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White Chocolate for Heart Health

Posted Jan 16 2013 10:07pm

Amassing research suggests a wealth of potential health effects of dark chocolate, ranging from improvements to cardiovascular markers to benefits on cognitive performance.  Luisa M. Ostertag, from University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom), and colleagues enrolled 42 healthy men and women in a study where each received 60 grams of a flavanol-enriched dark chocolate (containing 907 mg of flavanols),  standard dark chocolate (containing 382 mg of flavanols), or white chocolate (zero flavanol content).  The enriched dark chocolate yielded significant decreases in platelet aggregation as well as expression of the cell adhesion molecule P-selectin – in men, only.  The same enriched dark chocolate was observed to decrease platelet aggregation and increase fibrinogen binding – in women, only.  Among men who consumed the white chocolate, P-selectin expression was decreased and bleeding time was increased.  The study authors submit that: “compounds in white chocolate, can improve platelet function, dependent on gender, and may thus beneficially affect atherogenesis.”

Luisa M. Ostertag, Paul A. Kroon, Sharon Wood, Graham W. Horgan, Elena Cienfuegos-Jovellanos, Shikha Saha, Garry G. Duthie, Baukje de Roos.  “Flavan-3-ol-enriched dark chocolate and white chocolate improve acute measures of platelet function in a gender-specific waya randomized-controlled human intervention trial.”  Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 8 November 2012.

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#107 - Foil the Common Sleep Robbers
If you experience trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, consider the following:

• An irregular or inconsistent schedule of being awake/asleep sets the biological stage for poor sleep. Set a regular schedule, particularly for the time at which you get up everyday.

• Avoid caffeine (commonly found in soda, soft drinks, coffee, and tea), which is a stimulant, for six hours before bedtime, longer if you know these substances give you trouble sleeping. Also avoid hidden sources of caffeine, such as chocolate and some over-the-counter pain and cold remedies.

• Avoid nicotine (from cigarettes or a skin patch), also a stimulant, for at least six hours prior to bedtime.

• Avoid alcohol after dinnertime. While a drink may help you fall asleep, it will probably cause you to awaken in the middle of the night.

• If you are on any prescription or over-the-counter medications, ask your doctor if any of them could be keeping you awake or causing you not to get a refreshing sleep.
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