February 29th, 2012
Cultures around the world have enjoyed chocolate in its many forms for a thousand years or more. In its earlier days, the Mayans and Aztecs sipped a chocolate beverage during sacred and religious ceremonies. Later, Europeans enjoyed chocolate enhanced by refined sugar and milk as dessert and candies. There are powerful scientific properties and findings that relate to chocolate. From its processing to potential health benefits, here are five fun facts about your favorite treat:
- Chocolate is made from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree. In its raw form, the seed possesses a bitter flavor. In the production of chocolate, the seeds are fermented in order to change the flavor.
- Due to a high concentration in flavanols, recent research suggests that the cardiovascular system may benefit from chocolate. Flavanols improve blood flow to the heart and brain, lower blood pressure and have antioxidant qualities.
- Flavanols are also the reason for chocolate’s natural bitter taste. The more processing that occurs in creating your favorite candy, less flavanols remain in the chocolate. Less flavanols means less healthy. Food manufacturers are currently exploring techniques to preserve flavanols in the manufacturing process.
- The specific flavanol thought to be responsible for most of these cardiovascular benefits is called “epicatechin.”
- Research into the potential health benefits of chocolate was in-part inspired by the Kuna people of Panama, who drink five to seven cups per day of a cocoa drink. The Kuna people have higher kidney function and lower rates of heart disease than other Panamanians, which sparked interest in the possible correlation between the cocoa drink and health.
The earliest documented consumption of chocolate was in 1100 BC, and it has remained one of the world’s most popular food types and flavors. Now isn’t that delicious? You know what I have the taste for right now?
February 21st, 2012
Women’s Hearts Beat Faster Than Men’s
A female human heart pumps about six beats faster per minute than a male heart, which can be explained by the gender difference in heart size. A male heart is bigger (by about 25 percent), so it can pump more blood in a single beat.
But having a quicker heart beat doesn’t equal quicker finishing times for runners. Because men’s hearts can pump more blood, on average, they tend to run faster than women.
Your Heart Doesn’t Stop When You Sneeze
The increased pressure in your chest can affect blood flow to the heart, briefly changing its rhythm, but contrary to common belief, your heart doesn’t skip a beat when you sneeze. That doesn’t mean you should stop saying “bless you” or “gesundheit” after a sneeze, though. It’s only polite!
Despite the name, your heart doesn’t stop during heart failure either. It just can’t pump blood as well as it should. The only time the heart stops is during cardiac arrest.
MAINTAIN HEALTHY HAPPY HEARTS – inside and out!
February 9th, 2012
The all-important heart is constantly at work, pumping blood (about 2,000 gallons a day) filled with essential oxygen and nutrients to your body’s organs 24/7. Everything about the heart and how it works is interesting, but here are some nuggets of information we found particularly fascinating.
The Heart Sits in the Center of the Chest, Not On the Left Side
Does this blow your mind because you’ve always been told it’s on the left? When we place our hands over our hearts to pledge allegiance, we actually go a tad too far to the left. The heart is located in the middle of the chest, snuggled between the lungs.
A small percentage of people are born with dextrocardia, a condition in which the heart points more toward the right side of the chest than the left. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, people who have dextrocardia with situs inversus (when visceral organs like the liver and spleen are reversed too) can live normal lives without any disability.
In many cases, though, dextrocardia is associated with other heart defects or other misplaced, and even missing, organs that might require surgery to correct.
It’s important to watch your normal heart rate over time, too. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found people whose resting heart rates increased from under 70 beats per minute to more than 85 beats per minute over 10 years had a 90 percent increased risk of suffering from heart disease compared to those whose heart rates stayed around 70 beats per minute.
MAINTAIN HAPPY HEALTHY HEARTS – inside and out!
February 2nd, 2012
— It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.
— Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe!
— Your heart rate can rise as much as 30% during a yawn.
— Your hair grows faster in the morning than at any other time of day.
— The average person has over 1,460 dreams a year!
— You inhale about 700,000 of your own skin flakes each day.
— When your face blushes, the lining of your stomach turns red, too.
— Unlike dogs, pigs, and some other mammals, humans cannot taste water. They taste only the chemicals and impurities in the water.
— There are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people in the world.
— The most pushups ever performed in one day was 46,001.
— The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 ft.
— The aorta, the largest artery in the body, is almost the diameter of a garden hose.