of cases of coronary heart disease.
However, chocolate packs plenty of fat and sugar as well as cocoa so is not the ideal way of lowering blood pressure.
Dark or milk?
There has also been a warning in the Lancet medical journal that dark chocolate may contain fewer flavanols than you might think. Dark chocolate contains a higher cocoa count than milk chocolate so should contain more flavanols, however, they can also be removed as they have a bitter taste.
Victoria Taylor, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s difficult to tell exactly what sort of quantities of flavanol-rich cocoa would be needed to observe a beneficial effect and the best way for people to obtain it.
“With most of the studies carried out over a short period of time it’s also not possible to know for sure whether the benefits could be sustained in the long term. The 100g of chocolate that had to be consumed daily in a number of the studies would also come with 500 calories – that’s a quarter of a woman’s recommended daily intake.
“Beans, apricots, blackberries and apples also contain flavanols and, while containing lower amounts than in cocoa, they won’t come with the unhealthy extras found in chocolate.”
Did you know?
One upon a time, chocolate was used as a medicine. In the 18th century, they used chocolate to cure stomach-ache!
According to survey, from sale of chocolates and canvassing people, more chocolates are eaten in winters more than any other seasons. I supposed winter covers Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day when chocolates are a popular gift.
U.S. chocolate manufacturers are using about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk daily to make delicious milk chocolate.
It seems, yours truly is not the only one partial to Belgian chocolate. Apparently Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate each year!
Quality Street – Photo by JMorton
This made me laugh out loud:
A sign you’re chocoholic: You’ve actually stolen candy from a baby.
– Frist for Women magazine.
Have you?!!! 😉
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Cacao beans are a natural source of magnesium, which has been found helpful in relieving premenstrual syndrome. 😉 There you go, a handful of Quality Street will sort you out.
Cocoa beans are rigorously selected. Those which are found to be imperfect are sold in the market cheaply or thrown into the compost heap.
Cacao trees are rather delicate to look after. It is not unknown that farmers and growers lose an average of 30 per cent of their crops annually.