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CornerStone Blog

Month: February 2020

This February, LOVE your heart!

February is traditionally the month for love and all things heart related. February is also American Heart Month which reminds us to take good care of our hearts and focus on our heart health. Did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease – that is over 800,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Are you at risk?

Cardiovascular disease is the term used to encompass all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. Heart disease and the related diseases that go with it can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Are you at risk? Do you know what the top leading risk factors are? Half of all Americans have at least one risk factor. 

The three main risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Other conditions and risk factors that increase your risk include: obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating patterns. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to start living a heart healthy lifestyle. Think GO RED.

G: GET your numbers.

Go to your doctor and have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.

O: OWN your lifestyle!

Start exercising. You should exercise 30-45 minutes each day and at least 2 of those days should be strengthening exercises. Change your eating habits. Start to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat. Limit foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium as well as foods that are high in sugar/ other sweeteners. Stop smoking. The chemicals in tobacco harm our hearts and blood vessels. Pick a date to quit, tell your family and friends and quit together or ask for support. Schedule regular well appointments with your doctor. It’s your life…. OWN it!

R: RECOGNIZE your risk!

We all think it won’t happen to us!

E: EDUCATE!

Yourself, your family and others! Teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle!

D: DON’T be silent!

Tell everyone that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in America and make sure those you love are informed so they can make the best choices for their health!

Good News – Chocolate Has Benefits!

We’ve all heard that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. But, who among us wouldn’t like to hear “eat more chocolate”? Sounds too good to be true, right? But nutrition science is happily revealing that chocolate can, in fact, be good for you!


Eating 1 to 2 ounces of chocolate every day may result in some major health benefits. But, it’s important to choose the right kind of chocolate – make sure you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% or more cacao/cocoa content. The darker the chocolate, the higher amount of key vitamins and minerals like magnesium, manganese, fiber, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.

Improved Blood Flow

The flavanols found in dark chocolate help arteries relax, improving blood flow and preventing clots.

Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

The compounds in dark chocolate reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein - otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”) and support cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

Cognitive Function

Researchers have found that chocolate increases blood flow to the brain.

Diabetes Prevention

Studies have revealed that people who ate about 3 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 15 days lowered their insulin resistance significantly.

Stress Reduction

Dark chocolate produces stress busting endorphins.

Fights Fatigue

Dark chocolate enhances the actions of neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin, to help regulate your mood and sleep.

Good for Teeth

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been proved to harden tooth enamel and cocoa butter covers teeth with a protective coating, which impedes bacteria growth.

Improved Gastrointestinal Flora

Dark chocolate is a probiotic food.

Athletic Performance

Findings published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that a little dark chocolate might boost oxygen availability during fitness training.  The scientists believe that the success of dark chocolate in this case is that it contains flavonols known as epicatechins, which enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to buy your loved one a box of chocolates – just make sure they are dark chocolates.  When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a great choice for a treat (after you’ve eaten a meal of healthy protein and good veggies and fruit of course)!

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