The next time you reach for a piece of Swiss chocolate, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Instead, you should be proud of your sweet tooth, because chocolate is actually good for you. That’s right, despite the belief that eating chocolate could lead to weight gain, you shouldn’t feel bad about indulging once in awhile, as experts have found that chocolate comes with a number of health benefits as well.
Below, we highlight some of the key benefits you can enjoy when you eat chocolate:
Enhanced Heart Health
Chocolate contains flavanols as the main flavonoids and according to research, flavonoids have positive effects that enhance heart health. They help to lower blood pressure and boost blood flow through the heart and brain. Taking swiss chocolate could also contribute to making blood platelets less sticky, which is good as it reduces chances of getting stroke and blood clots.
A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology tested the effects of consuming dark chocolate, and it was revealed that eating flavonoid-rich chocolate improved one’s blood circulation and heart health significantly. Numerous studies have confirmed these same findings, that eating chocolate will contribute to your well-being.
Improved Cognitive Function
Swiss chocolate is among 15 brain foods that help to boost memory and focus. A lot of research has shown acute chronic consumption of flavanol-rich chocolate leads to increased blood flow to the brain, and this has been shown to come with beneficial results that include improvements in cognitive function. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2009, dark chocolate comes with the ability to boost cognitive function. It concluded that taking foods that are rich in flavonoids, including chocolate, could help to improve the performance of one’s cognitive abilities.
Better Athletic Performance
More research studies have also investigated the effects of taking chocolate to the athletic performance of an individual and it was revealed that due to the fact that chocolate enhances oxygen availability, people could experience an improvement in athletic performance during workout sessions or even sporting activities. It is good for the heart and it is known that one of the things you need to have perfect performance is good heart health. Chocolate will enhance the flow of blood and this means you will be getting enough oxygen supplied to needed areas for metabolic activities and other functions that work to boost your performance.
A Reduction In Stress
Are you stressed out? Turns out that eating Swiss chocolate can bring down your stress levels. Studies have found that eating dark chocolate discourages the production of the stress hormone, and this can significantly help to reduce stress when you consistently consume chocolate over a period of time. A few pieces each day for one to two weeks can help you overcome anxiety and stress and give you the comfort you need to pursue important tasks.
As you can see, chocolate offers you many benefits that you should be taking advantage of: improving heart health, boosting cognitive functions, improving your athletic performance, or managing stress. So what are you waiting for, grab a piece of chocolate, and enjoy the fact that you’re doing it for your health!
Chick-fil-A Is America’s Favorite Fast-Food Restaurant For The Third Year In A Row
When it comes to fast-food restaurants, Chick-Fil-A reigns supreme for the third year in a row, that according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual study, which surveys 22,500 Americans on their experiences at chain restaurants.
Yes, Chick-Fil-A has had their fair share of controversy over the years, but that clearly hasn’t affected consumers’ love of their delicious chicken sandwiches. The ACSI study polled 22,500 Americans on their experiences at chain restaurants, rating them from 0 to 100 in categories such as food quality, restaurant cleanliness and layout, and waitstaff behavior. Those scores are averaged out to come up with an overall score.
With a score of 87, Chick-Fil-A was the winner, beating runner-up Panera Bread by six points. As for the other giant chicken purveyor KFC, they slipped 1 point down to 77. Time to step up your game, Colonel Sanders..
Just imagine how high Chick-Fil-A would rank if they were open on Sundays. 🙂
Domino’s Celebrates Summer With 50% Off All Pizzas Through July 15
Spent all your money on fireworks for Fourth of July? Not to worry, because Domino’s Pizza is giving you 50% off all menu-priced pizza ordered online today through July 15th.
Now don’t call your local Domino’s store for this deal, because it is only available for online orders, which includes Domino’s website and their various mobile apps. Heck, you can even text or tweet your order to them, it’s crazy how many ways you can order a pizza from them!
Not at home? Not a problem! Customers who are ordering delivery to a Domino’s Hotspot may also take advantage of the 50% off menu-priced pizza deal.
Sadly, this deal doesn’t include any of their non-pizza items (wings, pasta, etc), which are all pretty awesome in their own right. But for me, it’s all about their pan pizza, which is freaking amazing. Never had it before? What are you waiting for, order one (or two) for dinner tonight and prepare to have your taste buds blown away!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go place an order for a pizza. 🙂
Photo credit: Domino’s Pizza
Eating Our Way Through Lockhart, The Barbecue Capital of Texas
If there’s one thing I love, it’s BBQ. But here in the Northeast, finding a good barbecue joint is pretty much impossible. But down in Texas, there is amazing ‘cue everywhere you turn. Heck, there’s even a Salt Lick BBQ in the Austin and Dallas airports, so you can get your BBQ fix the moment you touch down in Texas!
So when our friends at Chevrolet invited me down to Houston to join them for a BBQ road trip to Lockhart, Texas (the Barbecue Capital of Texas), behind the wheel of some rugged Chevy Silverado and Colorado trucks, it took me exactly 0.0005 seconds to say YES.
Our adventure started in Houston, at the world-famous Gator Pit of Texas, which was featured on Discovery’s King of the Grill. This small metal fabrication shop makes custom-made, hand-fabricated BBQ pits that are second to none, and award-winning pit master Ritch Robin was kind enough to take time out of his day to give us a tour of their operation.
When it comes to Texas BBQ, it’s all about the offset smoker, and cooking that meat (brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, etc) low and slow. Ritch gave us a behind-the-scenes look into how BBQ pits are built, what makes his pits so desirable, and how customers can customize their pits to the smallest detail.. Like adding a Texas shaped brake light, because why not?
You don’t see workmanship like this very often (everything is made by hand, with one person working on your pit from start to finish), and it’s clear to see why there’s a 1+ year waiting list to get one. Needless to say, if you’re serious about barbecuing, you should definitely consider having them build you a custom pit of your own. Pricing starts at $1,200 for an entry-level pit and goes up from there depending on your needs.
After our crash course in barbecue pits, we hopped into our trucks (thank god for A/C, because Houston was HOT!) and set a course for Kyle, Texas, where we would be spending the night. Along the way, I made the obligatory stop at Buc-ee’s, a Texas rest-stop that has become a rite of passage for anyone traveling between Houston and Austin. Trust me, it’s a Texas institution that everyone should experience at least once in their life.
For this first leg, I was driving a ruby-red Chevy Colorado Duramax. Had I been towing one of the Gator Pits, I would have had no problem, as the Turbo-Diesel engine offers best-in-class towing, with 369 lb-ft of torque and a 7,700 pound towing capacity. This was actually my first time driving a Colorado, and I quite liked the mid-sized pickup. Not everyone needs a full-size pickup, and I could totally see myself driving a Colorado (but make mine a ZR2).
Roughly 2.5 hours later, I finally arrived at the Twin Cabins Hotel, our home for the night. As you can see, this was a rather unique spot for us to spend the night, a Victorian-style country cabin that is off the beaten path, with cows, bulls, and even some mini horses roaming around out back. It’s hard to believe that this place is just 20-30 minutes from Austin.
Once everyone arrived, we embarked on a BBQ cooking class, courtesy of the folks at BrisketU, where we learned from accomplished pitmasters the art of smoking brisket (the toughest piece of beef to master) from start to finish. They showed us how to pick the right brisket, trimming techniques, rubs and prep, wood selection and smoke profiles, starting/managing a firebox, timing the cook, and slicing the end product.
Afterwards, we got to eat all of this amazing food they made for us (brisket, ribs, chicken, and more), and everything was delicious. And I’ve gotta say, after seeing how much time and effort went into preparing this meal, I had a newfound respect for the pitmasters out there. My belly nice and full, I decided to get some sleep so I’d be nice and refreshed for tomorrow’s activities.
The next morning, I had a light breakfast (no reason to fill up when there’s a ton of BBQ ahead of us) before heading to Lockhart. My buddy James wanted to drive the Colorado, so we traded and I took the keys to his Silverado. The ventilated seats were a welcomed addition, as it was still crazy hot, even at 9:30 in the morning.
Then came the tough part, deciding which BBQ joint to hit up first. After consulting with the experts at Google, we decided to start off at Black’s BBQ, which has been in operation since 1932, and is thought to be the oldest barbecue restaurant run by one family in Texas. They’re known for their Brontosaurus-sized “Giant Beef Rib”, so naturally we had to try that, along with the brisket, which is smoked in a most unique way.
OH. MY. GOD. I thought I had experienced great Texas BBQ before, but Black’s just blew my mind. The beef rib (which is insanely huge) is so tender, moist, and delicious. My stomach is growling just thinking about it. And the brisket was perfection, so full of flavor that you don’t even need any BBQ sauce to go with it. My suggestion? Bring some friends, order everything on the menu, and eat it family style.
Next up was Kreuz Market (pronounced “Krites” by the locals), another Texas institution that opened back in 1900 (though it’s only been in this location since 1999). Since Lockhart is all about brisket, I decided to see how theirs stacked up to Black’s. I really enjoyed the black crust of the brisket, which was loaded with flavor, but I thought the meat itself was a little on the dry side. Next time, I’ll have to try their smoked ham, as I hear it’s really good.
As you can imagine, I was in a bit of a food coma by now (and it was only 12:15pm), so I hung out here for a bit while I got my second wind. Then I hopped back in the truck and drove over to Chisholm Trail BBQ, which is “where the locals go”. Sadly, my digestive system was crying Uncle by this point, so I just took a quick peek inside before driving off. Amazingly, they even have a drive-thru for those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their A/C.
Overall, Lockhart really lived up to the hype, and it’s no wonder that they hold the official title as the Barbecue Capital of Texas. I wish I could have stayed longer so I could have sampled some more delicious BBQ, but I had a flight back to Philly that I had to catch.
As you can see, if you’re a barbecue enthusiast, you absolutely must come check out the BBQ scene in Lockhart, TX. Come hungry, and bring lots of napkins. 🙂