Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week– Chocolate’s Health Benefits

Since Valentine’s Day is this week I thought I’d write about chocolate. Besides, I love chocolate! If you love chocolate as much as I do, you know there has been recent research showing that it provides certain health benefits.

Chocolate contains flavanols, which, studies have shown, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow and promote a healthier heart. It’s also high in antioxidants, which attack cancer-causing free radicals. These flavanols are present in higher quantities in dark chocolate than in other types of chocolate. However, processing kills the flavanols, so producers are developing new methods to preserve the flavanols during processing.

Different studies use different types of chocolate and different quantities. For example, one study used one cup of hot cocoa, another used 30 g of dark vs. white chocolate, and yet another used 100 g of dark vs. milk chocolate. A typical American candy bar is about 2 oz. or 60 g. All the studies I read concluded that dark chocolate has more health benefits than milk or white chocolate and that the unhealthy, saturated fat in chocolate candy definitely compensates for any health benefits. However, hot cocoa made with water or skim milk contains almost no saturated fat.

In the end, it goes back to two things I always say: everything in moderation, and if you’re going to eat chocolate, make it good quality chocolate! Although the studies did not discuss the quality of the chocolate, high quality chocolate contains higher quantities of cocoa liquor and cocoa butter, no corn syrup and partially-hydrogenated oil and fewer preservatives and chemicals.

I think you’ll agree that very good quality, dark chocolate in a smaller amount is much better than a lot of cheap chocolate! Make sure your sweetie knows this before buying your Valentine’s chocolates!

At the same time, flowers and a hand-written card are calorie and fat free, and the card lasts forever.






Look for another topic next week, and keep living the SWEET Life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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