Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate. Show all posts

Feb 19, 2016

Seven Super Brain Foods

Whether it is a new dance or a foreign language, the older you get the harder it is to learn new things. Some foods have been found to be beneficial to keeping the brain sharp. Alzheimer's researchers like to say what is good for your heart is good for your brain.

Blackberries can get the conversation flowing again. They provide potent antioxidants known as polyphenols that zap inflammation and encourage communication between neurons, improving our ability to soak up new information according to a Tufts University study.

A recent Finnish study of 1,400 longtime coffee drinkers reveals that people who sipped between three to five cups of coffee a day in their 40s and 50s reduced their odds of developing Alzheimer's disease by 65 percent compared with those who downed fewer than two cups a day. Researchers believe that coffee's caffeine and antioxidants are the keys to its protective affects.

Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells. According to researchers at Cornell University, quercetin defends your brain cells from free radical attacks which can damage the outer lining of delicate neurons and eventually lead to cognitive decline. To get the most quercetin bang for your buck, eat apples with the skins on.

Chocolate can lower blood pressure and it can also keep your mind sharp. A Journal of Nutrition study found that eating as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate a day (the size of about two Hersey's kisses) helps protect against age-related memory loss. They credit polyphenols in cocoa with increasing blood flow to the brain.

Cinnamon research from the University of California at Santa Barbara reveals that two compounds in cinnamon, proanthocyanidins and cinnamaldehyde may inactivate tau proteins that can cause brain cells to die.

Spinach is packed with nutrients that prevent dementia, such as folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Just one-half cup of cooked spinach packs a third of the folate and five times the amount of vitamin K you need in a day. A 2006 Neurology study revealed that eating three servings of leafy green, yellow, and cruciferous vegetables a day can delay cognitive decline by 40 percent. Of these three, leafy greens were found to be the most protective. Try spinach drizzled with a little olive oil. Its healthy fats boost absorption of fat-soluble vitamins E and K.

Scientists found the heart-healthy polyphenols in red wine and Concord grape juice can also give your brain a boost. When researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine gave twelve older adults with declining memory a daily drink of Concord grape juice or a placebo drink for three months, they found that the volunteers who drank the grape juice significantly improved their spatial memory and verbal learning skills. Researchers believe that, just like blackberries, grape juice polyphenols improve communication between brain cells.

Oct 16, 2015

Wine is Better than Exercise

A recent study found that a glass of red wine is the equivalent to an hour at the gym. Also, drinking red wine could help burn fat, says another study.

The health benefits of red wine have been well documented. Studies have revealed that those who drink a glass of red wine a day are less likely to develop dementia or cancer, that it is good for your heart, it is anti-aging and can regulate blood sugar.

Research conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada has found that health benefits in resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, are similar to those we get from exercise.  Resveratrol was seen to improve physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in the same way as they are improved after a gym session. Other sources of resveratrol are blueberries, peanut butter, red grapes, and dark chocolate.

Feb 13, 2015

Free Valentine Thought


Benefits of Dark Chocolate

It is fitting with the holiday tomorrow that we look at some of the positive benefits of dark chocolate. It takes only two to three ounces of dark chocolate per week to achieve these benefits.

Dark chocolate is in the top 10 dietary sources of antioxidants, along with seasonings like cloves, mint, anise, cacao powder, black chokeberry, and black elderberry, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dark chocolate is also rich in bioactive flavanols and theobromine. These have good effects on the cells of our hearts and blood vessels.

The Journal of the American Heart Association research showed that eating dark chocolate helped people who have peripheral artery disease walk farther and longer.

Eating dark chocolate is linked to significantly lower blood pressure.  Systolic blood pressure (top number) for people who ate dark chocolate went down by three points. Diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure went down by two points.

Researchers followed a group of more than 37,000 men for 10 years and counted instances of stroke. The numbers showed that those who ate about 63 grams (2 oz.) of chocolate per week had a lower risk of stroke, compared with those who ate no chocolate. Five additional studies also showed lower stroke risk, on average by about 20 percent for chocolate eaters.

Those who had the dark chocolate saw an average drop of 12 percent in their LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol, which is linked to higher risks of heart disease.

A June 2014 study found that eating dark chocolate helped people better cope with stress.

I could go on about the super benefits of dark chocolate covered bacon, but will save that for another day.

Aug 22, 2014

Three Quick Hacks

Put a few of those small ketchup packs in the freezer. They stay soft and can be used for small bruises or bumps.

Use the microwave to soften some chocolate in an ice cube tray, then add strawberries for an easy and clean way to make chocolate covered strawberries with no mess (not as pretty, but taste just as good).

If you mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a gallon of paint, the smell will be much more pleasant and it will not change the color of the paint.

Feb 28, 2014

How to Stay Young

It need not take a lot of effort. John Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University outlines a ten-step program to improve quality of life as we age.

He suggests little changes that involve good eating, such as including dark chocolate in your diet, drinking wine, socializing, adding simple exercises, fidgeting in your office chair to burn calories, spending time walking from your car to the store rather than driving to find a close parking space, working in your garden, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going dancing once a week. I  already socialize, drink wine, and eat chocolate, but need to practice fidgeting a bit more.

Jan 17, 2014

Chocoholics Rejoice

Everyone knows the importance of eating vegetables and chocolate is a vegetable. Chocolate is made from cacao beans and sugar. Beans are vegetables. Sugar is derived from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Both are plants in the vegetable category.

Chocolate candy bars contain milk, which is dairy. Therefore, chocolate candy bars are a health food.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, and fruits are good for your health.

Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It will take the edge off your appetite, and you will eat less at meals.

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

A box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Am just trying to help.

Nov 15, 2013

Eleven Benefits of Chocolate

As we approach the holidays, let me make it easier for you to indulge on a traditional holiday treat. A recently completed European study of chocolate eating among teens showed those who regularly consumed chocolate have less total and abdominal body fat than those who do not. The findings are based on data from 1,458 youths ages 12 to 17, who were part of the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study, which examines lifestyle habits among youths in nine countries in Europe. The study did not differentiate between dark or light chocolate.

Although most studies claim dark chocolate is better for you, there is no need to rule out light chocolate.
Benefits of eating chocolate show:
A 20% reduced risk of stroke,
Lower blood pressure,
Lower risk of heart attack,
Helps keep you feeling fuller longer,
Increases insulin sensitivity (reducing risk of diabetes),
Dark chocolate flavonoids are good for your skin,
Theobromine in chocolate reduces activity of the vagus nerve to ease coughing,
Increases a positive mood and reduces stress,
Cocoa has blood thinning properties,
Improves vision.

White chocolate is really not chocolate, because it does not contain cocoa solids. It is a chocolate derivative and usually consists of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and salt.

Oct 25, 2012

Halloween Facts

Here are some interesting tidbits about the holiday.

    In parts of Mexico, rather than saying the Spanish equivalent of “trick or treat”, “dulce o travesura” (literally “candy or mischief”), it is common to say ¿Me da mi calaverita? (“Can you give me my little skull?”)
    During Samuin, it was also traditional to leave a place and food at the table for deceased loved ones temporarily returned from the grave.
    The word Halloween originally came from the Middle English ‘Alholowmesse’, meaning “All Saints’ Day”.  The night before Alholowmesse was called “All Hallows Even (evening)” which was eventually shortened to “Hallowe’en” until it just became “Halloween” in the 20th century.
    In North America about $3 billion is spent on Halloween costumes.
    Haunted house attractions bring in about half a billion dollars annually.
    Halloween candy sales average around $2 billion per year in the United States.  Chocolate candy bars are consistently rated as the #1 treat to get, with the Snickers candy bar being most preferred.  In addition, Reese’s peanut butter cups and candy corn are among the most sold Halloween candy items.
    Over 35 million Halloween cards, worth $100 million are given every year.
    Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday world-wide after Christmas.
    Recently “Trunk or Treat,” where many people will gather in a parking lot with their trunks open and the children will walk from car to car to get their treats from the trunks.  This is purported to be a safer way to do trick or treating than having kids go door to door.

Apr 13, 2012

Chocolate is Good For You

People who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner according to new research. The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 US people that looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI). It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who ate it only occasionally.

Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favor weight loss rather than fat synthesis, scientists believe. Despite boosting calorie intake, regular chocolate consumption was related to lower BMI in the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

The link remained even when other factors, like how much exercise individuals did, were taken into account and it appears how often you eat chocolate that is important, rather than how much of it you eat. The study found no link with quantity consumed.

Other studies have claimed chocolate may be good for the heart and linked to some favorable changes in blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol level. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, contains antioxidants which can help to clean harmful free radicals, unstable chemicals that can damage our cells.

Dr Golomb and her team believe that antioxidant compounds, called catechins, can improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight. Nice to hear after the Easter chocolate binge.

Chocolate Reduces Coronary Heart Disease

Eating high levels of chocolate could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Data from 114,009 patients suggested risk was cut by about a third, according to a study published on the BMJ website.

The analysis, conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge, compared the risk to the brain and heart in groups of people who reported eating low levels of chocolate, fewer than two bars per week, with those eating more than two bars per week. It showed that the "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels". It also found chocolate is known to decrease blood pressure. They recommended people should avoid binge-eating and eat small amounts of chocolate on a regular basis.

Sep 9, 2011

Laughter and Chocolate

We have all heard that laughter is good for the heart and recently there have been studies that dark chocolate is good for you. These two facts have been confirmed again.
more than 300 measurements were made with a 30-50% difference in blood vessel diameter between the laughter (blood vessel expansion) and mental stress (blood vessel constriction) phases. “The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use” “The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so it is very possible that laughing on a regular basis may be useful to incorporate as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease

the second team of researchers, from the University of Cambridge, may add chocolate to that list, as well. Of course, we’ve long known that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and boasts numerous health benefits, including the ability to help lower blood pressure and even cause a significant increase in insulin sensitivity. But these researchers have an added perk to throw on the laundry list of health benefits -- after conducting a large-scale review on recent evidence (the results were published in the British Medical Journal), these scientists found that regular chocolate consumption (they didn’t differentiate between dark or milk) can slash cardiovascular risk by a third.

That proves it, if you want a healthy heart, start with a good hardy laugh and have chocolate for desert.

Dec 3, 2010

Fizzy Bacon

Effervescent bacon tablets in water explode in a shower of fizz and delicious bacon flavor. It is like bacon Alka-Seltzer. It's a tiny, bubbly miracle. Oooh, drop some in vodka. How about dropping some in hot chocolate for the ultimate chocolate bacon.

Nov 23, 2010

White Chocolate is Not Chocolate

This tidbit came up in a recent conversation and Jeff Flanagan suggested it might be a good topic for Friday Thoughts. In order to be labeled chocolate (as defined in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration) a product must also contain cocoa solids from chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is not real alcohol, but is the thick liquid produced when fermented, dried, and roasted cocoa beans are shelled, then ground. The chocolate liquor is the key ingredient in all of the chocolates on the market, except for white chocolate.

When the chocolate liquor is pressed, the fat can be removed from it. This fat is called cocoa butter, and it is the primary ingredient in white chocolate. In plain chocolate, the cocoa butter is re-blended with the cocoa solids from the separation process in order to make unsweetened chocolate. It may also be sweetened and blended with additional ingredients such as milk to make the chocolate confection we commonly eat.

However, with white chocolate the cocoa butter is not reunited with the cocoa powder. Instead, sugar and milk are added to create the final treat. Also, since the caffeine in chocolate is in the cocoa solids and not the cocoa butter, white chocolate does not contain any caffeine.

Since white chocolate labels are not standardized, some manufacturers market products that do not even contain cocoa butter as white chocolate. Usually, these contain vegetable oil and taste different.

The cocoa butter used to make white chocolate is a very stable fat and has a long lifespan without spoiling. It contains several natural antioxidants and it has a shelf life of several years. It is also used in other products, such as soaps, moisturizers, and other skin care products.

Jul 9, 2010

Pets and Chocolate

Most folks know that chocolate is bad for dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. Theobromine does not affect the human nervous system as much as caffeine, nor is it as addictive as caffeine, but theobromine addictive and believed to cause chocolate addiction. It is also believed to be responsible for chocolate’s notoriety as an aphrodisiac. Although theobromine increases heart rate in humans, it also dilates blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. In fact, it is superior to codeine at suppressing cough and can be helpful in relaxing muscles to alleviate symptoms of asthma.

Dogs, cats, rats and other species cannot digest it efficiently. This leads to a buildup known as theobromine poisoning. Incidentally, this can also happen to elderly people who consume large quantities of chocolate.

For animals, milk chocolate is not as dangerous as semisweet, and that is not as dangerous as cocoa powder.

There are other human foods that are not recommended and poisonous to pets, such as Alcohol, Avocado, Coffee, Fatty Foods, Onions, Raisins and grapes, Salt, Yeast dough, Garlic, and Artificial sweetener.

Jun 4, 2010

Breathable Chocolate

The answer to a chocoholic's prayers is a sweet treat in a single puff that provides all the joy without all the guilt. Le Whif is a lipstick-shaped aerosol packed with tiny particles of dark chocolate and no calories.

Dieters may find the mere smell of chocolate is enough to curb the appetite. When you breath it in, it dissolves immediately and coats your tongue and taste buds. The  particles are small enough to become airborne, but too big to enter the lungs or do any damage.

The inhalers cost £1.99 each and come in three chocolate flavors, plain, raspberry, and mint. Not sure when they will be available in the US.

Apr 16, 2010

Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Research that shows just one small square of chocolate a day can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. The study is published online in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers in Germany followed 19,357 people, aged between 35 and 65, for at least ten years and found that those who ate an average of 7.5 grams (about .25oz) a day, had lower blood pressure and a 39% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate, an average of 1.7 grams a day. The difference between the two groups amounts to six grams of chocolate: the equivalent of less than one small square of a 3.5 ounce bar.

The people in the study were participants in the Potsdam arm of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC). They received medical checks, including blood pressure, height and weight measurements at the start of the study between 1994-1998, and they also answered questions about their diet, lifestyle and health. The researchers asked a sub-set of 1,568 participants to recall their chocolate intake over a 24-hour period and to indicate which type of chocolate they ate. In this sub-set, 57% ate milk chocolate, 24% dark chocolate and 2% white chocolate.

In follow-up questionnaires, sent out every two or three years until December 2006, the study participants were asked whether they had had a heart attack or stroke, information which was subsequently verified by medical records from general physicians or hospitals. Death certificates from those who had died were also used to identify heart attacks and strokes.

People in the top quartile had a 27% reduced risk of heart attacks and nearly half the risk (48%) of strokes, compared with those in the lowest quartile.

The researchers believe that flavanols in cocoa may be the reason why chocolate seems to be good for people's blood pressure and heart health; and since there is more cocoa in dark chocolate, dark chocolate may have a greater effect. In fact, dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet function. We may have a new cliche - a truffle a day keeps the blood pressure at bay.

Nov 27, 2009

Five Old Wive's Tales Debunked

Chocolate causes acne
The American Academy of Dermatology says acne is not caused by any specific type of food, including chocolate. The adolescent affliction is linked to the levels of testosterone in your body.

Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyes
According to WebMD.com, the worst thing that can happen as a result of sitting too close to the screen is a nagging headache.

Carrots improve your eyesight
The American Optometric Association found that 48% of Americans still believe carrots are the best food for eye health. And though it does have beta-carotene and Vitamin A.
Dark leafy greens like spinach are even healthier for the eyes.

Taking a swim less than one hour after eating will give you cramps
The Mayo Clinic says it is perfectly safe to swim after you eat a light meal or snack. The site does recommend taking a break after eating a big meal, not because of cramping, but due to lethargy.


Lightning never strikes the same place twice
According to the National Weather Service, lightning can strike the same place numerous times. In fact, the Empire State Building is hit an average of 25 times a year.

Nov 12, 2009

Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies

The nation's largest cereal maker, is being called to task by critics who object to the swine flu-conscious claim now bannered in bold lettering on the front of Cocoa Krispies cereal boxes: "Now helps support your child's IMMUNITY."  What a load of rice that is, unless it means the chocolate covering, which is good to cure most everything.

Sep 11, 2009

Most Expensive Chocolate

I found it. Knipschildt's La Madeline au Truffe was recognized by Forbes Magazine as the most expensive chocolate in the world.


La Madeline au Truffe starts with a decadent 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla as the base for the rich creamy ganache. A rare French Perigord truffle is then surrounded by this ganache. It is enrobed in Valrhona dark chocolate and then rolled in fine cocoa powder.

The result is pure extravagance! Lying on a bed of sugar pearls in a silver box tied with a ribbon. For a 1.9 ounce ball as shown, costs $250. This product is made to order and ships within 14 days of order date. Product has a 7 day shelf life. Mmmm!