Tag Archives: dark chocolate

Nutrition and chocolate – Tufts

I am a big chocolate lover, both mildly dark and milk chocolate. As I eat some every day, the following from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter interested me greatly.

chocolate with milted chocolate on white ceramic plate

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Q. You have suggested people eat chocolate to get the antioxidants and other “good stuff” that it contains. Do we get the same benefits if we eat chocolate in another form, such as chocolate milk, cake, or pudding?

A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist at Tufts’ Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Cocoa contains phytochemicals called flavanols that may have health benefits, but just because a little might be good, that does not mean a lot is better! Flavanols are part of the reason cocoa is so bitter. To make chocolate candy, many of the flavanols are stripped away, and the cocoa is mixed with sugar. Turning that chocolate into brownies or pudding or other chocolate products further dilutes out the flavanols. Hence, there is unlikely to be much actual cocoa or cocoa flavanols in a serving of these foods. In a recently reported large study, chocolate-candy intake was associated with greater likelihood of weight gain in postmenopausal women. Whether the weight gain was directly due to the chocolate cannot be determined at this time.”

“If you enjoy chocolate, identify the type you enjoy the most and don’t overdo it. If it’s healthful flavanols you’re after, there’s no need to eat chocolate or cocoa at all. They are also found in tea, wine, and fruits like apples, grapes, and pears. And remember, an ounce of dark chocolate a day (or a dose of any other purported ‘superfood’) cannot take the place of a balanced, healthful dietary pattern.”

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10 Top brain power foods

I don’t know if these really will increase your brain power, but I don’t see any harm in letting you know about them.

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Please let me know if you have any experience with these.To my knowledge they are all excellent foods nutritionally.

Tony

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Filed under brain, brain function, brain health, Healthy brain

Why you should add raw cacao to your diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.

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Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

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Filed under chocolate, dark chocolate, raw organic cacao

Why Should I Eat More Dark Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought it worth revisiting this post I did on eating more dark chocolate.

Enjoy!

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Before starting, let me clarify that the word ‘more’ in the header assumes you are eating little or no dark chocolate at present because here in the U.S. we primarily eat milk chocolate. How much? Good question. Some 71 percent of the chocolate we eat is milk chocolate. And, how much total?

chocrose.11130246_std

The World Atlas of Chocolate puts the U.S. in 11th place worldwide in per capita chocolate consumption with a paltry 11.5 pounds per year. Switzerland is in first place with more than double that total.

As far as a definition of dark chocolate goes, the U.S. has no fixed percentage of cocoa content to define dark chocolate. In practice, however, it seems that 70 percent cocoa solids qualifies as dark chocolate.

But why eat more dark chocolate? Experience L!fe says, “Sure, chocolate’s exquisitely decadent. But its primary ingredient, cocoa, has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce…

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The Best Foods For A Long Life

Some very good examples here. We need to eat right as well as exercise often to keep the reaper at bay.

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I have also posted on:

Green tea for St. Patrick’s Day – and every day

Dark chocolate’s beneficial deeds

Chia seeds vs. flax seeds – Which is better?

Besides the extra-virgin olive oil, I recommend:

Why you should include coconut oil in our diet

Tony

Our Better Health

What you eat can affect your health and your longevity.
Here, the best foods for a long life — and which ones to avoid.

Longevity isn’t just about delaying death — it’s about enjoying more years of health and vitality. In her book, The Longevity Diet, dietician Leslie Beck outlines the ways food choices affect the aging process and help to delay the onset of age-related chronic illnesses.

First, certain foods can cause or prevent inflammation in the body. We’re not just talking arthritis; chronic inflammation also contributes to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack and type 2 diabetes. Foods that are high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals promote the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. In contrast, foods which are high in fat, refined sugars and refined starches can promote inflammation. (See Can food fight inflammation? for more details.)

Second, foods containing high levels of antioxidants combat…

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Dark chocolate’s beneficial deeds

This looks like pleasant news for chocolate-loving endurance jocks.

I have previously written about raw cacao powder which seems a similarly good addition to the diet. I include it in my morning smoothie.

What are the benefits of raw cacao – Infographic

How and why you should add raw cacao to your diet

Also, Why should I eat more dark chocolate?

Tony

 

Focus on food safety

Only dark chocolate is beneficial to health (Photo: André Karwath) There are several different varieties of chocolate (Photo: André Karwath)

Having dealt with hazards in food during a lifetime, it is always nice to be able to look at the benefit side. We all need good news stories. However, even good news stories can be deceptive. There is much fuss made over what is called superfoods, while the overall diet is more important. And scientists test individual food components in isolation reporting highly beneficial effects in unrealistic animal experiments that have no relevance to real life. Resveratrol that can be found in red wine is supposed to be heart protective, but will require daily consumption of many bottles of wine to reach an effective dose.

But dark chocolate seems to be the real thing with normal consumption amounts sufficient to be beneficial to health.

Not all chocolates are the same

Chocolate is made from cocoa solids (cacao), mixed with fat (cocoa butter) and finely powdered sugar to produce…

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Why (and How) You Should Add Raw Cacao to Your Diet

I must confess I am late to the party in terms of raw cacao. That is strange as I love chocolate and don’t need much of an excuse to eat some. But, I actually came across raw cacao in one of the recent infographics on super foods that I ran right here on the blog. Turns out raw cacao is one of them. I bought mine from Terrasoul Superfoods on Amazon.


Secrets of Longevity
says, “It turns out that all the bad things commonly attributed to non-raw chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and others fillers added to the dark chocolate. Health benefits of chocolate when it is in the form of raw cacao beans, butter, nibs and/or the powder include; weight loss (because of its high chromium and coumarin content), prevention of cavities (theobromine actually kills streptococci mutans one of the strains of bacteria that cause tooth decay) and regulation of blood sugar which is beneficial for diabetes (chromium can naturally regulate blood sugar). Also raw cacao benefits the heart and the entire cardiovascular system as a whole.

“Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves peristalsis in the bowels and relaxes the heart and cardiovascular system. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to literally dissolve plaque built up in the arteries which helps in reversing heart disease and causes naturally lower blood pressure. Also, various other vitamins and minerals in raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular system.”

7a

Now that you appetite has been whetted, how do you get this bitter, if wonderful, substance into your system? Here is a brief list: Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under chocolate, raw organic cacao

The Best Foods for Body and Brain – Infographic

The principles of what to eat for better brain function are relevant to all of us. In the real world, we have pop quizzes every day of our life. They just don’t affect our grade point average any more.

brain-healthy-foods-2

To read further on sleep check out:

Making Sleep Count
How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?
16 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleep – Infographic
Defeat Insomnia and Sleep Easy with These Top Foods
How About 30 Insane Facts About Sleep? – Infographic

Stress is another subject I have written posts on:
Stress Will Kill You
9 Ways To Avoid Killer Stress
It’s Not Stress That Kills You: It’s How You Handle It
Stress: It Should Never be Ignored!
Super Tools for Handling Stress
Tony

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5 Healthy Eating Habits to Adopt This Year

If taking them all on at once seems overwhelming, try a “step-ladder” approach—focus on one change until it feels like a normal part of your daily routine, then add another, and another. Sometimes taking it slow ups the chances that behaviors will stick, so come December 2015, you’ll be celebrating a year of accomplishments.

Our Better Health

January 1, 2015    By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

Nutrition is a hot topic these days, yet many of my clients still struggle with consistently following through with “the basics,” and the stats show that missing the mark on many healthy habits is the norm. For example, the median daily intake of produce for U.S. adults is 1.1 servings of fruit and 1.6 servings of veggies, far below the minimum recommended five daily servings.

If you’re going to set just one goal for 2015, I think eating more produce should be it, but I’ve also listed four others below. I know you’ve heard them before, but they are without a doubt the most tried-and-true, impactful eating habits you can foster—both for your waistline and your health. And despite knowing them, you may not be achieving them, so they’re worth considering as you choose your resolutions.

If taking them all on…

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Top 10 Foods That Burn Belly Fat – Infographic

On the premise that one picture is worth a thousand words, herewith a killer graphic on burning off your belly fat.

top_10_foods_that_burn_belly_fat

Belly fat is no laughing matter at least to the possessor. To read further, check out:
What About Belly Fat – Central Obesity?
How Dangerous is a Big Belly?
What are the best and worst foods for belly fat?
How Bad is Extra Belly Fat?

Tony

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Filed under belly fat, obesity

Why Should I Eat More Dark Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day a week away, it seemed timely to talk about chocolate. Dark chocolate.

Before starting, let me clarify that the word ‘more’ in the header assumes you are eating little or no dark chocolate at present because here in the U.S. we primarily eat milk chocolate. How much? Good question. Some 71 percent of the chocolate we eat is milk chocolate. And, how much total?

chocrose.11130246_std

The World Atlas of Chocolate puts the U.S. in 11th place worldwide in per capita chocolate consumption with a paltry 11.5 pounds per year. Switzerland is in first place with more than double that total.

As far as a definition of dark chocolate goes, the U.S. has no fixed percentage of cocoa content to define dark chocolate. In practice, however, it seems that 70 percent cocoa solids qualifies as dark chocolate.

But why eat more dark chocolate? Experience L!fe says, “Sure, chocolate’s exquisitely decadent. But its primary ingredient, cocoa, has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity.”

They quote Alice Medrich on it. “Alice Medrich, who is credited with bringing the chocolate truffle to the United States in the 1970s, says that when you taste chocolate without all the sugar, you become aware of its deep, earthy, nutty, and fruity flavors. She compares chocolate to wine and says that, like grapes, chocolate has a terroir that reflects the taste of the soil and climate where it’s grown.

“’Sometimes you’ll get some tropical fruit flavors or citrus flavors or cherry or even little hints of orange or coconut,’ says Medrich, author of the cookbook Seriously Bitter Sweet. ‘There are hundreds of flavor components in chocolate, and they can go to the sweet or the savory really easily.'”

FITDAY offers several benefits of dark chocolate, including:
Good for your heart. “Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis.

Good for your brain. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A standard 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.

Helps control blood sugar. “The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate contains theobromine which helps to harden tooth enamel, so unlike most sweets it lowers your risk of cavities. Theobromine also can help to suppress coughing.

The final positive from FITDAY is dark chocolate’s vitamin and mineral content. “The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

Authority Nutrition
offers the following: “If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100 gram (about 4 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
• 11 grams of fiber.
• 67% of the RDA for Iron.
• 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
• 89% of the RDA for Copper.
• 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
• It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Aren’t we all ready for some good news on cholesterol? Well, Authority Nutrition says, “Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.”

In case you don’t remember, HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad. You want higher HDL numbers and lower LDL ones.

Lastly, Authority Nutrition says that “Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.”

I must confess that I had never heard dark chocolate could protect your skin from the sun, but as a skin cancer victim, I am very happy to learn it.

While I would like you to include dark chocolate in your diet, I hope that you know we are talking about reasonable amounts here. You don’t need to eat more than a couple of ounces a day to get the benefits mentioned above.

Tony

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Filed under antioxidants, blood pressure, chocolate, cholesterol, dark chocolate, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Trick or Treat – How Much Chocolate Do We Eat?

Since this is the biggest day for chocolate consumption in the year, I thought it would be worthwhile to check into it.

Do you know how much chocolate the average American eats in a year? One pound? Ten pounds?

As a matter of fact we eat an average of a pound of chocolate a month, so 12 pounds in a year.

chocolate

According to WebMD’s chocolate quiz “We each eat close to a dozen pounds of chocolate per year. And most of that is milk chocolate. More than 90% of Americans say they prefer milk chocolate over dark or white.

“It takes a long time to work off all that chocolate. It would take a 130-pound woman about four days and nights (95 hours) of brisk walking to burn off those calories!”

And I know you have heard that chocolate has caffeine in it, but how much? WebMD says,

“You’d need to eat 14 regular-sized (1.5 oz) bars of  milk chocolate to get the same caffeine as you’d find in a 8-ounce cup of coffee! That would have about  3,000 calories and more than 300 grams of sugar — compared to only about two calories in black coffee.

“Dark chocolate does have more caffeine than milk chocolate. Even then, it would take four bars to give you the same buzz as one cup of regular Joe.”

So, enjoy the evening, but if you are going out with your little trick or treater, keep in mind how much walking is required to burn off those calories.

Tony

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Filed under caffeine, calories, chocolate, dark chocolate, Halloween, health, healthy eating, healthy living, snack foods, Snacking, trick or treat, walking, Weight