Chocolate and Red Wine: Are They Really Good for You?

Pour your heart a glass of red wine!If you enjoyed a glass of red wine and a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day this weekend, you’re not alone. Both are known to fire up the romance. But research is showing that wine and chocolate can be good for your physical heart, too.

Red Wine’s Superpower: Resveratrol

At the heart of the argument that red wine is good for your health is resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammation. It’s found in the skin of grapes, including those present in the wine fermentation process.

Some studies have found resveratrol helps lower incidences of obesity and diabetes in mice. Both diseases are risk factors for heart disease. However, to get the benefit, you would have to drink 1,000 liters of red wine every day!

Drinking 1,000 liters of red wine is clearly not realistic. Doctors suggest drinking in moderation to benefit from the antioxidants in red wine. Healthy adult women and men over 65 should limit themselves to one 5-ounce glass per day. Men 65 and younger can drink up to two 5-ounce glasses. People with heart disease or weak hearts should avoid alcohol altogether.

Chocolate: It’s all about the Flavinoids

Some studies have shown that chocolate has similar health benefits to red wine. Like the libation, chocolate can be rich in antioxidants, especially flavonoids and flavenols. These antioxidants can lower blood pressure and improve the function of your veins. They may even help reduce cell damage in your heart.

However, only certain chocolate contains these helpful antioxidants. Plain cocoa has a very pungent taste few people enjoy. The flavonoids give chocolate this taste. Companies often process their chocolate to get rid of the pungent taste, but doing so reduces the flavonoids, too.

To get the most out of your chocolate, look for dark chocolate over milk. Find cocoa powder that has not been through the Dutch processing method. Since chocolate often contains added sugar and fat, be sure to limit your portions to 1 ounce a few times per week.

Red wine and chocolate are decadent treats that can help keep you healthy, too. To find other products that are good and good for you, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Show Your Customers Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Show your customers some love by keeping a clean workplace.You just celebrated Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart, but what about your customers? Show them some love by helping them stay healthy this flu season.

Workplaces surfaces can be breeding grounds for germs. The average desktop contains nearly 11,000 germs per square inch. Doorknobs, phones, pens, counters, coffeepot handles, and computer equipment all harbor germs, too.

And those are just surfaces found in an office. Nonconventional workplaces, such as fitness centers and daycares have surfaces that can get germy, too. If you don’t take steps to disinfect your workplace regularly, you may be providing your customers with more than just great service.

Give Customers the Gift of Flu Prevention

When surfaces are not disinfected regularly, they can expose your customers and employees to illness-spreading germs, including those that cause flu. Keep your customers healthy and happy by keeping a clean workplace.

Take time to disinfect the counters, doorknobs, phones, pens, and even computer equipment your customers come in contact with. Don’t forget to pay special attention to the restroom. Encourage staff members to wash their hands often, especially after interacting with a customer.

In some workplaces, such as fitness centers and daycares, you may need to be a bit more thorough. Gym equipment and daycare toys get a lot of use from many different people. It’s important to give these surfaces some extra attention. Provide disinfecting spray so gym members can wipe down the equipment they use. After you close for the evening, give everything a good once-over yourself. Encourage members to bring their own towels, mats, and water bottles.

Daycare equipment can also harbor germs. Grimy hands and runny noses don’t help, either. Stay on top of cleaning throughout the day, and then disinfect shared toys and other equipment after the last child leaves for the evening. Parents and kids will thank you for it.

Don’t Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater

Be sure you don’t introduce more health hazards in your effort to keep your workplace clean. Conventional all-purpose cleaners and disinfect often contain hazardous chemicals that can cause illness.

Instead, choose powerful products that contain natural disinfectants. Look for products that clean using plant-derived cleaners, such as citric acid and thymol. These cleaners will scrub away harmful germs without leaving a chemical residue that may make your customers and staff sick.

This Valentine’s Day, give your customers the gift of good health, especially during this active flu season. To try a natural, all-purpose cleaner, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Five Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

What are your 2015 resolutions?New Year’s is time for a fresh start. Approximately 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions in January. People vow to lose weight, exercise more, pay off all their debt, and save more money for retirement.

But more often than not, most resolutions fall by the wayside in a matter of weeks. Only 8 percent of resolutions succeed. That means a whopping 92 percent fail. Most people set goals that are too large, too vague, and unrealistic. These types of resolutions are very difficult—and sometimes impossible—to keep.

However, there are factors that make resolutions more likely to succeed. To meet your New Year’s resolution and become one of the 8 percent, follow these five tips.

Tip 1: Keep It Simple

The first tip to make your resolution succeed is to keep it simple. Long laundry lists of goals or extreme goals are difficult to meet. Instead, set resolutions that are:

  • small
  • attainable
  • measurable
  • tangible

A resolution to “lose some weight” is vague and unmeasurable. Instead, try something like “lose five pounds by the end of February.” This goal is small and attainable. You could measure your progress and stay on track to meet a tangible deadline.

Tip 2: Keep It Visible

Don’t keep your resolution to yourself. Keep a visual record of your progress toward meeting your goal. Put it in a place where you’ll see it every day, and consider sharing it with friends and family members. Not only will they help you stay accountable, they will also help encourage you to stay on track.

Tracking your progress can also be motivating. Choose a tracking method that works best for you. Keep a paper record on your fridge or go electronic with a spreadsheet. There are many smartphone apps that can help you track your goals, too.

Tip 3: Believe in Yourself

It may seem too easy, but simply believing you can meet your goal can help you meet it. In fact, just setting a goal increases your chances of success. Use positive self-talk to boost your confidence and get you through challenges.

If you fall off the wagon, don’t use it as an excuse to throw in the towel. Instead, recommit to your goal for 24 hours. Once you meet that little goal, recommit for another 24. Before you know it, you’ll be back on track.

Tip 4: Make a Plan

Though some great ideas occur spontaneously, most great resolutions are planned. Decide on a deadline for your goal and plan out smaller goals that will help you meet your resolution.

While you’re making your plan, come up with a strategy for dealing with obstacles. Having a plan for obstacles will make it easier to overcome them.

Tip 5: Reward Yourself Creatively

Don’t forget to reward yourself for staying on track. But make sure your rewards support your resolution. It’s counterproductive to reward yourself with an ice cream sundae when your resolution is to lose weight.

Instead, come up with some creative ideas for rewards that won’t derail your goal. You could treat yourself to new workout clothes, a trip to the spa, or a night at the movies.

Make your resolution a success by following these five tips. For support in meeting your goal to have a healthy and happy 2015, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance