DARK CHOCOLATE AND BREAKFAST

ENJOY DARK CHOCOLATE IN THE MORNING

Here’s the best treatment for better, younger-looking skin: eat a piece of dark chocolate every day, preferably in the morning. Chocolate’s long been heralded for its benefits on brain and heart health, but some research also points to it as a natural sunscreen of sorts (sorry, you still need sunscreen, though). According to one study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of the flavonols in 20 grams of dark chocolate a day helped reduce the risk of sunburn, essentially lowering sensitivity to the sun among the dark chocolate eaters.

High-antioxidant chocolate may also improve skin elasticity or suppleness, skin thickness, hydration, and microcirculation, all of which improve your skin’s appearance.

When choosing the best chocolate, look for one that contains at least 70 percent cocoa—milk chocolate doesn’t cut it—and the fewest ingredients possible. And remember that although chocolate is considered a superfood, noted for its benefits on the heart and brain, it still comes with calories, so indulge in small amounts. Some experts recommend choosing cocoa powder, as it contains the most flavonols but the least amount of calories. Better yet, nosh that chocolate in the morning, as studies have found that this timing can aid weight loss and boost brain function.

EAT BREAKFAST

Mom was right: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, helping you stay healthier in the long haul. Numerous studies have shown that eating breakfast is linked to a healthier weight, better cholesterol levels, and improved heart health.

Skipping breakfast has actually been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. One reason? A study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that breakfast skippers had more hardening of the arteries—a precursor for heart disease—than people who ate breakfast. Skippers also had the highest blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference (they tend to not only eat more overall, but also nosh more unhealthy foods during the day), and blood lipids. Overall, they had an unhealthier lifestyle, as they were more likely to drink alcohol frequently, smoke, and eat a bad diet. Researchers suggest that lack of breakfast causes hormonal imbalances in the body and changes circadian rhythms.

If you’re not used to eating breakfast, eat less before bed so you wake up hungrier, and start with small breakfasts as you adopt this new habit.

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