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Blog posts tagged with 'dark chocolate'

Combat Oxidative Stress With Antioxidants

We hear that antioxidants are good for us, but the reasons why are not always clear. Free radicals and oxidative stress are some of the most important terms to learn when it comes to antioxidants. For your nutrition, these little fighters can make or break the balance that is your health. But how do they work, and where can you get your antioxidants in the first place?

Getting the Details on Oxidative Stress

The body constantly goes through a process called oxidation. It metabolizes the oxygen that we breathe in, which helps the cells produce energy. However, along with energy, free-radicals are also created. As they make contact with the molecules within the cells, it can result in damage to the mitochondria, our DNA, and other cells nearby.

Free radicals, however, can be useful to the body. Though they may cause damage, they also stimulate repair in the cells, vital for keeping your health in good balance. It’s when free radicals are produced too quickly that it can become a hazard to the body, resulting in more damaged cells than healthy, repaired ones. This is called oxidative stress, when oxidation is far outweighing the balance of your health.

Oxidation itself can occur for several reasons: When your cells use glucose for energy, when your immune system fights off bacteria, and when the body detoxifies pollutants. Yet, when your body is stressed, physically or emotionally, this can increase oxidation. This can be caused by outside pollution, cigarette smoking, alcoholic consumption, and infection. Once the amount of free radicals produced outnumber the antioxidants in your body, it becomes oxidative stress.

Do You Have Oxidative Stress?

The signs of oxidative stress can vary, but some of the most common include:

  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle or joint discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Wrinkles and grey hair
  • Worsening eye sight

To avoid oxidative stress, you need to avoid unnecessary oxidation. Stress can increase the frequency of the oxidation process, along with sugary and processed foods, as the cells produce energy with the help of sugar/glucose. It is also important to increase your consumption of antioxidants, which help block oxidation. While antioxidants are naturally present in your body, you can get them from outside sources to help regain the balance.

The Power of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the molecules in your body that fight back against free radicals, neutralizing the damage they cause. They do so by giving electrons to the free radicals, which prevents them from causing any more harm. When there’s not enough antioxidants, free radicals can run rampant, causing constant damage to the cells.

Combat Oxidantive Stress With AntioxidantsWhile the human body generates antioxidants, like glutathione, you can get your fill from foods and supplements. Some famous antioxidants are Vitamin C and E, which you can find most in plant-based food, usually of the berry variety.

Some antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Dark chocolate

Certain meat products and fish also have antioxidants in them, though smaller than what is usually found in fruits and vegetables. They are also present in beverages such as tea, and even coffee.

OxyPlus, an Antioxidant-Rich Supplement

A balance of antioxidants is what your body needs to stay healthy and functioning. OxyPlus provides that with its unique blend of ingredients, such as the familiar Vitamin C and Vitamin E, along with the unique Oxyplex blend. Extracts from red wine, green tea and grape seed help make up the blend, creating a fortified supplement that delivers the necessary antioxidants to your body. To beat the oxidative stress, antioxidants are the key to de-stressing, giving your cells the protection it needs.

Click here to Try OxyPlus today!


Dark Chocolate Brightens Up Your Heart Health


Dark Chocolate Brightens Up Your Heart HealthMost of us dread eating things that are supposed to be good for our health (do you remember being forced to eat your greens when you were a kid?). But what if we told you that you could actually improve your heart health by eating chocolate?

According to Mee Young Hong, PhD, associate professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at San Diego State University, chocolate has remarkable benefits to your heart. But it’s important to be picky about the type of chocolate you consume because dark chocolate is a clear winner over white chocolate when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels and improving cholesterol.

Pick Dark Chocolate Over White Chocolate

Pure, unprocessed cocoa that hasn’t been heavily processed with sugar and preservatives is actually quite healthy because it is loaded with compounds called flavonols, which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dark chocolate contains up to 70% of cocoa solids whereas white chocolate has no cocoa solids at all. In her study, Dr. Hong and her team assigned 31 men and women 1.7 ounces of dark, white, or “bloomed” dark chocolate daily for 15 days. Bloomed chocolate is chocolate that has been melted, but stuck back in the refrigerator to reharden. Dr. Hong wanted to test this type of chocolate to see if blooming affected the health properties of the chocolate. At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that the participants who ate dark chocolate, compared to the white chocolate eaters, had:

  • Lower blood sugar because cocoa helps the body use insulin more effectively
  • Improved good HDL cholesterol
  • Decreased bad LDL cholesterol

Results were consistent even for the people who ate bloomed dark chocolate.

Additional Research Sweetens the Deal

A similar study conducted by scientists in Germany found that dark chocolate may also help lower blood pressure, again due to cocoa’s antioxidant capabilities that support the arteries and circulation. But just because the results look promising, it’s no reason to overindulge out on chocolate (remember, most store-brand chocolate is packed with sugar and calories!). You can, however, reward yourself every so often with a bar of dark chocolate to brighten up your mood—and your heart.