(BPT) - Did you dance in delight the first time you heard that dark chocolate is good for you? Did you think that your favorite indulgence just became an official "health food?" Popular culture often makes too much of health benefit claims, especially when it comes to food and drink that many people consider guilty pleasures. It's important to understand it's not always the item itself, but certain components in it that have potential health benefits.
Here is the truth behind two common pop-culture myths:
Dark chocolate is good for you
Wouldn't it be great if every time you bit into your favorite chocolate treat or candy bar you were actually doing something healthful?
Unfortunately, it's not the chocolate itself that's healthy. It's the cocoa flavanols that are found in cocoa beans that are actually thought to be healthful. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols help to support your health by promoting healthy blood flow.
Consuming your favorite chocolate bar may make you feel happy, but chocolate also contains a lot of things you don't need too much in your diet, like calories, fat and sugar. Plus, the traditional process of turning cocoa beans into chocolate destroys most of the cocoa flavanols, leaving chocolate tasty but without its original good stuff.
Taking a daily supplement that contains cocoa flavanols, such as CocoaVia(R) supplement, is a more sensible way to tap the potential health benefits of cocoa flavanols. The supplement comes in two forms - capsules and powdered stick packs that you can mix into the food or beverage of your choice.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these claims, nor is the product intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Visit Cocoavia.com to learn more.
Red wine promotes health
Red wine's claim to fame is largely tied to the presence of a powerful compound, called resveratrol, in the skin of grapes. Population studies have shown that individuals who include wine in their regular diet have better overall cardiovascular health, a benefit that may be related to wine's resveratrol content.
Red wine typically contains some resveratrol, but not much. You would have to drink a lot of wine for many years to get enough resveratrol into your system to see any benefits from it. However, red wine contains calories and alcohol, making it an occasional treat.
But luckily red wine is not the only source of resveratrol. If you would like to increase your resveratrol intake, you can more of other things that contain it, such as peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries and, yes, grapes! These foods are also rich in other beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber!
It's human nature to wish everything you love to eat and drink would also be healthful. And while there's no denying that a piece of chocolate or glass of red wine can be spiritually satisfying, the reality is a balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein sources according to the USDA's dietary guidelines, will always be best for your body.
(BPT) - We all have annual to-do’s — from filing our taxes to celebrating our birthdays, these once-a-year rituals are in the fabric of our lives. Some tasks we enjoy more than others, but each holds significance. One of these important yearly tasks is selecting your insurance benefits at work during what is commonly referred to as open enrollment. With the stresses of work and life already bearing down on us, having to choose from a sometimes complicated set of benefit options can be a struggle. But is this process really so bad? How do people really feel about open enrollment?
For the second year in a row, VSP Vision Care, the nation’s only not-for-profit vision care company, conducted the “Open Talk About Open Enrollment” national survey to get to the bottom of what this time period really means for people — and some of it may surprise you.
Here are five key takeaways revealed by the 2016 survey:
1. You may not know it, but you’re probably not looking forward to it.
More than a third (36 percent) of respondents reported approaching open enrollment with “dread” or “annoyance.” However, more than half (53 percent) of respondents felt “satisfied” or “relieved” when the process was over.
2. Most people take their time with the open enrollment process, but don’t push the deadline.
Among all respondents, the majority (54 percent) chose “Relaxed Rule Follower” (not early, not last-minute) to describe the timeliness with which they actually complete open enrollment. Just over a third (35 percent) chose “Eager Completer” (get it done right away) and the remaining respondents (11 percent) went with “Persistent Procrastinator” (put it off until the last possible moment).
3. The ultimate question: open enrollment or doing your taxes?
In a list of other annual to-dos, open enrollment landed in the middle when survey respondents were asked to rank in order what they would most like to do:
1. Doing your taxes
2. Celebrating your birthday
3. Completing open enrollment
4. Doing holiday shopping
5. Getting your yearly physical
6. Public speaking trumps all.
When included on a list of possible things to never have to do again, open enrollment came in last, with the majority preferring instead to eliminate speaking in public, waiting in an airport security line, and going to the dentist (in that order) from the rest of their lives.
5. Vision plan knowledge and importance are up.
The number of respondents who reported feeling “more knowledgeable” about their vision benefits increased by 11 points this year (66 percent compared to 55 percent in the 2015 survey). Additionally, the number of respondents who ranked having a vision plan as “important” or “very important” was up by 10 points (83 percent compared to 73 percent in 2015). Vision care is typically one of the easiest, quickest and least expensive benefit options to review and select. When it comes to vision care, just “check the box”. Learn more at www.SeeMuchMore.com.
With athletes of all ages taking to fields and courts, there are important steps that can be taken to reduce young athletes’ exposure to concussions and increase overall player safety during practice and games, including knowing concussion signs, utilizing available educational resources, practicing proper technique and understanding return-to-play protocol.
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