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Saturday
Feb222014

Fitness Proaction - Self Care over Health Care! by Erin Garmon

Fitness Proaction LLC

Happy February! This month, as the Valentine’s Day approaches, we are reminded to tell those closest to us we love them and show affection to those who deserve it. Consequently, this month brings with it a deluge of hearts and chocolate everywhere we go, so I have decided to make those the main topics of our letter this month.

Have you ever wondered how much your heart does for you? You may be surprised to see what it does for you everyday. Take a look at some facts about your heart in our Focus on Fitness article to find out. Spotlight on Nutrition will discuss making good choices when it comes to America’s sweet treat of choice, chocolate. Finally find some easy and healthy recipes to tempt your tastebuds and a take a quick look at our Fitness Proaction Update to keep up to speed on what’s happening at the studio, including our “Skip-It Heart Challenge” and how you could win a prize this month!

Enjoy!
Focus on Fitness:Anatomical Heart
Heart Facts 
The cardiovascular system is amazing and deserves some recognition for all the hard work it does to keep you alive and thriving, most of the time without your awareness. Just think about it, from early in fetal development until the day you die, your heart beats continually and rhytmically, never taking a break! 
 
Just the FACTS 
  • The vascular system - arteries, veins and capillaries - is over 60,000 miles long, long enough to circle the earth more than twice!
  • The heart pumps about 5 quarts of blood per minutethroughout the body. That’s around 2,000 gallons of blood a day! 
  • The average heart beats about 100,000 times a day! That’s equivalent to more than 2.5 billion times in a 70-year life time!
  • An adult woman’s heart weighs about 8 ounces, a man’s about 10 ounces. 
  • A child’s heart is about the size of a clenched fist, an adult’s heart is the size of two fists. 
  • Blood is 78% water.
  • Blood takes about 20 seconds to circulate the entire vascular system.
Facts About Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
Since the heart and vessels work constantly to keep you alive, damage done by neglect can have significant consequences. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a collective term for cardiac disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD), or cerebrovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease can be congenital or develop from damage done to the heart and vessels over time. Here are some facts about CVD:
  • An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of CVD.
  • Every day, more than 2,400 Americans die of CVD - that’s one person every 37 seconds!
  • CVD costs Americans about $475 billion in direct and indirect health care costs. 
  • About 82% of people who die of coronary heart disease are under the age of 65. 
  • CVD claims more lives each year than the next five leading causes of death combined.   
Your heart and blood vessels do an incredible job of keeping you alive and well without your knowledge. Make sure to take care of your heart by exercising regularly and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low in saturated fats. Remember to see your doctor regularly to make sure your heart is functioning in tip-top condition and that you are doing everything you can to keep your hard-working heart healthy throughout your lifetime.  


Heart Disease Facts: Cost of Cardiovascular Disease. Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. 
facts.asp. 2014. 

 

Spotlight on Nutrition: 
Chocolate for Your Heart
Chocolate Heart
 
Can Chocolate Be Good For Me? 
Controversies abounddebating whether chocolate is good for you or not. I hope to present you with some simple facts to clear up the muddled waters. Just in case you were wondering, this article is pro-chocolate, well, cocoa to be exact.

 

Cocoa, the Heart-Healthy Factor in Chocolate
Getting right to the point, cocoa is the ingredient in chocolate that touts the health benefits we are looking for. Forget about the milk-chocolate sissy stuff, full of milk fat and sugar, if it’s not 60% cocoa or higher, don’t try to make a case for taking it as your daily dose of antioxidants.

 

Cacao is a natural plant product and is full of polyphenols, particularly flavanols, which are molecules that have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. The processing of commercially available chocolate that involves roasting and alkalinization can destroy large portions of these protective molecules, therefore choosing raw cocoa powder and dark chocolate that have not undergone “Dutch processing,” to remove bitterness, will offer the most positive health benefits. 

 

When cocoa is consumed, the concentration of flavanols and antioxidants in the blood plasma rise, reaching peak levels 2-3 hours following consumption. The method by which cocoa exerts positive effects is debated, but the following are few ways cocoa benefits the cardiovascular system. 

 

Cocoa’s Protective Effects on the Cardiovascular System
  • Endothelial Function and NO: The endothelium is the smooth inner surface of the body’s blood vessels that is highly selectively permeable (it only let’s very specific molecules into/out of the blood stream).  NO is nitroc oxide and acts as a vasodialator (it relaxes the smooth muscles of the blood vessels), and reduces the accumulation of  “debris” in the vessels. Endothelial dysfuntion is associated with cardiovascular disease and cocoa is shown to improve endothelial function, even in those who already have coronary artery disease and even in smokers. 
“Of interest, drinking a flavonoid-enriched cocoa beverage results in regional changes in cerebral blood flow and overall increased blood flow to gray matter for up to 3 hours as assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. In addition, in elderly humans, cerebral blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery increases…suggesting that cocoa flavanols may protect against dementia and stroke.” (Corti, Flammer, et. al.)
  • Antioxidant Properties: Flavanol-rich cocoa reduces lipid peroxidation in the body, reducing levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, and increasing overall antioxidant capacity. 
  • Platelet Funtion: Cocoa consumption has demonstrated decreased platelet aggregation effects and decreased platelet adhesion, similar to low-dose aspirin. Also, stearic acid, a saturated fat commonly found in chocolate, reduces platelet volume. Thus cocoa has the effect of helping to prevent clots of thrombi in vasculature. 
  • Antihypertensive Effects: Cocoa intake has been found to be inversely related to mean systolic blood pressure, when other factors are adjusted for. Even small intakes (6g) of dark cocolate in the evening showed reduced mean systolic blood pressure. Some studies even found reduction in mean diastolic blood pressure with cocoa intake. 
  • Other Protective Effects: Reduced insulin resistance and improvements in blood lipids (increased HDL cholesterol and decreased LDL cholesterol) have been seen in some studies. 
So What?
Some limitations exist as to the benefits of regularly consuming chocolate in the diet. Generally, commercially available chocolate is high in sugar and fat and has low cocoa content, leading to the opposite effects as seen above (causing weight gain, diabeties, dyslipidemia, hypertension, etc.) When looking to incorporate chocolate in the diet, look for high-levels of cocoa that have not been processed with alkali. Also, remember everything is better in moderation, so stick to a serving size of dark chocolate a day, no more than about 40g. Or even better, try recipes that use natural sweeteners and healthy fats with cocoa powder. (Like those in our Healthy Recipes section) Enjoy your chocolate the healthy way and treat your heart right!
 
DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to be educational and not prescriptive. Individual results and needs may vary. Consult a dietician or physician before making drastic changes to the diet.
 
Corti, Flammer, Hollenberg, Luscher. “Cocoa and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation. 2009; 119: 1433-1441. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.long
Heart Healthy Cocoa Recipes

Looking for a sweet treat to satisfy that chocolate craving? Look no further! These easy 3-ingredient recipes are not only delicious, they are also pretty darn good for you! So put down that Ben & Jerry’s and try something new.

Chocolate PuddingChocolate Pudding
 
INGREDIENTS
2 ripe avocados
1 ripe banana
3 T cocoa powder
 
Optional Ingredients: honey/agave syrup, vanilla extract, orange zest, walnuts, cocoa nibs
 
DIRECTIONS
1. Puree avocado, banana, and cocoa powder in a blender or food processer until smooth.
2. Add any optional ingredients to taste.  
3. Refrigerate until chilled.
4. Stir and serve.
 
Recipe Credit:
 
Cocoa Almond Bites
INGREDIENTSCocoa Almond Bites
1 c. almond meal (or pecan meal)
1/4 c. cocoa
1/4 c. agave syrup or honey
 
DIRECTIONS 
Mix all ingredients. More or less of any ingredient can be used to change flavor and/or consistency. Form into balls and refrigerate. (For some variety, add nuts, shredded coconut, cacao nibs, etc.) Coat with cocoa powder, shredded coconut as desired. 
Fitness Proaction Update
Skip-It

SKIP-IT Challenge
This month brings with it a new challenge to SKIP our way to better heart health. As many of you may know, we believe HIIT training is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and many of you participate in HIIT training using the spin bike or BOSU already. We challenge you, as health permits, to add skipping to your training, as we use a once popular toy to make exercising more fun. The person who skips the most minutes in February will win a prize for their hard work and dedication to protecting their heart from cardiovascular disease. 

One-For-One Referrals
Thank you to all those who have referred a friend to Fitness Proaction! We appreciate you! If you have not shared yourSelf Care Over Health Care experience with your friends, we encourage you to do so. You willl receive a free month of sessions equivalent to those purchased by your referral if they decide to join the Fitness Proaction family, even if only for a month. 
Show some love to your heart this month by getting moving and enjoying some heart-healthy cocoa, in moderation of course. Have a happy Valentine’s Day and we look forward to skipping our way to better health with you this month!
 
Sincerely,
 

Erin Garmon
Fitness Proaction LLC

 
Fitness Proaction News
February 2014

 
 


Sunday
Feb092014

How to Find True Love: Limited Edition Love Potion Gift Collection

How to Find True Love:

Limited Edition Love Potion Gift Collection

Our Limited-Edition Love Potion Gift Collection contains 100% natural decadence at its best to help you discover your own truest love this Valentine’s Day, while enjoying every step of the way. Inside you will find a luxurious trio of Tata Harper products that will delight each one of the senses, plus an exclusive raw chocolate treat for healthy indulgence. 

Love Potion (full size; 10 ml)

  • A 100% natural aromatic blend of ten of the world’s most potent aphrodisiac essential oils to stimulate the senses, heighten sensuality and immediately inspire an inner sense of beauty and confidence.

Be Adored (full size)

  • Our rosy-tinted antiaging lip treatment helps restore vitality to lackluster lips by fighting all signs of aging, while deeply conditioning dry, chapped lips.

Revitalizing Body Oil (15 ml)

  • A luxurious, fast-absorbing oil to provide comprehensive antiaging, hydrating and restorative benefits to the entire body. Revitalizes & invigorates skin with vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants. 

Gnosis Raw Chocolate: Passion

  • 100% organic and 70% raw chocolate, infused with raspberries, maca root, damiana, rose hips, horny goat weed, fo ti, passionflower and love – crafted to empower passion and awaken compassion.