Body

Why chocolate is good for you

The health benefits of eating chocolate are usually put down to the antioxidants from cocoa beans, but now researchers suggest the copper in the sweet treat may also help.

By Morgan Johnston

A healthy reason to eat chocolate The health benefits of eating chocolate are usually put down to the antioxidants from cocoa beans, but now researchers suggest the copper in the sweet treat may also help.

Copper deficiency can lead to high levels of cholesterol and uric acid, and raised blood pressure, all of which can damage health. A new study has shown that more than half of all diets are low in the mineral.

“The Western diet often is low in copper,” researchers say. “Approximately one-third of the diets analysed provided less than 1mg a day.”

The good news is 100g of dark chocolate a day provides between 1 and 1.8mg of copper, which is what the body needs.

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Poetry can have a profound effect on mood and could even be used to treat people with depression.
Dr Robin Philipp, a consultant in occupational and public health at Bristol Royal Infirmary, found 75% of a group of 196 people with emotional problems gained “release” from writing or reading poems.

Two-thirds of the people said they felt more relaxed and calmer after a poetry session and seven percent claimed they weaned themselves off antidepressants or tranquillisers by using poetry, in conjunction with the help of their doctor. ”A lot of people write a list to help them deal with stress,” Dr Philipp says. “You feel better about things because they are more ordered and poetry is an extrapolation of that.”

Vitamin maths

The foods that add up to your recommended daily allowance
The antioxidant vitamin E helps to protect the body from free radicals — the naturally forming substances that can harm cells and organs, and lead to diseases such as cancer.

You also need vitamin E to keep the immune system strong against viruses and to form red blood cells. Good food sources are:
● 15 blackberries (2.4mg)
● 120g can sardines in tomato sauce (3.6mg)
● Large avocado (6.2 mg)
Other good sources are almonds, sweet potatoes

TINY TWEAKS
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Try it:* Using a home blood pressure monitor Research from the US found one in four adults over the age of 65 may have unknowingly suffered a silent mini stroke, which tests show will lead to memory loss. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure (120/80) can reduce the risk.

Ditch it: Ice on sore muscles It might not help heal them and could even make them work less effectively in the short term, say researchers from the University of Ulster, since the cold will slow down communication between the nerve and muscle cells.

Switch it: Rather than telling your teenager not to answer back, encourage it A study of 157 youngsters found those who backed down easily in rows with their mother were more likely to succumb to peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol because they’re less skilled at asserting their views.

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