Chocolate: A Brief History + Possible Heart-Health Benefits

HeartThroughout chocolate’s history, it has been believed to possess mysterious properties, from the ability to act as an aphrodisiac and enhance moods to allowing humans to connect directly to their gods.

The bitter drink of ancient Mesoamerica became a European import in the early 1500s, along with sugar. With the massive popularity of chocolate, it’s amazing that it took Richard Cadbury until 1861 to invent and commercialize “eating chocolates.” These were the first mass-produced chocolate candies, packed neatly inside heart-shaped boxes embellished with popular Valentine’s Day iconography.

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Proven Tips For Reading Nutrition Labels

Healthy Life SignAmericans are increasingly more health-conscious, insisting on healthier foods in the grocery store and better reporting of product ingredients.

But even as we’re demanding changes to our food supply, many among us still struggle with understanding exactly what’s in each and every package on the store shelves. This is where carefully reading nutrition labels can make a huge difference.

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Act F.A.S.T.: Recognizing The Signs + Symptoms Of A Stroke

Doctor Smiling To CameraEvery year, nearly 800,000 Americans will have a stroke. As many as 130,000 of those people will die, accounting for one in 20 deaths annually.

When you consider that 49 percent of Americans have at least one of the three main stroke risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being a smoker), you can see just how important it is that everyone know the signs and symptoms of a stroke so that they may be able to help a friend or family member in trouble.

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5 Ways to Lower Your Risk for Heart Attack and Heart Disease

dr-and-patientsHeart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States – but fortunately there are things you can do to possibly prevent at least some of the risk factors.

There are a number of different risk factors that can determine whether you develop coronary heart disease. By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and making other changes, you can reduce your risk factors significantly – and improve your overall life.

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3 Tips For a Heart-Healthy Workout

Happy senior group moving in fitness centerIf one of your New Year’s resolutions was to start exercising, it’s not too late to get started.

In fact, having a workout routine can improve your heart health dramatically in as little as 30 minutes a day, according to the American Heart Association. The best news is that almost any movement that raises your heart rate can count as exercise, whether that’s walking, biking, swimming or just vigorously cleaning house and dancing with the mop as you go.

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Pay Attention to Your Heart: Time For Your Annual Exam?

drawing chart heartbeatAlthough it might seem like an outdated concept, or a flat-out waste of time, making sure to attend your annual physical can have great benefits for you and your heart.

Besides simply reminding your physician that you exist, visiting him or her regularly gives you the opportunity to voice any concerns about your heart health and provide updates on any changes in your overall wellness.

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Hiking For Weekend Explorers

Healthy LifeHiking can be a wonderful form of exercise and a good way to deal with stress and get back to nature for the entire family. Before you head out to hit the trails, you’ll want to check out these hiking tips to make sure that you are staying safe and getting the most from this activity.

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More Matters Month: Let’s Talk Fruits & Veggies!

Fruits and VegetablesWhile it used to be that “5 A Day” was enough for fruits and vegetables according to government standards, now the CDC is encouraging people to eat “more” of it all. The “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters” campaign is a reminder that adults and kids need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients that they need.

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Time to Check – And Keep in Check – Your Cholesterol

Health EducationCholesterol is an important part of your health – but it needs to be present at the right levels.

That’s why it’s so important to check – and keep in check – your cholesterol. High blood cholesterol can point to an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. But by taking steps to get your cholesterol checked and working on habits that lower bad cholesterol, you may be able to keep things in check for years to come.

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High Blood Pressure: I Got Screened, What’s Next?

Question MarkIf you haven’t been screened for high blood pressure in a long time, here is your wakeup call. It’s time to get into your doctor or health care facility and have your blood pressure measured.

Over 67 million people – that’s about one out of every three U.S. adults – have high blood pressure. The condition makes your heart work harder than it should have to in order to pump blood through your body and keep your vital organs and systems running smoothly. Blood pressure measures the force of the blood on the walls of your blood vessels.

Although in healthy people this pressure rises and decreases throughout the day, some people have chronic high blood pressure – also called hypertension. The pressure is consistently too high and it puts strain on your arteries. With consistent strain, they could fail and cause a heart attack or a stroke.

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