Are Chocolates Good For Your Health?

European Heart Journal featured the most awaited results of an eight year study by the German researchers (German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal, Germany) who are well known to be the first to research the positive effects of chocolate. Almost 20,000 participants who were given periodic queries played the major role for the success of the medical studies. It claimed that by eating 6 grams of chocolate which is equivalent of one square per day could lower the risk of stroke and heart failure by 39 percent.

Furthermore, research based evidence was conducted to 1,169 non-diabetic patients who had suffered from heart attack. Continuous monitoring and health examinations were done for the next eight years. The September 2009 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine revealed the results that the more chocolate a heart attack survivor consumed, the lower the risk of dying from the next attack. However, Dr. Mukamal of Sweden does not encourage this to all his patients suffered from weight problem such as obesity. Only those who have no weight issues can eat chocolate exceeding the ideal amount to be consumed per day.

What makes it healthier?

Chocolate is indeed a rich source of bio-active compounds. The flavonoid which is found in the cocoa has antioxidant that protects against cell damage (8x more than antioxidant found in strawberries). Also, it may enhance blood flow to the brain that has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and may help to relax blood pressure by producing nitric oxide and balance hormones in the body.

However, consumers need to check and be selective on what types of chocolate available in the market that provides health advantages.

Which chocolates are good for the heart and which are not?

  • Darker chocolate – has natural unsweetened cocoa powder and is less processed. It contains cocoa phenols that are known for lowering blood pressure. Any unsweetened dark chocolate is healthier than those which are sweetened that already contain white sugar instead of dehydrated cane juice or raw cane sugar. Studies also shown that it can lessen the bad cholesterol by 10 percent. In 2008, one study discovered that daily dose of about 6.7 grams of dark chocolate can reduces levels of protein link with inflammation in the blood that caused the heart attack.
  • Milk chocolate and white chocolate – it does not contain coco beans and may hinder the absorption of antioxidant and therefore it only counteracts the potential benefits that can get from eating chocolate. There was a study conducted to group (6 men and 7 women) of aged 55-64 who have mild high blood pressure.

Half of them were given 100-gram of dark chocolate to be taken everyday for two weeks and half of them got the white chocolate. It turned out that those who have consumed the dark chocolate had dropped the blood pressure by average of 5 point for systolic (the top number) and of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).

Does it contain too much calories?

The exciting truth is that dark chocolates will not impact your cholesterol because the fats are 1/3 oleic acid (monounsaturated fat found in olive oil), 1/3 stearic acid (saturated fat but has neutral effect on cholesterol) and 1/3 palmitic acid (saturated fat that raises cholesterol). It therefore concludes that only 1/3 of it can be bad for you.
Please take some time to look for the amount calories you will consume because the recommended to be taken is only 6 grams or 1 square of chocolate and contains only 200 calories and cut the rest other sweets per day.

Remember that the extra bitter taste of the chocolate is much more favorable to your well being. Now that you have realized the truth about your much loved snack gratifying your sweet tooth, just indulge with your favorite chocolate in moderation.

References:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/health/15choc.html
http://www.all-natural.com/news.html
http://health.allrefer.com/
http://www.sageera.com/articles/comments/weight_loss_secret_1_massive_alkalization/
http://www.healthnews.com/medical-updates/heart-attack-survivors-benefit-chocolate-consumption-3571.html
http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongnutrition/p/chocolate.htm
http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?id=3464&t=CFIDS_FM

The Hidden Truth About White Flour

White FlourThe American Dietetic Association recommends 8 to 11 servings of white flour products daily. That’s not hard to follow at all, with the overwhelming number of mainstream white flour products in the market—from pretzels and bagels to pasta and gravy. However, were you even remotely aware that these white flour is just as unhealthy as eating raw refined sugar and has absolutely no positive nutritional value?

What I just said might come off as a shock, especially since the intensive marketing of these white flour products state the exact opposite: that ready-to-cook pasta (among many other products) is filled with fortified vitamins and will get you going through the day. Now is the time for you to know the absolute truth about white flour will really do to your body.

Deficiency of Essential Nutrients

Flour derives its name from an Old French word that means “finest”; that’s because white flour is supposedly the fine end product of an intensive milling process that strips away the coarse part of the whole wheat. This includes the outer bran layer and the germ, the two richest sources of vitamins and minerals in the whole grain.

On the contrary, white flour is anything but the “finest”. The raw wheat is filled with nutrients and antioxidants such as fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, zinc, calcium, and copper. During the milling process and the removal of the bran and the germ, these nutrients are stripped off by and replaced with synthetic nutrients such as B vitamins. The synthetic vitamins are all that the manufacturers need to market it as a product “fortified with essential nutrients”.

Whole wheat also contains beta carotene, an important source of Vitamin A. It helps in the growth and regeneration of tissues, especially for pregnant women. When beta carotene is taken away during the milling process, taking it in supplement form just isn’t as beneficial. It can increase the risk of imbalance and even cancer! In fact, nutritionists agree that beta carotene taken in its raw form along with all the other nutrients in whole wheat is much more natural and better.

So you’re probably wondering, why are these natural nutrients taken away? That’s because manufacturers think it’s far better to prevent white flour products from aging too fast than to retain the nutrients in whole wheat. By subjecting the whole wheat to a chlorine gas bath, the nutrients are destroyed and the shelf life is prolonged.

Added Ingredients that are Harmful and Poisonous

Have you ever wondered why white bread looked so different from whole wheat flour? That’s because white bread has been bleached in flour mills with chemical agents. Some of the bleaching agents used to produce white bread are benzoyl peroxide, nitrosyl, chlorine, and many other chemical salts.

During the bleaching process, the chemical processing done to the whole wheat result in alloxan, a decomposed product of uric acid. There is no other way to describe alloxan other than it is a poison, the very same one used during laboratory experiments for experimental animals to have diabetes. Make no mistake, once you take alloxan, your pancreatic beta cells—which produces insulin, which regulates your blood sugar—are destroyed. This will make you vulnerable to diabetes, when insulin can no longer be produced by your body.

The Drastic End Result

Another problem with white flour is that it enters your body system in its basic form: as carbohydrates and simple sugars that require no further breakdown. In other words, eating white flour is similar to eating refined sugar — both are in its basic form, no longer need to be processed, and go straight to your bloodstream. It may not taste as sweet as refined sugar, but your blood sugar will react to it in the same way. It will have to release insulin in enormous quantities, which will result in increased blood sugar levels. It will be followed by a rapid decrease once there is nothing more to process. That’s why you get a sugar rush after you eat cereal or bread, and weakness and lethargy after white flour had been processed by your body.

Also, its excessive consumption will cause rapid weight gain, as more and more sugar is stored in your body. The rapid weight gain is not just caused by the caloric content of white flour products, but the alteration of metabolism. White flour circumvents the digestive process that healthy foods like vegetables and fruits go through, resulting in rapid increase and decrease of your blood sugar level and metabolism.

In the end, as you take in more white flour products, your pancreas will be overworked and the production of insulin will just come to a complete stop—resulting in hypoglycemia and diabetes. That’s precisely why diabetes patients need insulin injections every so often.