Why wine, walking and dark chocolate help reduce stress

Wine?  Why yes please!  Walking?  Sure, let’s go.  Dark chocolate?  Duh!

I absolutely love these 3 and I can tell you they work when I’m feeling overly stressed.  Now, let me preface with saying that dark chocolate is AH-mazing but I’m not talking about the whole bar (even though I’ve done that more times than I can count!).

Okay, so let’s go back and start with the wine shall we?  I don’t know about you but after a long day I like to decompress, write to you and have a nice glass of red wine.  To me, that’s soothing, calming and relaxing and having that glass of wine is an enjoyable moment for me.  As I lift the glass to my lips I love feeling the ever so slight burn of a Cab to my tongue and I close my eyes savoring the moment.  Let’s go with it and believe it’s possible that all those antioxidants, such as flavonoids and Resveratrol have several heart-healthy benefits.

Some research shows that Resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. (Mayo Clinic)  Obviously I’m not saying we should all become lushes here, but what I am saying is a glass of vino to wind down for the night is quite therapeutic if you ask me.  Sip, taste and enjoy in moderation!

redwine

Onto the walking!  I love to walk and I wasn’t always a fan because to me, I thought walking was lame, boring and a low grade workout.  Now, I cannot get enough!  Walking has incredible benefits that many fail to see because I think at times fitness professionals are more concerned with sweating, breathing hard and working their tail off.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that by any means.  However, when it comes to stress and sleep (both of which have zero calories but wreak havoc on our hormones) walking is the go to hands down.  Research has proven that walking helps with stress relief, cortisol reduction, weight management, decreased anxiety, healthier body composition and a more positive outlook on life.

I for one, highly recommend a walk after a stressful day because walking isn’t stressful!  Think about it, do we really think it’s smart to put our bodies under more stress with an intense workout after a stressful day? Nope, because guess what happens, our cravings go out the roof, (think pizza, pasta, calzones, sugar) we want to eat A LOT and our stress hormones sky rocket.  All of this combined is a recipe for disaster!  Forget trying to lose weight, calm our nervous system and create a harmonious mood, we’re more likely to scream at someone and feel like our bellies are hanging over our pants.  It’s the stress so let’s do ourselves a favor and stop while we are ahead okay?

walking

And finally, let’s talk about the infamous chocolate that we all love, especially around that time of the month when we want to bite someone’s head off.  Here’s the thing, I’m not talking about the chocolate that we see at the check out line full of corn syrup and full blown sugar.  Those will just intensify our cravings and we will end up feeling like a bloated whale after polishing off 2 king size candy bars.  I’m talking about the dark chocolate, the above 70% cacao kind.

Research states that dark chocolate helps reduce blood pressure and aids in cognitive function.  The cool thing about dark chocolate is the chemical compound, phenylethylamine (PEA) which has proven to have positive effects on our moods.  PEA is the same chemical in our brain that creates the “falling in love” or “honeymoon phase” of dating.  It releases endorphins (like those that we get from exercise) and in turn make us feel happier!  So get some dark chocolate but know that only dark chocolate will offer these benefits, not milk chocolate which is typically found in M and M’s, Twix, and other candy bars.

The other benefit I like about dark chocolate is all of the minerals and antioxidants it has to offer!  DC is high in magnesium, copper, iron and potassium.  Remember to set your portions ahead of time, otherwise it’s way to easy to consume the entire bar!

Dark chocolate

Here’s to wine, walking and chocolate for helping us to achieve a less stressed life!  For more information on food, fitness, fun and mindset make sure to subscribe to my email list!  www.kimschaper.com :)

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