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If Your Legs Easily Feel Cold And Numb, Science Says You Should Eat Dark Chocolate

If Your Legs Easily Feel Cold And Numb, Science Says You Should Eat Dark Chocolate

The next time you have the urge to reach for that sinful bar of chocolate; don’t stop yourself, especially if it’s dark chocolate you crave. There have been studies and theories about dark chocolate being good stress buster as well giving you an endorphin high for the last decade or so because of it having a high polyphenol content, but the real secret of dark chocolate being healthy, lies in its vascular benefits.

The Vascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate

The very same polyphenols that reduce stress and inflammation in the body also reduce oxidative stress on the arteries since they are anti-oxidants. They also help the body produce more of nitric oxide, which has a dilatory effect on arteries. Nitric oxide basically acts on the receptors located in the walls of the arteries, prompting them to widen.

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A widened artery means a better blood flow, which in turn equates to a better vascular and circulatory system of the body. And having a better blood flow is helpful for everyone, be it at any age – for when the blood flow opens up, the blood pressure goes down to optimum levels.

Do I Need Vascular Benefits?

Everybody benefits from a better vascular system. The cells of the body need a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients, and also need their wastes removed in an effective and timely manner. The heart, blood vessels and blood work together to provide this very essential service to the body. The blood vessels take in oxygenated blood from the lungs and distribute it to all the cells of the body, and then, in turn, collect the carbon dioxide from the cells and give it to the lungs for exhalation.

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Similarly, the blood gathers nutrients from the small intestine and yet again delivers it to all cells, collecting waste and taking it to the larger intestine and the kidneys to then be passed out of the body as feces and urine.

If the vascular system develops any problems, such as a poor blood flow due to narrowing of arteries – this essential service gets disrupted leading to minor problems such as cramps, restless legs syndrome, pains and aches all over the body, numbness and fatigue. If left untreated, poor circulation can ultimately result in PAD, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney and organ failure and much more.

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Can Dark Chocolate Really Help in Better Circulation?

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has shown that eating dark chocolate can help people suffering from PAD (peripheral artery disease, affecting about 20% of adults over 70 all over the world). People with PAD have a constricted blood flow to the limbs which leads to walking problems, cramping and numbness in the extremities and even poor motor control. In a controlled study of 20 participants suffering from PAD – half were given 40gms of dark chocolate with 85% cocoa while the others were given chocolate with only 20% cocoa content. All the participants were made to walk on their own on treadmills to measure the effect and surprisingly; the dark chocolate group walked an average 11% more than the others – showing that dark chocolate improved blood circulation in a good way.

But, I Don’t Have Any Circulatory Problems

That’s awesome news. It means you have kept yourself healthy and follow a balanced lifestyle. However, remember the adage, prevention is better than cure. So eating dark chocolate in effect, is adding a dose of healthiness to your everyday life for it ensure, to an extent that your vascular system remains functioning at its optimum. The recommended “dose” of dark chocolate is 30 to 60gms every day (1 to 2 ounces) – the more the cocoa content, the better.

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Simply put – other than putting you in a happy mood, making you lose some weight and reducing those general aches and pains; dark chocolate can really give your heart and the vascular system a super healthy boost. This is called guilt-free indulgence!

Featured photo credit: Everydayhealth via everydayhealth.com

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Rima Pundir

Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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