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Some Health Benefits of Chocolate

While we may have been taught since a very young age that all chocolate is bad for you, it’s okay to indulge your sweet tooth once in awhile, for holidays or otherwise. Chocolate is a universal taste among human beings, and some say that nine out of ten people like chocolate – and the tenth is lying.

Chocolate has such a poor reputation from a health standpoint that this may be difficult to believe, but the truth is that we really don’t need to feel guilty about eating it. Chocolate comprised of 70% cocoa is actually a healthy indulgence. However, the relative healthiness of the chocolate you consume will depend on both the quality and the quantity of the chocolate.

Let’s consider the health benefits of chocolate. You probably feel like you get a bit of a rush from eating chocolate. You’re not imagining it – chocolate contains a phyto-nutrient that acts as an endorphin in humans, producing a pleasurable sensation akin to a “runner’s high.”

Chocolate can almost be considered an antidepressant. This could explain why so many people indulge in chocolate when they’re feeling down. Swiss scientists showed that eating 40g of dark chocolate each day lowered the occurrence of stress hormones in the bloodstream, which helps people manage the effects of stress.

Due to its popularity as a food, many studies have been conducted on the health benefits of dark chocolate, and the results are quite positive. One Swedish study found that after a heart attack, those who consumed chocolate at least twice a week tripled their chances of survival over those who didn’t eat any chocolate.

In addition, a Canadian study showed that risk of stroke was decreased in individuals who ate chocolate once a week in relation to those who didn’t.

The benefits of chocolate are imparted by compounds called flavinoids, which are present in the cocoa. These flavinoids act as a potent anti-oxidant in the human body, protecting our DNA from damage from oxidation. This effect means that chocolate could potentially be considered an anti-aging food.

So don’t feel guilty about eating a little chocolate on Easter, or any other day, for that matter. Of course, it’s still best to eat chocolate in moderation; a full bar every day is too much. You’ll also want to find chocolate composed of 70% cocoa or more, and organic chocolate is great if it’s available to you.

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May 20, 2010 Posted by | Chocolate, Food & Drink | , , , | Leave a comment

Health Reform Changes Affect Health Insurance Georgia Policies

The health reform bills that have been recently passed are going to change a lot for the health insurance companies. Although no one is sure exactly how that will affect health insurance Georgia plan premiums, many people are concerned that insurance companies will raise prices because they are being required to accept more high risk members. The government has set up regulations that prevent health insurance Georgia companies from denying coverage to qualified Georgia residents, even those with pre-existing medical problems or other health high risks behaviors. The only health risk that is allowed to play a part in premiums is smoking.

Also, the bill requires health insurance Georgia companies to pay many fees and contribute to some new government programs. It is possible that all of this additional expense will flow down and increase health insurance Georgia plan premiums to the members. The insurance providers are being restricted and limited from what rules they can impose on members. Some of these restrictions will benefit members and owners of a health insurance Georgia plan. For example, there will eventually not be annual lifetime limit on benefits. Another benefit will be that the age requirement for children to be included in their parents’ health insurance Georgia plan will be raised, possibly until age 26. This will really help young adults who are currently one of the biggest age groups to go without any health insurance Georgia benefits.

Health insurance Georgia companies will be required to include certain health benefits in their health insurance Georgia plans. These include emergency room services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse care, prescription drugs, and others. At this time, not all health insurance Georgia policies include all of these services. In fact, often, HMO plans do not include mental health and substance abuse, or maternity benefits, for those individuals who predict they will not need these services and wish to have lower premiums. After 2012, this will no longer be allowed, as this is a new federal requirement.

Other changes include that certain preventive services, such as recommended immunizations, preventive care for children and adolescents, and screenings for women, will be required inclusions in all health insurance Georgia plans, and will not require a co-payment. This change may go into effect as early as late 2010. Certainly having preventive care is a big advantage of health insurance Georgia plans. However, if all health insurance Georgia policies include all of these services, and the insurance companies have to assume all of these costs, the premiums will probably be affected. This will be an advantage to those who require these services, but a disadvantage to those who do not.

Not all of the changes will benefit members in the short-term, however. For example, starting in 2014, all U.S. citizens will be required to have coverage, which means that all of Georgia residents will have to purchase their own health insurance Georgia policy unless they get one through their work. The penalty for not having coverage will be an additional tax, which increases every year. For individuals who have chosen to cut corners by not having health insurance Georgia coverage, and then this will be an additional expense.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment