1. Chocolate has gotten a bad name mainly because the fat in it, cocoa butter, is 59% saturated fat, mainly stearic acid. However, unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not increase LDLs or reduce HDLs. It also makes blood platelets keep from clumping together into a blood clot. Chocolate has heart-healthy phytosterols that soak up cholesterol in our stomach before it reaches the bloodstream. It also contains a cocoa compound called epicatechin that helps the blood vessels relax which is good for lowering blood pressure. Finally, chocolate contains a cocktail of mood-elevating chemicals ranging from caffeine to anandamide which stimulates the same parts of the brain as marijuana. Because of all of these qualities, chocolate actually qualifies as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
2. Coffee has attracted nothing but bad news for many years but almost all of the negative press has been proven to be inaccurate and the worst that can be attributed to is is the ability to cause stomach upsets and an inability to sleep. In actual fact, coffee increases our ability to concentrate, improves athletic performance, can help cure headaches by calming swollen blood vessels in the head and also has analgesic qualities.
3. White tea comes from the same plant as black and green tea, camellia sinensis, but skips the first step that those teas undergo during manufacture-fermentation. This gives white tea special qualities because it retains about three times the amount of plant catechin content as green or black tea and catechins are good for our bodies, retarding the ability of cells to mutate and slows down cell changes which lead to cancers.
4. Whole grains when consumed daily can have a dramatically positive effect on our heart health regardless of how much we weigh or whether we smoke, drink alcohol or have high blood pressure and cholesterol. The exact reasons for this is not yet know fully but we do know that whole grains contain dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and many phytochemicals that lower blood pressure and cholesterol while helping the body to process carbohydrates more efficiently. Studies show that the more whole grain cereal or bread we eat the better but at least one serving a day is good.
5. Nuts are a high-fat food in the technical sense but studies have shown that moderate amounts of nuts like almonds may cut total cholesterol by a significant 12%. This is because the fats in nuts are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated cholesterol busters. Nuts also have nutrients such as arginine, folate vitamin E and dietary fiber, all of which are heart-healthy.