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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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