Tag Archives: heart health

5 Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

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There are plenty of reasons why your indulgence in sweets over the Valentine’s holiday could have actually positively affect your health.  That is, of course, if you were eating dark chocolate. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.  If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

5 of the many benefits include:

  • Heart-Healthy: Flavanols found in dark chocolate have a very positive effect on heart health by helping lower blood pressure and improving blood flow to the heart as well as the brain. They can also reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • Mood Changer: Dark chocolate contains Phenylenthylamine (PEA) which encourages the brain to release endorphins that make you feel good.
  • Better Cognititve Function: Because chocolate increases blood flow to the brain, it can boost brain function.
  • Cancer Prevention: Antioxidants are the compounds that are believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage. The antioxidants in chocolate can help rid your system of free radicals which have been linked to multiple age-related health risks and diseases.
  • High in Vitamins and Minerals: Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations: Potassium, Copper, Magnesium and
    Iron.

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7 Reasons Why Watermelon is Wonderful

iGnite-_Header_WatermelonSlices_July2016

July is National Watermelon Month not only because a slice of watermelon is the ultimate summer treat, but also because the harvest of watermelons peak this month. Since we are right in the middle of peak season, we are sharing some great information about this healthy fruit.

Watermelons are over 90% water, however they are also packed with nutrients. This delicious and refreshing fruit has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. Plus, this wonderful summer treat is fat-free, sweet, light and low-calorie.

 
7 Health Benefits of Watermelon from livescience.com:

  1. Heart health

Watermelon’s high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study at Purdue University. Also, the fruit’s concentrations of citrulline and arginine are good for your heart. Arginine can help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults.

2. Anti-inflammatory properties

Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, the watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.

3. Hydration

Watermelons can help you stay hydrated. Their water content can help keep you hydrated, and their juice is full of good electrolytes. This can even help prevent heat stroke.

4. Digestion

The watermelon contains fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive tract and helps keep you regular.

5. Skin and hair benefits

Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your daily recommended intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.

6. Muscle soreness

Watermelon-loving athletes are in luck: drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce next-day muscle soreness and heart rate, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This can be attributed to watermelon’s amino acids citrulline and arginine, which help improve circulation.

7. Cancer prevention

Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Watermelon is a tasty after dinner sweet treat and is also great in salads, soups, drinks, smoothies, frozen treats and more. Remember all the reasons why watermelon is wonderful and pack it for your next picnic or include it in your summertime meals!


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Special Edition Heart Month T-Shirts Benefitting AHA

Special Edition Heart Month iGnite T-Shirts

Help us support the American Heart Association for Heart Month!

Join the effort by:

  1. Wear red on Friday, Feb. 6th for national Go Red for Women Day
  2. Buy one of our special edition Heart Month t-shirts — of which we’re donating 100% of proceeds straight to the American Heart Association to help them continue their amazing work and further the Go Red for Women awareness campaign
by Catherine Sanderson

by Catherine Sanderson