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Did you know that Chocolate and Yoga have something in COMMOM?????

We know that Yoga reduces stress and improves overall circulation, but did you know that chocolate has a few of these same health benefits?

Yoga helps to ease tension in your body, and calms the mind. A Yoga class can help you feel more centered and increase strength and flexibility. The deep breathing and gentle meditation in a class helps the body to relax, restore and you will begin to feel rejuvenated from doing a regular practice.

Just ask any of the students that come to classes regularly at New Town Fitness Center. When I think about chocolate I think of a mouth watering delicious treat. Actually it is the number one food craving that people report, enjoying a chocolate treat usually creates a sense of guilt, chocolate has never really been considered a health food.

The good news is that chocolate, in MODERATION can be considered part of a balanced diet with some positive side effects. Flavonoids are found in chocolate, a biological component of plant foods that can help reduce risk of heart disease. Various flavonoids have been show to prevent oxidation, chelate (bind) metals, stimulate the immune system and also reduce an allergic response, prevent formation of carcinogens, impede cancer cell growth, and protect against bacteria and viruses according to Agricultural Research magazine from the USDA. Chocolate contains the flavonoids Catechins also found in tea (regular black tea, not herbal teas) and this flavonoid in the diet offers some protection to the heart from disease.

Researchers found eating 100g of dark chocolate each day for 15 days lowered blood pressure. In another study consumption of cocoa in healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 77 resulted in significantly improved vascular responsiveness. (The measure the researchers used looked at the “stiffness” of blood vessels. In patients whose blood vessels are “stiff,” hypertension is common.) The beneficial effect was most pronounced in patients over 50 years of age.

Another study reported in Hypertension, Italian investigators showed that feeding 100 grams of dark chocolate daily to hypertensive patients improved their systolic and diastolic blood pressures-and lowered their LDL cholesterol levels. (Unfortunately a control group was feed white chocolate and had no beneficial effects.) Dark Chocolate has more flavonoids than lighter chocolate, just a side note when they added milk to the chocolate this inhibits the absorption of flavonoids. So any benefit gained by eating chocolate may be limited to dark chocolate.

After reading this, maybe your having a bit of a craving for chocolate, well you’re in luck.
New Town Fitness Center is having Health Fair May 5th, I will have a table there and would love to see you, so come by my booth to get a free piece of Dark (Healthy) Chocolate.

I can also let you know more about the health benefits of Yoga.
Along with a piece of Chocolate you can pick up the current schedule of Yoga classes offered three times a week at the New Town Fitness Center.

By Mary Francis Hoffman Registered Yoga Teacher and Somatic Educator

For more info please call me, 314-443-0206
Mary Francis Hoffman PHD, REACE, RSME

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