woman zone

Chocolate can help protect against heart disease - Yipeeee!

Chocolate can . . . .

Lowers blood pressure as effectively as standard drug treatments. Chocolate has in the past been linked to many possible health benefits , such as protecting the brain against the effects of stroke. 

Other studies have found that eating chocolate can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, and now a study has for the first time shown how this might be possible.

Study leader Ingrid Persson explained that the reason for investigating  chocolate was linked to the presence of certain key ingredients: "We have previously shown that green tea inhibits the enzyme ACE, which is involved in the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. Now we wanted to study the effect of cocoa, since the active substances catechins and procyanidines are related."

. . . . help protect against . . . .

About the study

The researchers, from Linköping University in Sweden, put a small group of volunteers on a strictly controlled diet for two weeks. After this they were given 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. Blood samples were taken in advance and then a half hour, one hour, and three hours after eating the chocolate.

In the sample taken three hours afterwards, there was a significant inhibition of ACE activity. The average was 18 percent lower activity than before the dose of cocoa, fully comparable to the effect of drugs that inhibit ACE and are used as a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure.

. . . . heart disease

As the ACE activity reduces, the blood pressure will also go down. However this particular effect was not directly observed in the volunteers as it would only happen over a longer period of time. But the study does show how chocolate consumption could lead to a blood pressure reduction - a key factor in heart disease risk.

Commenting on the results, Dr Persson said: "Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases."

The study is published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.

However, we would say the study is about chocolate in moderate quantities - and not all the fillings!

5 things that men notice first about women

How to make a great first impression

First impressions matter. Love at first sight may be a myth, but those first few moments are vital when you're out to impress. People can't help but form an immediate opinion of you based on your appearance, your body language and the way you're dressed, and this opinion helps to determine whether they hang around long enough to get to know you better.

Some first impressions matter more than others, particularly when you're meeting men. One recent survey for a women's magazine found that three-quarters of men notice a woman's hair first, wheras only a handful of men mentioned clothes. That's something to bear in mind next time you're wondering whether to spend 50 quid on a haircut or a dress.

1. Your hair takes the top spot for a number of reasons. First, it's easy to spot. You may have a bottom to make Pippa Middleton weep with envy, but it's unlikely to be the thing men notice first about you unless you're holding a wedding dress train outside Westminster Abbey.

Men don't just glance at a swooshy, shiny mane of hair and then move onto your other assets. They glance at it, and then keep on glancing. Long hair in good condition is extremely sexy, as is short hair with a sleek or fashionable cut. It's a potent symbol of femininity that screams out to be touched. It also shows that you look after yourself and take pride in your appearance - qualities that many men rate very highly indeed. That said, you don't want to look high-maintenance, so don't overdo the products or extreme styling. Just keep your hair clean and conditioned, and invest in a good cut that suits your hair and your features.

Don't feel pressured to cut your hair just because you're getting older, or because Emma Watson cut hers. Only an exceptionally elfin face can carry off a drastic buzz cut. Most of us benefit from a glossy frame of hair, and the right haircut can work magic on balancing your facial features.

2. Your eyes. If your hair is your face's frame, your eyes are its windows. Grown men can be hypnotised by a swoosh of beautiful hair followed by knockout eye contact. Eyes are so powerful because they are about direct communication, and eye contact enables you to make an instant connection with a stranger.

Psychologist Arthur Arun tested the power of eye contact by dividing pairs of strangers into two groups. One group of pairs engaged in intense conversation, while the other pairs stared silently into each other's eyes for four minutes. Each time he did this test, the eye-contact couples reported feeling much more connected than the intimate-chat couple. One eye-contact couple even got married. So much for the power of conversation!

Make the most of your eyes by getting used to making and maintaining eye contact. It can be difficult if you're the shy type, but its results can be extremely powerful. Also learn a few tricks of the make-up trade. Good make-up and well-shaped brows can make your eyes extraordinary, but too much can have the opposite effect. 

3. Your shoes. Hair, eyes… shouldn't smile come next? Not according to the men we spoke to. When asked what they noticed first, men were surprisingly keen to mention the importance of stylish shoes. Particularly, and predictably, high heels.

High heels will catch a man's eye because they give you a sexy edge and improve your posture and the shape of your legs, but only if you can walk in them properly. Uncomfortable heels, like too much eye make-up, do more harm than good. There's some reassurance for those of us who can't or won't wear heels: cool pumps, boots and on-trend trainers also go down well with men. Falling-apart old trainers or mis-shapen ugg boots, not so much. The key here is to wear stylish, quality shoes that co-ordinate with your outfit, and which you can walk in without wincing or lurching.

4. Your Smile. Smile at him, and that's when he really sees your face. He won't notice the slight crookedness of your teeth, or the chapped bit on your lip, or the spot that appeared this morning, or even if you've got a bit of food stuck in between your incisors - he'll notice the sincerity and friendliness of your smile.

Meet his eye when you do it and he'll find it impossible not to smile back - and that's about the best first impression you can make.

5. Your body. Men notice a woman's body. They can't help it. That’s not to say that men judge you on your body shape as soon as you walk into the room, just that they can't help but look at it. And chances are they'll notice within seconds whether you’re comfortable with your body, so be sure to dress in a way that shows off your best assets, but leaves a little something to the imagination. 

If you worry about the size of your tummy, thighs, arms and so on, don’t despair. Every woman has something about themselves that they’d like to change, but the good news is that most men won’t notice the bits that you do – they’re just happy at the prospect of seeing you naked. Embrace your femininity and go out with confidence, safe in the knowledge that your body will do at least some of the talking for you.

Great Careers to Pursue in a Recession

To recession-proof your career, the key is to focus on products and services that are always needed.

Health Care:

People will always get sick — sometimes even more so when they don't have the insurance or money to take preventative measures or eat healthy food.


Although consumers are likely to cut back, they're not going to stop using energy. In fact, this industry may grow, as companies look for more efficient ways to deliver using less energy.


No matter how dire the economy is, there are always jobs for teachers. Kids will still go to school, and many out-of-work adults may decide to continue their education.


Just like the energy sector, it's safe to assume that people are not going to stop lighting their homes. So utility administration, maintenance and other related jobs should remain intact.


Death and taxes are a sure thing. In a recession, people and companies are likely to get desperate for more deductions and a hard look at their books.


As long as doctors prescribe them, people are still going to take drugs. So whether you're behind the pharmacy counter or in the lab, you can rest easy.


As a general rule, anyone who is a source of income for a company will be safe, so salespeople — especially in recession-proof industries (see herein) — have little to worry about. Beware 'though sales need to be regular and of good quality. No business can afford people who only perform from time to time or who put through iffy deals! Also note that not everyone is suited to a job which can at times be stressful.


The military is always hiring, especially during wartime. Also, consider that most of your living expenses are covered, so cost-of-living expenses are not really a concern.

Skilled Services:

Hair will always grow, and drains will always clog, so you can expect steady work in skilled services like plumbing and hairstyling.

Debt Management / Advice:

Recessions mean crunch time for debtors, and they're sure to need some guidance. This can be a really worthwhile career so long as it is a bona fide company. Be selective.

Beauty and Health Services:

Regardless of a recession, people who enjoy being pampered will seldom give up the simple pleasures in life. But be careful if you're thinking of starting up on your own, we're not sure if there's room for yet another hairdresser or nails shop on our local high streets!


There are always places for people who really can cook or prepare something tasty or different  and who learn quickly. If you think there is a job somewhere, prepare something fab and give it to the chef or the proprietor at the interview and make him / her try it - if it's good it will sell you for the job! Stand out from the crowd.

Debt Collection:

As budgets get squeezed, people will fall behind on payments, and companies will look to debt collectors to recoup their costs. If you opt for this route, remember there are two kinds of firms -those that help debtors and those that threaten. Choose thoughtfully!


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