Earth Foods https://earthfoods.sg Earth's Finest Lifestyle Foods Fri, 23 Jun 2017 02:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 https://i1.wp.com/earthfoods.sg/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-Earth-Foods-Logo-V4-e1496933845435.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Earth Foods https://earthfoods.sg 32 32 115932484 The Amazing Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate https://earthfoods.sg/amazing-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/ https://earthfoods.sg/amazing-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:21:36 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=691 5 Excuses To Eat More Dark Chocolate   Of all the treats available, chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the world. The first solid chocolate bar, made ...

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5 Excuses To Eat More Dark Chocolate

 

Of all the treats available, chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the world. The first solid chocolate bar, made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar, was introduced by the British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons in 1847, but the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years.

Pre-Olmec cultures in Mexico produced chocolate as early as 1900 B.C. Originally, it was consumed as a bitter beverage. The cacao beans were fermented, roasted, and then ground into a paste that was mixed with water and spices like chili peppers and vanilla, sweetened with honey.

Throughout its history, chocolate — “the food of the Gods” — has remained a symbol of luxury, wealth, and power. During the 14th century, the Aztecs and Mayans even used cacao beans as currency.

Research has also revealed chocolate has some rather impressive health benefits, provided you’re willing to give up the now-familiar sweetness of modern day milk chocolate.

The Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs valued cacao for its mood enhancing and aphrodisiac properties, and it was typically reserved for the ruling class.

In the 17th century, cocoa and chocolate were considered potential medicine, and historical documents in Europe reveal they were used to treat angina and heart pain.

 

 

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

Raw cacao is actually quite bitter, not sweet, due to the nearly 400 polyphenols that are present. When we’re referring to the health benefits of chocolate, this is the chocolate we’re referring to. Americans consume an estimated 12 pounds of chocolate per capita each year.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of that is in the form of milk chocolate candy, which contains very minute amounts of healthy cacao, and loads of sugar. The milk added to milk chocolate can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the beneficial antioxidants (polyphenols) in the chocolate.

 

Chocolate Terminology

To get off on the right foot, it may be helpful to understand the distinction between cacao, cocoa, and chocolate:

    • Cacao: Refers to the plant, a small evergreen tree of the species Theobroma cacao, and its dried seeds, also known as cacao beans or cocoa beans, prior to processing.

If you’re after health benefits, raw cacao nibs are what you’re looking for. Ideally, buy them whole and grind them yourself (a coffee grinder can be used for this) when using it in recipes.

Alternatively, you can eat them whole, just like you’d eat conventional chocolate chips. A healthy amount would probably be around ½ to 1 ounce per day. I personally grind 1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs twice a day and put them into my smoothies.

    • Cocoa: Refers to the roasted cacao, ground into a powder from which most of the fat has been removed.
    • Cocoa butter: The fat component of the cacao seed.
    • Chocolate: The solid food or candy made from a preparation of roasted cacao seeds; if the cacao seeds are not roasted, then you have “raw chocolate.”

When selecting chocolate, look for higher cacao and lower sugar content. In general, the darker the chocolate, the higher the cacao content.

However, since cacao is bitter, the higher the percentage cacao, the more bitter it is (the polyphenols are what make the chocolate bitter, so manufacturers often remove them. But, it’s those polyphenols that are responsible for many of chocolate’s health benefits).

To counteract the bitterness, most chocolate is sweetened, so it’s a matter of balancing nutritional benefit with palatability. For health benefits, choose chocolate with a cacao percentage of about 70 or higher.

  • “White chocolate” contains no cocoa at all; it’s just a health-zapping mix of pasteurized milk and sugar.

 

Cocoa Contains Hundreds of Health-Promoting Chemicals

Cacao’s benefits are related to naturally occurring compounds in the bean, including epicatechin (a flavonoid) and resveratrol, the former of which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is thought to help shield your nerve cells from damage.

Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, is known

for its neuroprotective effects. It has the ability to cross your blood-brain barrier, which allows it to moderate inflammation in your central nervous system (CNS).

This is significant because CNS inflammation plays an important role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Recent science also shows resveratrol is an exercise mimic and produces similar benefits as exercise to the mitochondria by stimulating AMPK and PKC-1alpha which increase mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy.

Norman Hollenberg, a professor of medicine at Harvard who has spent years studying the Kuna people of Panama (who consume up to 40 cups of cocoa a week), believes epicatechin is so important it should be considered a vitamin.

The Kuna have less than a 10 percent risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, which are the most prevalent diseases ravaging the Western world.

Indeed, many studies have confirmed that cacao can benefit your heart, blood vessels, brain, nervous system, and helps combat diabetes and other conditions rooted in inflammation.

    • One 2012 meta-analysis found that eating chocolate could slash your risk of cardiovascular disease by 37 percent and your stroke risk by 29 percent.
    • Another meta-analysis published that same year found that cocoa/chocolate lowered insulin resistance, reduced blood pressure, increased blood vessel elasticity, and slightly reduced LDL.

In one study, patients consuming 100 grams of flavanol-rich dark chocolate for 15 days showed decreased insulin resistance.

    • According to a paper published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, cocoa polyphenols may have specific benefits for cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer prevention. The authors note that:

“Cocoa contains about 380 known chemicals, 10 of which

are psychoactive compounds … Cocoa has more phenolics and higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, black tea, or red wine … The phenolics from cocoa may … protect against diseases in which oxidative stress is implicated as a causal or contributing factor, such as cancer.

They also have antiproliferative, antimutagenic, and chemoprotective effects, in addition to their anticariogenic effects.”

 

Chocolate and Human Health

A 2013 paper in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine also reviews the many health benefits of cacao, noting that many consider it a “complete food,” as it contains:

  • Healthy fats
  • Antioxidants
  • Nitrogenous compounds, including proteins, methylxanthines theobromine, and caffeine (central nervous system stimulants, diuretics, and smooth muscle relaxants. Theobromine is the ingredient that can cause heartburn in some individuals; on the other hand, it also inhibits persistent cough by reducing vagus nerve activity)
  • Minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium
  • Valeric acid (which acts as a stress reducer despite the presence of stimulants)

The following table highlights the wide range of positive health benefits science suggests are conferred by the cocoa bean.

Anti-inflammatory (including 17 percent reduction in C-reactive protein) Anti-carcinogenic Anti-thrombotic, including improving endothelial function Neuroprotective benefits and lowered Alzheimer’s risk
Anti-diabetic Anti-obesity effects, possibly due to the polyphenols’ ability to suppress fatty acid synthesis while stimulating cell energy expenditure in the mitochondria Cardioprotective, including lowering blood pressure, improving lipid profile, and helping prevent atrial fibrillation Improved liver function for those with cirrhosis
Improves skin condition, and protection against UV damage Improves gastrointestinal flora Reduces stress hormones Protects vision, and reduces symptoms of glaucoma and diabetes-induced cataracts
Slows progression of periodontitis Improves exercise endurance May help extend lifespan Protects against preeclampsia in pregnant women

 

Processing Destroys Many Valuable Nutrients

As noted in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity paper, the nutrients found in raw cacao are easily altered and destroyed through processing. The bitterness of raw cacao beans is due to their high concentration of polyphenols.

To some people, cacao is virtually inedible because of its bitterness. To make it more palatable, chocolate manufacturers decrease the polyphenol content, and as a result you can find products containing anywhere from 10 to 100 percent polyphenols.

In dried fresh cacao beans, the total polyphenol content is around 15 to 20 percent, whereas fermented, non-defatted beans contain just 5 percent. The reason for this is because the fermentation process reduces epicatechin and soluble polyphenol content by as much as 20 percent; anthocyanidins are removed altogether, and procyanidins are decreased by as much as 500 percent.

The phenolic content of cocoa also varies depending on its origin. For example, Costa Rican cocoa contains more than 16.5 milligrams (mg) of catechins per gram (g), whereas Jamaican cocoa contains less than 2.7 mg per gram.

 

Apples May Boost Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Many real foods, eaten as close to their natural state as possible, can be considered “superfoods.” This applies to dark chocolate as well. Interestingly, certain superfoods produce great synergy when combined, meaning the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. When eaten in combination, the two foods become even healthier than eating them separately, on their own.

Eating apples is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, an association thought to be related to their antioxidant flavonoid content, including the anti-inflammatory quercetin. As noted earlier, dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant catechins, has also been found to support heart health. When paired, dark chocolate and apples have been shown to break up blood clots, thereby reducing your risk of stroke.

There are a couple of caveats though. Since much of the antioxidant content of an apple is found in its peel, you’ll want to leave the peel on when you eat it. For this reason, look for organic apples, to avoid ingesting pesticides and other chemicals. For chocolate, the closer it is to its natural raw state, the higher its nutritional value, so look for higher cacao and lower sugar content. Your best bet is raw cacao nibs, if you can tolerate the bitterness.

 

Make Your Own Chocolate Treats

Based on the evidence, there’s little doubt that dark, minimally processed chocolate is a real superfood. Just don’t mistake your average chocolate bar or chocolate-covered candy for a health food! To reap the benefits, it likely needs to be at least 70 percent cacao. Better yet, opt for the raw cacao nibs. I eat about 1 ounce of raw nibs per day.

If you can’t tolerate the bitterness, use them to make your own chocolate treat, to which you can add some harmless sweeteners. In the video above, I demonstrate a recipe I created from scratch using high-quality ingredients. As you will see, there are no specific measurements, so go ahead and tweak it to your own taste.

As a base, I use raw cocoa butter and organic coconut oil. You could also use raw organic grass-fed butter in lieu of the cocoa butter. Keep in mind that these ingredients will cause the candy to melt at lower temperatures, so you will most likely need to keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from melting. Next, I add 1/8 of a cup of raw cocoa powder.

Alternatively, grind your raw cacao nibs. For sweetness, I add about 3 teaspoons of Lo-Han powder and some Stevia. Cinnamon powder, mint, vanilla and/or orange extracts can also be added for flavor.

Since the majority of these ingredients are healthy fats, and there’s no added sugar, this treat will not stimulate your insulin release like most commercial candy bars will, even those with higher cacao content. Hence you get the best of both worlds — a chocolate treat with plenty of health benefits and few if any detriments.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may want to experiment with making your own candy this year. Stores like Amazon and Michael’s sell all sorts of candy molds you can use for the occasion.


Source: Article extracted from Mercola.com. Click here to view full article and its sources.


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Tastes Of Chocolate Around Asia https://earthfoods.sg/tastes-chocolate-around-asia/ https://earthfoods.sg/tastes-chocolate-around-asia/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 16:29:35 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=635 Tastes Of Chocolate Around Asia   Chocolate is a multi-billion dollar industry—a fact that comes as no surprise. Everyone loves chocolate regardless of gender, race and age. But does everyone ...

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Tastes Of Chocolate Around Asia

 

Chocolate is a multi-billion dollar industry—a fact that comes as no surprise. Everyone loves chocolate regardless of gender, race and age. But does everyone like the same kind of chocolate? With hundreds of chocolate brands competing for market share in the world, Kadence conducted some research to understand how our taste for chocolate changes around the region.

In a survey, consumers in Singapore, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, China and Australia were asked what they look for when selecting which chocolate to buy. It might come as a no brainer that taste came out top, but there were some interesting country differences.

In Thailand, taste represented a whopping 78 percent of what Thais look for in chocolate. To them, really nothing else matters. So when asked which brands met those needs, it is not too surprising that the respondents in Thailand advocated the sweeter brands—M&Ms and Hershey’s came out highly in the ranking.

 

Grabbing The Taste Buds

Meanwhile in the overall market outside Thailand, taste represented about half of what people look for (46 percent)—so there must be something else they want from chocolate than just taste. Yet even taste is a broad idea, and what was also found was that consumers across different countries have different interpretations of what makes chocolate ‘tasty’. Singaporeans and Indonesians like their chocolates sweet, much higher than the Taiwanese; the Taiwanese look more for a chocolate aroma when judging its tastiness.

Moving beyond taste, this is when consumer preferences start to really differ between countries. Chocolate texture clinches the second place in several markets—Singapore (27 percent), Australia (24 percent), India (26 percent), and Malaysia (25 percent). But here again, contrasting views were observed as to what constitutes good texture. Australians value a silkiness; a smooth and creamy chocolate defining good texture. This fact clearly evidenced the brands mentioned: Cadburys and Lindt, two smooth and creamy chocolate brands.

The same cannot be said for Malaysians or Singaporeans, who like their chocolates to have a bit of crunch in them. Chocolates with nuts or cookie fillings are well received in these countries, which helps explain why Ferrero Rocher is so welcomed by their consumers.

 

Consumers Seeking Comfort

For the other countries, the second most important attribute has little to do with texture, or indeed the external properties of chocolate at all. It was about the benefit it gives them. In China, consumers care more about meeting their rational needs—having the energy boost from chocolates came in second (16 percent versus the average of five percent). Snickers’ energy-focused global campaign paying off here, as they were perceived as the brand most linked to delivering energy.

Interestingly, this rational need is not seen in neighbouring Taiwan, where the focus is much more emotional; they are after the feel-good factor they get from a chocolate bar. It therefore makes sense that a firm family favourite, Glico, comes to mind the most when thinking of more emotional needs from chocolate.

Just a stone’s throw away, Japanese consumers instead enjoy chocolates while paying close attention to their diet— calorie content comes in second for the Japanese after taste. They are the only nation in the study to be deeply concerned with health when it comes to chocolate.

Not to mention, a wide variety of chocolate flavours are also only observed in the Japanese market. With their love for different kinds of tea and fruits, it is easy to spot chocolate products with these flavours instead of sole taste of chocolate itself. Perhaps, culture can be brought into the equation here. Ask anyone who has been to Japan and they would know that the Japanese are diligent and almost ritualistic in keeping up their appearance and being health-conscious.

 

Premium Versus Value For Money

Price consideration came in as third across several countries as well. Of these price-conscious consumers, the Japanese (75 percent), Taiwanese (68 percent), and Indonesians (62 percent) want their chocolates to be wallet-friendly while those in China and India are more concerned about the quality and experience they get from their chocolate.

This may be good news to Lindt and Ferrero Rocher, where ‘luxury’ has always been present or closely associated in their advertising efforts. Research has shown that they have been highly successful in positioning themselves as superior-quality chocolate brands, when consumers were asked to rate chocolate brands on their perceived quality.

It seems that for now, few household chocolate brands are able to compete in the ‘luxury’ sphere, with the two big players dominating this particular market segment.

These two brands are not for everyone however. As previously mentioned, the Japanese, Taiwanese and Indonesians seek out value for money brands. For these consumers, there looks to be a greater emphasis on being able to treat themselves everyday as opposed to occasionally indulging in luxury. Brands such as Cadburys may not dominate the luxury space, but offer wallet-friendly chocolate in a variety of flavours and formats—meaning there is usually something for everyone.

 

Touching On Local Sweethearts

As might be expected, taste is the core factor of chocolate, and it is the main reason a consumer would make the purchase. But what is fascinating from this research is how different the demands for chocolate are across the region, from the specific texture consumers are looking for to the way it makes them feel about themselves. So whilst chocolate is universally loved, every market has their own unique reasons for loving it and their own preferred value.

This is clearly brought to life by the lack of a universal winning brand across the markets. Whilst Cadburys was generally the most mentioned brand, there were pockets of clear love in countries such as India, while pockets of lacklustre appeal in others like China where the brand did not even make the top 5 brands. This shows that even one of the world’s chocolate heavyweights has not cracked the Asia Pacific market just yet.

In contrast, in a number of markets, it is often the more local brands and players who dominate—Glico in Taiwan; Dove in China; Meiji in Japan—this suggests that local brands are currently doing a better job of understand their consumers’ particular palate better.

When considering the emotional aspect of chocolates and sweets as one desires and indulges these items since he or she is a child, the reason for local brands striking higher points from consumers is even clearer.

The feeling of nostalgia, familiarity is something that cannot be filled only with the taste or texture; and this could be one aspect that a lot of global brands and confectionary giants are neglecting in their market entry.

With this in mind, companies venturing into the Asian markets should keep a close watch on how they position themselves and how their marketing message gets through to their consumers.

Whether they want to be known for an energy boost that parallels Red Bull, or the brand that offers a silky smooth finish or a crunchy texture, or perhaps one that just dials up its health credentials, it is imperative to tailor communications to meet the desires of each country.

In other words, the Asia Pacific region should not be treated as a single idea or a universal market to target; a good starting point would be to grow market presence and earn the consumers’ heart.

 


Source: Article extracted from apfoodonline.com. Click here to view full article and its sources


Earth Foods – There are many characteristics that people within the Asia Pacific Region look for when selecting what chocolates to buy. Taste is not surprisingly the top criteria as no one would be interested in eating a chocolate that turns off their taste buds.

We also believe that consumers are also becoming more health conscious and will lean towards Dark Chocolates as they become more aware of its healthy benefits in the future (Japan’s 2nd highest requirement). In the past there is this trade-off between health benefits and taste as Dark Chocolates tend to be more bitter due to their high levels of cocoa.

Now with SOUL Chocolate, we believe that it can cover most of consumers requirements in:

1. Taste
2. Quality
3. Cost
4. Health Benefits

Consumers preference may change in the future but one thing is certain: Chocolates will still be everyone’s favorite happy food!

 

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What Happens To Our Body After A Piece Of Dark Chocolate? https://earthfoods.sg/happens-body-piece-chocolate-dark/ https://earthfoods.sg/happens-body-piece-chocolate-dark/#respond Tue, 27 Dec 2016 15:41:20 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=560 What Happens To Our Body After A Piece Of Dark Chocolate? The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, it was sold in Europe as a cure, and today it’s the most favorite treat ...

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What Happens To Our Body After A Piece Of Dark Chocolate?

The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, it was sold in Europe as a cure, and today it’s the most favorite treat on Earth. It also benefits our health.

 

 

In 10 Minutes

Improves Our Mood And Invigorates Us

The tryptophan contained in chocolate helps in serotonin production.

Improves The Brain’s Blood Supply And Dilates Blood Vessels

It’s just what we need before mental activity.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Its vasodilator properties lower blood pressure.

Protects Our Teeth

Cocoa butter covers teeth with a protective film, which impedes bacteria growth.

 

 

After a few days of use

Prevents Diabetes

Flavonoids increase the level of nitrogen oxide in our blood, which decreases with diabetes.

Lowers Anxiety Levels

Cocoa helps to reduce the level of stress hormones

Lowers Sweet Cravings

It’s a perfect substitute for unhealthy sweets

 

 

Regular Consumption

Benefits For The Heart

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cleans Vessels Thanks To Flavonoids And Antioxidants

Raises Intelligence Levels

Flavonoids and magnesium have a positive effect on our memory, which is why chocolate is useful for people aged 70 and over.

Slows The Aging Process Thanks To Antioxidants, Which Neutralize Free Radicals

Makes Children Happier

Babies whose mothers consumed bitter chocolate during pregnancy are less fearful and smile more often.

 


Source: Article extracted from brightside.me. Click here to view full article and its sources


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7 Proven Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate https://earthfoods.sg/7-proven-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/ https://earthfoods.sg/7-proven-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/#respond Tue, 27 Dec 2016 15:22:37 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=529 The 7 Proven Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is ...

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The 7 Proven Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.

Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.

Studies show that dark chocolate (not the sugary crap) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.

 

1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious

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 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.

Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.

For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.

The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates.

It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.

Bottom Line: Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

 

2. Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Stacked Chocolate Blocks

Have you ever heard of a measure called ORAC?

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods.

Basically, researchers pit a bunch of free radicals (bad) against a sample of food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can “disarm” them.

The biological relevance of this metric is questioned, because it’s done in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body.

However, I think it is worth mentioning that raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring foods that have been tested.

Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others.

One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.

Bottom Line: Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants, way more than most other foods.

 

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure

Chipped Dark Chocolate

The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas.

One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.

There are many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild.

However, there is also one study in people with elevated blood pressure that showed no effect, so take all this with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

 

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation

Woman Holding Chocolate And Milk

Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease.

In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men.

It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol.

Oxidized LDL means that the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals.

This makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues… such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.

It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidized LDL. It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that do make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage.

Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Bottom Line: 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.

 

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Woman Staring at a Piece of Chocolate

The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL.
In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term.
It turns out that we have several long-term observational studies that show a fairly drastic improvement.

In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of

cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period.

Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect.

Yet another study showed that chocolate 5+ times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%.

Of course, these 3 studies are so-called observational studies that can not prove that it was the chocolate that caused the reduction in risk.

However, given that we have a biological mechanism (lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL) then I find it plausible that regular consumption of dark chocolate can in fact reduce the risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line: Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk for the people who consume the most chocolate.

 

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun

Cocoa Powder

The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin.

The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin, 24 hours after exposure.

In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks.

If you’re planning on a beach vacation, consider loading up on dark chocolate in the prior weeks and months.

Bottom Line: Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

 

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function

Doctor With Thumbs Up

The good news isn’t over yet. Dark chocolate may also improve the function of the brain.

One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain.

Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease.

Cocoa also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.

 

Take Home Message

There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease.

But of course, this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat on. Maybe have a square or two after dinner and try to really savor them.

Be aware that a lot of the chocolate on the market is crap. You need to choose quality stuff… organic, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.

Dark chocolates often contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.

There are of course other benefits to chocolate that I have not mentioned… such as the awesome taste.


Source: Article extracted from authoritynutrition.com. Click here to view full article and its sources


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Diabetes – A Real Problem And What SOUL Chocolate Provides To The Community https://earthfoods.sg/diabetes-real-problem-soul-chocolate-provides-community/ https://earthfoods.sg/diabetes-real-problem-soul-chocolate-provides-community/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 08:59:55 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=495 Diabetes Vs SOUL Chocolate   SOUL 85% Dark Chocolate and SOUL White Chocolate as presented as Diabetic-Friendly due to its High Quality Ingredients and Low-Sugar Content. Its sugar formulation is ...

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Diabetes Vs SOUL Chocolate

 

SOUL 85% Dark Chocolate and SOUL White Chocolate as presented as Diabetic-Friendly due to its High Quality Ingredients and Low-Sugar Content. Its sugar formulation is derived from sugarcane extract that when consumed, has a much lower impact on Blood Glucose Levels as compared to compound sugars. Crafted perfectly to give you the perfect chocolate experience and satisfaction without the sing of excessive sugar. A chocolate that is both tasty and addictive!

But first, let’s understand more about this pressing issue at hand – DIABETES

 

What is Diabetes?

To answer that, you first need to understand the role of insulin in your body. When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin. Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy.

But with diabetes, this system does not work.

 

Effects/Impact of Diabetes?

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke.

Living with diabetes places an enormous emotional, physical and financial burden on the entire family.

Source: DiabetesResearch (https://www.diabetesresearch.org/what-is-diabetes)

 

Diabetes – A Real Problem (Fact Find)

Singapore

2010 – There were about 350,000 diabetics in 2010

2014 – 440,000 residents aged 18 years and above had diabetes

2030 – Number of diabetics in Singapore could rise to 670,000

2050 – Singapore is expected to have 1 million diabetics by 2050

Source: Channel News Asia (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-taskforce-established/2691422.html, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singaporeans-at-risk-of/2649554.html)

Asia

“The EIU study presented data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicates that between 2000 and 2030, the prevalence rate of diabetes is expected to more than double in the ASEAN Six – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – as obesity rates continue to rise.”

Source: Food Industry Asia (https://foodindustry.asia/diabetes-rates-set-to-double-by-2030)

 

Quality Of Life with SOUL 85% Dark Chocolates and SOUL White Chocolate

We at Earth Foods feel that it is necessary to stay healthy without sacrificing quality of life. The community should be able to eat desserts that they love (in moderation) without worrying of the impact it will do to your health as well as whether it will increase the risk of diabetes.

SOUL 85% Dark Chocolate and SOUL White Chocolate as presented as Diabetic-Friendly due to its High Quality Ingredients and Low-Sugar Content. Its sugar formulation is derived from sugarcane extract that when consumed, has a much lower impact on Blood Glucose Levels as compared to compound sugars. Crafted perfectly to give you the perfect chocolate experience and satisfaction without the sing of excessive sugar. A chocolate that is both tasty and addictive!

 

Diabetes and Dark Chocolate (Additional Information)

The health benefits of eating chocolate:

  1. Research scientists are studying good bacteria found in the digestive tract of people that normally eat cocoa. Preliminary findings are pointing in the direction that this bacteria is helping to ferment antioxidants and fiber found in cocoa. These bacteria are thought to help create compounds that are anti-inflammatory and help with our cardiovascular health. In one study of healthy individuals, it was found that by eating a small square (8 grams) of dark chocolate (70% cocoa chocolate) every day for a months’ time an improvement in vascular function over their own baseline as well as the control group was shown. This small amount can potentially help to decrease the risk of heart disease. The research was done on pure, unsweetened cocoa powder and it is advised that even the darkest chocolate must be consumed in moderation to avoid excess calories and weight gain. At this time scientists can not recommend an ideal amount of cocoa powder to eat.
  1. For people with type 2 diabetes, daily dark chocolate consumption of 20 grams per day (that was rich with polyphenols) helped increase the sensitivity to insulin. This is important for blood glucose control. Increasing insulin sensitivity may also help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes.
  1. A review of literature in 2012 found that eating dark chocolate every day reduced blood pressure by approximately 2-3 points. (1) Flavanols which are found in dark chocolate can help form nitric oxide. This helps relax blood vessel walls which leads to a lowering of blood pressure.
  1. In a small study of 31 participants, when comparing the consumption of white chocolate to 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate, the participants who ate the dark chocolate (1.7 ounces per day for 15 days) had lower blood glucose levels, decreased low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) by 20 percent and increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by 20 percent. More research on this fascinating topic needs to take place.

Source: Article extracted from diabetescare.net. Click here to view full article and its sources.


 

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10 Convincing Health Reasons You Should Eat More Of The Stuff https://earthfoods.sg/10-convincing-health-reasons-eat-stuff/ https://earthfoods.sg/10-convincing-health-reasons-eat-stuff/#respond Thu, 20 Oct 2016 08:10:06 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=183 10 Convincing Health Reasons You Should Eat More Of The Stuff Chocolate has an array of health benefits (as long as it’s dark) CREDIT:CORBIS Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, ...

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10 Convincing Health Reasons You Should Eat More Of The Stuff

woman eating dark chocolate
Chocolate has an array of health benefits (as long as it’s dark) CREDIT:CORBIS

Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, a sure-fire stand-by in times of stress, a reliable source of consolation when life has let us down, and a mood-enhancer and romance-inducer in more positive circumstances. But is it at all healthy?

If you scoff lots of it, obviously not. But there are a host of medically proven ways in which chocolate — good chocolate, which is to say dark chocolate, with a cocoa percentage of around seventy per cent or more — really is good for us.

Research is continuing all the time, and experts have already found that chocolate is good for the heart, circulation and brain, and it has been suggested that it may be beneficial in such major heath challenges as autism, obesity and  diabetes.

 

Here are ten scientifically established health benefits of good chocolate.

 

1. It’s good for the heart and circulation

A recent study found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging.

 

2. It reduces risk of stroke

Researchers in Finland have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke – by a staggering 17 per cent average in the group of men they tested.

 

3. It’s mineral rich

Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 per cent or more) choc provides 67 per cent of the RDA of iron.

melting chocolate
Chocolate is an unlikely source of iron CREDIT: ALAMY

4. It reduces cholesterol

Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

5. It’s good for your skin

The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage (though you’d probably better still slap on some sun cream).

Chocolate cake
CREDIT: YUKI SUGIURA

6. It can help you lose weight

Chocolate can help you lose weight. Really. Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good choc melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.

 

7. It’s good for mothers and babies

A Finnish study found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.

 

8. It may prevent diabetes

It sounds mad, but cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. So dark chocolate – in moderation – might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.

raw cocoa beans
Cocoa beans in their raw form CREDIT: ALAMY

9. Chocolate is good for the brain

Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflamatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.

 

10. Chocolate makes you feel better

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.

As a chocolate lover I would also add that certain kinds of chocolate can be good for the soul: this is chocolate for which the raw materials have been grown with care by farmers who are properly rewarded for their work; then processed by people who take time and care in their work, and finished by chocolatiers who love what they do. It will not be mass-produced, and it may not be cheap. But it will be good for you, heart and soul.


Source: Article extracted from telegraph.co.uk. Click here to view full article and its sources.


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The Very Real Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate https://earthfoods.sg/the-very-real-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/ https://earthfoods.sg/the-very-real-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 08:59:48 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=165 The Very Real Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate   For years, all chocolate was cast off as junk food. But now, thanks to stacks of research, doctors and nutritionists know ...

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The Very Real Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

 

For years, all chocolate was cast off as junk food. But now, thanks to stacks of research, doctors and nutritionists know that dark chocolate can actually be very healthy – when eaten in moderation. “Dark chocolate, made from the cocoa bean, is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids,” says Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The main type of flavonoid with antioxidant qualities is flavonols, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, boost blood flow, and reduce blood clots.”

PROTECTING AGAINST HEART ATTACK AND STROKE

A large Australian study from 2012 found that daily consumption of dark chocolate could prevent major cardiovascular events in people with risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, a German study published in 2010 tracked 20,000 people over eight years and found that those who ate one square of chocolate a day had 39 percent less chance of stroke and heart attack.

PROTECTING AGAINST DIABETES

“Some studies have shown that the antioxidants in dark chocolate may help the body use its insulin more efficiently to control blood sugar,” McDaniel says. It also has potential to make you smarter – at least in the short term. A British study found that the flavonols in chocolate boost blood flow to brain, which could aid alertness and cognition. Plus, dark chocolate has a modest amount of caffeine, along with the milder stimulant theobromine, making it a great all-natural pick-me-up.

ANTIOXIDANTS + HEALTHY FATS

Cocoa butter, the fatty part of cocoa beans, is the unsaturated type that’s beneficial for your heart and cholesterol levels. But even the saturated fat in dark chocolate isn’t so bad for you. “Dark chocolate contains stearic acid, a saturated fat that may have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels,” McDaniel says.

NOT ALL DARK CHOCOLATES ARE GOOD FOR YOU

Here’s the catch with dark chocolate: To get all of these health benefits, you have to choose the right kind. “It is a myth that all dark chocolate is good for you,” says McDaniel. “Sugar is often the first ingredient listed on many dark chocolate bars.” Steer clear of these. Instead, you want a dark chocolate that has “cocoa solids” listed first. “Cocoa solids contain the desirable flavonols responsible for heart health protection, so they should hold the number-one spot on the ingredients list,” McDaniel says. “A good rule of thumb is to look for at least 70 percent cocoa solids, which means the chocolate will have a slightly bitter taste. But you can train your taste buds over time to enjoy this less-sweet flavor.” You also want to avoid dark chocolates that have added milk fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils – both of which are saturated fats.

Once you’ve found a dark chocolate that fits this bill, McDaniel says go for it. “One of the most common food cravings I see from my clients is chocolate,” she says. “If you can contain your consumption of dark chocolate – aim for about 100 calories or less per day – you should feel good about the enjoying this antioxidant-rich, potentially heart-protective sweet.”


Source: Article extracted from mensjournal.com. Click here to view full article and its sources.


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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate https://earthfoods.sg/health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/ https://earthfoods.sg/health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 08:44:19 +0000 http://earthfoods.sg/?p=156 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and boxes of chocolates spilling over in store aisles everywhere, it’s time to set the record straight about the ...

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Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and boxes of chocolates spilling over in store aisles everywhere, it’s time to set the record straight about the health benefits of chocolate.

DARK CHOCOLATE IS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS

The good news about chocolate pertains to cocoa — the dark chocolate rich in plant compounds called flavonoids — which originates from seeds from the cacao tree. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and brain, raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels and lower “bad” LDL levels— all of which protect against heart attack and stroke. And although cocoa is not considered a health food, it certainly can play a role in helping to keep the heart healthy.

Choose dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cacao, or cocoa. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao has a bitter, but satisfying, flavor. The less processed the actual cocoa, the greater the health benefits of dark chocolate.

IT’S TRUE: EATING CHOCOLATE EVERYDAY IS GOOD FOR YOU

In fact, researchers have found that people who ate flavanol-rich cacao or cocoa products every day for a few weeks saw their blood pressure drop by about two to three points. But, remember, dark chocolate should be eaten and enjoyed in moderation. No more than one ounce per day due to its high calorie count. Other foods rich in flavonoids include deeply colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and spices. Unlike dark chocolate, milk chocolate does not have significant flavonoid content.


Source: Article extracted from uofmhealthblogs.org. Click here to view full article and its sources.


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