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Junk Foods that are Good for You!

A recent study, proved that certain junk foods contain good amounts of anti-oxidants that can in fact be good for the heart. Whole-wheat crackers can be a healthy evening snacks :-

While it isn’t recommended that one must thrive on these foods but indulging in some of them in limit, of course, may do you a whole lot of good.

Some examples of these junk foods are given below:

Popcorn: It may be the best accompaniment for movies but popcorn also helps curb the evening snack craving. A bowl of home-made popcorn is even better as it is low on calories and high on anti-oxidants.

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Dark chocolate brownies: Yes, it is indeed good news especially for people with a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is proven to be good for the heart and if it is paired with a whole wheat brownie and some nuts, it becomes rich in fibre as well.

Dark chocolate bars: Due to the high amounts of antioxidants in dark chocolate, it has health benefits such as lowering blood pressure as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease if you eat around a 100 grams a day.

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Crackers: There are many kinds of whole-wheat crackers available, which can be a good and healthy evening munch without the side-effects that other junk foods bring.

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Baked snacks : The latest in the snack category are the baked snacks. They are better than fried chips as they contain no oil. Usually made of whole wheat with a dash of spice entertains the tastebuds and proves to be healthy for your body.

Processed cheese: Conjugated linoleic acid is found in many meat, milk, and cheese products. But a recent study concentrates specifically on processed cheese, revealing that CLA contains anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as a possible effective antioxidant. The study says processed cheese contains more CLA than natural cheese, such as cheddar.

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Dry stout beer: Experts say that one pint of this thick and creamy dark beer may be as effective as a low dose of aspirin to improve blood circulation, hence lowering the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. It’s proven to be better than aerated drinks and other types of beer.

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Red wine:
Resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, effectively decreases life-threatening inflammation. The antioxidants in red wine can also help with preventing heart disease and cancer. For non-drinkers grape juice or even red grapes can be as effective.

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Source: The Times Of India

 
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Resveratrol Also Found in Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

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Hershey’s Center for Health and Nutrition has announced the publication of a study that shows resveratrol, a compound often associated with the health benefits of red wine, is also found in cocoa and dark chocolate products.

Scientists report that cocoa powder, baking chocolate and dark chocolate all have significant levels of resveratrol, a naturally occurring antioxidant.

Products from six categories were tested for the level of resveratrol and its sister compound, piceid. The six product categories included cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet baking chips, milk chocolate and chocolate syrup. Gram for gram, cocoa powder had the highest average amount of resveratrol and piceid, followed by baking chocolates, dark chocolates, semi-sweet chips, milk chocolate and then chocolate syrup.

The resveratrol levels of cocoa powders, baking chocolates and dark chocolate exceeded the levels for roasted peanuts and peanut butter per serving, but were less than California red wine.

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How Much Chocolate Should You Eat?

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According to researchers, 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day — a bit less than half a bar a week — represents the ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

The findings come from one of the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted in Europe. The study focused on the complex mechanism of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases ranging from myocardial infarction to stroke.

The study found that people having moderate amounts of dark chocolate regularly had significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood, which indicates that their inflammatory state was considerably reduced.

Those who ate dark chocolate regularly had a 17% average reduction in C-reactive protein — enough to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by one-third in women and one-fourth in men.

The findings apply to dark chocolate only. Milk chocolate does not have the same effect, since milk interferes with the absorption of polyphenols.

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Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure

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Dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure but over-indulgence in it can cause harm, suggests a new study by researchers in Germany. Chocolates are made from cocoa – the dried and partially fermented fatty seed of the cacao tree.

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Cocoa contains flavonoid, a type of chemical that researchers say has been shown to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Cologne studied 44 people with raised blood pressure, putting them into two groups. One ate six grams of dark chocolate daily, the other the same amount of white chocolate.

The people were between 56 to 73 years with either upper-range pre hypertension (blood pressure between 130/85 and 139/89) or stage 1 hypertension (blood pressure between 140/90 and 160/100).

None of those eating dark chocolate registered changes in body weight or their levels of glucose and lipids, the researchers wrote in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA).

Their systolic blood pressure – the upper reading which measures the force of blood as the heart beats – fell by 2.9 mm and their diastolic blood pressure – the lower figure taken as the heart relaxes – reduced by 1.9 mm.

The suggestion that cocoa is beneficial for health is not new and previous research had also suggested it could bring down blood pressure.

However, it had been thought that large quantities were needed to achieve the desired effect and that the benefits would then be offset by the consequences of consuming the high levels of fat and sugar associated with cocoa products.

But the researchers said they have now shown that benefits can be achieved with a small amount – 30 calories worth of chocolate.

They noted that the blood pressure reduction was small but stressed that the effects were clinically noteworthy.

A 3 mm reduction in blood pressure could “reduce the relative risk of stroke mortality by 8 percent, of coronary artery disease by 5 percent, and of all cause mortality by 4 percent,” the researchers said.

They also stressed that asking people to consume a couple of chunks of chocolate a day was far easier than encouraging “complex behavioural changes” to help them reduce their blood pressure.

However, the British Heart Foundation‘s nutritionist Sara Stanner warned that it was “important to remember that chocolate is also high in fat and calories so over-indulgence is not good for your heart.
Source:The Times Of India