Probiotic Healthy Chocolate

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What are the Different Types of Chocolate…?

Unsweetened Chocolate:

It is also called baking, plain or bitter chocolate. Since no sugar has been added to the chocolate it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand.

Bittersweet Chocolate:

Still dark, but a little sweeter than unsweetened. It is unsweetened chocolate to which sugar, more cocoa butter, lecithin, and vanilla has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet has become the sophisticated choice of chefs. It contains a high percentage (up to 75%) of cocoa solids, and little (or no) added sugar.

Semisweet Chocolate:

Slightly sweetened during processing, and most often used in frostings, sauces, fillings, and mousses. They are interchangeable in most recipes. The favorite of most home bakers. It contains a high percentage (up to 75%) of cocoa solids, and little (or no) added sugar.

German Chocolate:

Dark, but sweeter than semisweet. German chocolate is the predecessor to bittersweet. It has no connection to Germany; it was developed by a man named German.

Milk Chocolate or Sweet Chocolate:

Candy bar chocolate. Chocolate to which whole and/or skim milk powder has been added. Rarely used in cooking because the protein in the added milk solids interferes with the texture of the baked products. It contains approximately 20 percent cocoa solids.

White Chocolate:

Many people might argue that white chocolate is not really chocolate. It is made from sweetened cocoa butter mixed with milk solids, sometimes with vanilla added. Since cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean, then we can only conclude that real white chocolate is indeed chocolate.

Conveture:

A term generally used to describe high-quality chocolate used by professional bakers in confectionery and baked products. The word means “to cover” or “to coat.” It has more cocoa butter than regular chocolate. It’s specially formulated for dipping and coating things like truffles
. Chocolate of this quality is often compared to tasting fine wine because subtleties in taste are often apparent, especially when you taste a variety of semisweet and bittersweet couvertures with different percentages of sugar and chocolate liquor.

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Short History of Chocolate

Short History of Chocolate

Aztec Indian legend held that cacao seeds had been brought from Paradise and that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cacao tree. Because of a spelling error, probably by English traders long ago, the cacao beans became know as the cocoa beans.

The Spanish general, Hernando Cortes, landed in Mexico in 1519. The Aztecs believed he was the reincarnation of one of their lost gods. They honored him by serving him an unusual drink, presented in a cup of pure gold. This unusual drink was called “chocolatl” by the Aztecs.

When Cortes returned to Spain, he took the cocoa bean with him and there is was mixed with sugar and vanilla. this sweet drink became fashionable and soon there were chocolate houses in all the capitals of Europe.

A delicate tree, cacao is only grown in rain forests in the tropics, usually on large plantations, where it must be protected from wind and intense sunlight. The tree is harvested twice a year.

Milk chocolate was invented in 1876 by a Swiss chocolatier, Daniel Peter (1836-1919) of Vevey, Geneva. Daniel Peter successfully combined chocolate with powdered milk to produce the first milk chocolate. Today, the finest chocolate is still made in Switzerland, and the consumption of milk chocolate far outweighs that of plain chocolate.

Chocolate was introduced to the United States in 1765 when John Hanan brought cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts, to refine them with the help of Dr. James Baker. The first chocolate factory in the country was established there.

To learn more about a Healthy Dark Chocolate click here

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Studies in Prestigious Scientific Journals Say Dark Chocolate is Healthy Chocolate

Dark Chocolate – not white chocolate or milk chocolate – is good for you. As there is no question that chocolate procures pleasure for those who eat it, you never need to feel guilty again!

If you enjoy chocolate, eat a little daily – but make it the dark kind.

Eating 2 ounces (50 grams) a day of plain chocolate with a minimum content of 70% chocolate solids can be beneficial to health, providing protection against heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other health hazards as well as essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E and it’s a lot tastier than boring old vitamin pills too.

A 1 1/2-ounce square of chocolate may have as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine
.
About 50% of all food cravings are for chocolate, far more than cravings for “something sweet” (16%), salty foods (12%), baked goods (11%), and fruit (4%). Some people go so far as saying they are addicted to chocolate. But that’s no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. Remember, you do have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.

What is it that makes chocolate so irresistible? A large part of chocolate’s allure, of course, lies in the taste – a deliciously rich concoction that satisfies the most intense craving. But several chemical reactions are also at work. For one thing, chocolate stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles. The question arises: Why is chocolate such a powerful food? And what makes it the most commonly craved food? (About 40% of women and 15% of men report chocolate cravings.)

A new study by market research publisher Packaged Facts titled Market Trends: The U.S. Market for Gourmet Chocolate reports that the higher cocoa, lower sugar content and antioxidant properties of premium dark chocolate are making it a more attractive treat for health-conscious Americans, especially those counting carbs. The potential health benefits of premium dark chocolate versus higher sugar, higher fat mass-market counterparts are causing consumers to reevaluate their attitudes toward the gourmet chocolate market.

A word of caution: Not all chocolate is heart healthy. White chocolate, which a Harvard researcher points out is “not really chocolate at all,” and milk chocolate may expand the hips rather than help blood flow. And none of the instant cocoa mixes in the local grocery store contain the flavonoids that improve blood vessel function.

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Dr. Nicholas Perricone: How Sweet It Is: Good News About Chocolate and Cocoa

Dr. Nicholas Perricone: How Sweet It Is: Good News About Chocolate and Cocoa

The secret to living a long and healthy life is not all about self-denial, self-discipline and austerity. While it is true that we do need to exercise some self-control and make smart decisions when it comes to our diet, there are some treats that we can enjoy while reaping healthy benefits.

I am happy to report that one of life’s greatest pleasures is actually rich in heart-healthy antioxidants. A number of scientific studies have found that extra dark chocolate, containing 80 percent cocoa solids or more, is uniquely high in potent, heart-healthy flavon-3-ol antioxidants. Polyphenols identified in the cocoa bean include several different catechins, as well as procyanins, anthocyanins, and flavone and flavonol glycosides. In fact, cocoa contains double the flavon-3-ol anti-oxidant content of red wine, and five times that of green tea.

Sweet Smarts

These antioxidants are extremely protective not only to the heart but also to the brain, (both cardio and neuro-protective). Recent studies looking at the protection of neuros in vitro, found that they were more protective than other antioxidant in preserving brain cells.

Mood Food

Chocolate is also a source of several mood-elevating constituents, including tryptophan (precursor to serotonin), anandamide (a natural brain chemical very similar to the cannabinoids in marijuana), theobromine (far milder cousin to caffeine), phenylethylamine and magnesium. While the amounts of each of these potentially mood-elevating appear too small to affect most people’s mood significantly, the combination can and does produce feelings of elation, even ecstasy, in some sensitive individuals.

Cocoa butter is a heart-healthy fat that does not raise cholesterol levels. It actually contains a variety of healthy fatty acids, including stearic Acid (35%), oleic acid (Omega-9) 35%), palmitic acid (25%), and Linoleic Acid ((Omega-6) 3%). Oleic acid is also found in extra virgin olive oil and may actually raise the levels of good HDL fats in the blood.

The antioxidants in cocoa can also help improve immune function and reduce the inflammation of blood vessels. Other benefits of chocolate include:

• Potentially lowers levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol
• Decreases platelet “clumping” in our blood vessels
• Regulates immune response
• High levels of phenolics — powerful antioxidants that fight the cell damage that leads to chronic conditions such as cancer and heart diseases
• When combined with the right amounts of sugar (i.e., very little) and (good) fat, chocolate boosts levels of endorphins and serotonin – the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals
• Dark chocolate contains high levels of chromium, a substance that has been proven to control blood sugar

The darker the chocolate, the greater the cocoa content and thus, the higher the health-promoting flavonoid content. Milk chocolate does not have the same benefits, as the chocolate is adulterated with dairy and other ingredients.

Pure unsweetened cocoa powder is the finest way to enjoy the benefits of chocolate. Sprinkle it on yogurt and/or berries, and try Mexican mole sauces for a delightful way to enjoy chocolate during the main course.

Look for high quality chocolates with their main ingredients being cocoa butter and cocoa solids. These include Lindt and Ecco Bello. Lindt Excellence offers an 85% cocoa dark chocolate bar, one serving (2/5 of a bar) has 8 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. Ecco Bella makes an organic dark chocolate bar with cranberry seed oil for omega-3 fatty acids, plus blueberry extract, and the powerful antioxidants, lutein, lycopene, and astaxanthin. My personal favorite is Vital Choice’s organic extra dark chocolate www.vitalchoice.com, which are crafted from the best raw, non-Dutched cocoa for superior antioxidants and flavor. Their raw-cocoa chocolate retains the potent antioxidants that are missing in most brands. Enjoy this 80% organic extra dark chocolate plain, or with organic hazelnuts or wild-crafted blueberries.

As long as we choose the right form of chocolate and enjoy it in moderation (one to two ounces per day), there is no reason why we must give up this aptly named “food of the Gods.” But, remember, if on a weight loss program we may want to limit our indulgence to once or twice a week until we have achieved our desired results.

Dr. Nicholas Perricone: How Sweet It Is: Good News About Chocolate and Cocoa

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Healthy Chocolate with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Xoçai™ Omega Squares

Get Your Omega 3 Fatty Acids by eating Chocolate!

Get Your Omega 3 Fatty Acids by eating Chocolate!

Essence of Health, the Xoçai™ Omega Squares™

The North American diet is almost completely void of the essential fatty acid Omega-3. Researchers believe that at least 60% of North Americans are presently deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids and that children are obtaining almost no Omega-3. In fact, the deficiency of Omega-3 in the North American diet has now been linked to an extensive list of health-related problems sited in over 2,000 scientific studies.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to health.

They are considered essential fatty acids, which means that they are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body.

The National Institutes of Health and International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommends that individuals consume at least 220mg daily of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the most important Omega-3 fatty acids, and that pregnant and nursing women consume at least 300mg daily. For comparison purposes, there is 100mg of DHA per 1/4 cup of canned tuna.

The Xoçai™ Omega Squares™ have a minimum of 200mg of DHA and EPA per three 11 gram squares. The Xoçai™ Omega Squares™ are an excellent source of Omega-3 and promotes the necessary balance of essential fatty acids though the Açaí Berry, flaxseed and a patented, plant-based, encapsulated Omega-3.

Reverse the Imbalance!

It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in your diet as these two substances work together to promote better health. A healthy diet should consist of roughly two times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3 fatty acids (2:1).

Many researchers suggested that the present excessive levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, relative to Omega-3 fatty acids (10:1), in the North American diet has created a significant imbalance and is a major factor in the rising rate of diseases in the United States. Omega-9 fatty acids are not classified as essential fatty acids, because they can be created by the human body from unsaturated fat.

The Xoçai™ Omega Squares™ has been developed to provide your body the essential fatty acids for preventative and better health during every stage of your life!

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Xocai-Healthy Probiotic Chocolate!

What are the XoBiotic Squares™?

There are many natural functional foods in virtually every food group. As we all know, chocolate itself is a functional food if it contains sufficient antioxidants and flavonoids. However, it is now possible for manufacturers to create functional foods by fortifying and enhancing their products to give them added health benefits never before possible. A new growing segment of functional food is called “probiotics.”

Probiotic means “fit for life,” or “pro life.” Probiotics are living microorganisms which when administered effectively in adequate amounts confer health benefits. The adult intestinal tract is home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms. More than 400 different bacterial species have already been identified in the intestinal tract.

First, in order to be effective Probiotics must contain bacteria which are resistant to stomach acids and bile salts. Secondly, the bacteria must have the capacity to compete successfully with the indigenous intestinal bacteria. So, either the bacteria must be protected by the use of encapsulation techniques, or new types of foods must be developed which offer increased protection for the bacteria. The key to the effectiveness of probiotic treatment is for the bacteria to be able to pass through the stomach and the small intestines reaching the large intestines with sufficient strength to colonize and flourish.

SHIME stands for “The Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem.” This in vitro system was created to simulate the activities and conditions found in the stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. This enables scientists to monitor the quantity of bacteria that survive the journey to the large intestines. And, it also enables them to monitor the development of the bacterial colonies in the large intestines.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 95 million Americans suffer from digestive problems. Some 60 million have heartburn, 50 million have irritable bowel syndrome, and 20 million suffer from stomach ulcers.

Many, many new probiotic products have been launched in North America and Europe. But, we have a distinct advantage. Chocolate appears to be the ideal delivery system for probiotics. Chocolate has been shown to be far superior to milk as a delivery system for Probiotics.

The Xoçai™ XoBiotic™ chocolate will be in the form of an 11-gram square and will deliver 1 billion microorganisms of two types – Lactobacillus Helveticus R0052 and Bifido Bacterium Longum R0175. These probiotics have been selected for our probiotic chocolate because of their stability in chocolate and their guaranteed shelf life equal to the shelf life of the chocolate itself, if properly stored as recommended for all Xoçai™ products (40*F – 75*F). By marrying the health benefits of dark chocolate with those of these two probiotic cultures, which have a positive influence on immune and gut health, we gain new opportunities with health-conscious consumers. Presently there are no approved health claims on probiotics in the US, until now!

Find out more about the Xocai XoBiotic Squares and how to get them by clicking here

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Dark Chocolate May Sweeten the Way to Health

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

Daily dose lowered blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, study showed.

If it tastes good it must be bad, so the saying goes, but delicious dark chocolate may be the exception to the rule.

In addition to all the pleasurable sensations associated with the sweet, it may also help lower blood pressure by an average of 10 percent while improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin, researchers report.

However, this benefit applies only to dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids — the same antioxidant compounds found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are known to help lower blood pressure, according to the report in the July 18 online edition of Hypertension.

“It turns out that chocolate is not only a pleasurable food, but it fits in quite nicely with the other healthy recommendations,” said coauthor Jeffrey B. Blumberg, a professor of nutrition and a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “We found that three ounces of dark chocolate per day over several weeks reduced blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension and also seemed to provide a benefit on their insulin sensitivity,” he added.

In their study, Blumberg’s team had 10 men and 10 women eat 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day for 15 days. All of these people had high blood pressure and none were taking blood pressure medications.

First, the researchers had five of the men and five of the women eat dark chocolate while the others ate white chocolate, which contains no flavonoids. Then after another week of no chocolate, the groups “crossed over” and ate the other chocolate.

In the 15 days they were eating dark chocolate, individuals displayed an average 11.9 mm Hg drop in their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and a 8.5 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure (the lower number). However, there was no drop in blood pressure when they ate flavonoid-free white chocolate, the researchers found.

Given these results, Blumberg believes that dark chocolate can be good for you. “Dark chocolate can be included as part of a healthful diet in patients who have hypertension,” he said.

However, he cautioned that you can’t just add it on top of your diet. “It’s still a high-calorie food. You don’t want to have excess calories or put on weight if you have hypertension,” Blumberg said. “But as part of a healthful diet, it is something that you can enjoy and not feel you are violating the principles of a healthful diet.”

Blumberg thinks that being able to enjoy some chocolate can also make it easier to stay on a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

One expert sees this study as part of a body of evidence that shows that chocolate is good for us. “Dark chocolate may be health-promoting,” said Dr. David L. Katz, an associate clinical professor of public health and director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

Katz, who is doing his own research into the benefits of chocolate, noted that chocolate is rich in not only antioxidants, but also magnesium and fiber. “The predominant saturated fat in dark chocolate, stearic acid, does not raise cholesterol or harm blood vessels,” he added.

“Milk chocolate and white chocolate do not offer any known health benefits, and provide more calories, sugar, and potentially harmful oils than dark chocolate,” Katz said, but “dark chocolate may well prove to be health food.”

According to Katz, there are many unanswered questions about chocolate: What is the optimal dose of dark chocolate? How high does the cocoa content need to be to offer health benefits? Who in the population stands to benefit from eating dark chocolate? Are the benefits of liquid cocoa and solid chocolate the same? Can people eat chocolate without gaining weight?

“These answers, and others, will come in time,” Katz said. “For now, it’s clear that not all chocolate is created equal. But it’s delicious to think that indulgence and health may both reside beneath the same wrapper.”

Another expert is more cautious. Without more definitive data on whether chocolate promotes weight gain that might outweigh its benefits, Dr. Jeffrey Mechanick, the director of the Metabolic Support Service at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is hesitant to recommend it as a health food. “I would never tell a heart patient or a diabetic to eat more dark chocolate,” he said.

For patients who do not have these health problems, Mechanick is more lenient. “Having a treat every once in a while is fine,” he said. “My preference is that you have dark chocolate, because it’s looking like maybe dark chocolate may have some benefit. But there are no data to support that it’s truly beneficial. It’s still unproven that it’s beneficial and there could be risks involved.”

Mechanick also warned that the data about the benefits of dark chocolate should not mean replacing other high blood pressure therapy with chocolate. “Chocolate is not an alternative to traditional lifestyle changes or to taking medications to reduce risk of heart disease or to treat diabetes,” he said.

Sources: MSN Health and Fitness: HealthDay: Jeffrey B. Blumberg, Ph.D., professor of nutrition, senior scientist, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Mass.; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor of public health, director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Jeffrey Mechanick, M.D., director, Metabolic Support Service, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.; July 18, 2005, online edition Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Dark Chocolate May Be Magic Mantra To Beat Battle Of The Bulge

Dark chocolate gives more of a feeling of satiety than milk choco bars, say researchers, who suggest that the “plain chocolate” may be an efficient way to keep weight down.

Although the health benefits of eating dark chocolate are well known, the scientists at the Department of Human Nutrition at LIFE, University of Copenhagen, have found that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

To compare the effects of dark and milk chocolate on both appetite and subsequent calorie intake, 16 young and healthy men of normal weight who all liked both dark and milk chocolate took part in a so-called crossover experiment. This meant that they reported for two separate sessions, the first time testing the dark chocolate, and the second time the milk chocolate.

They had all fasted for 12 hours beforehand and were offered 100g of chocolate, which they consumed in the course of 15 minutes. The calorific content was virtually the same for the milk and dark chocolate.

During the following 5 hours, participants were asked to register their appetite every half hour, i.e. their hunger, satiety, craving for special foods and how they liked the chocolate.

Two and a half hours after eating the chocolate, participants were offered pizza ad lib. They were instructed to eat until they felt comfortably satiated. After the meal, the individuals’ calorie intake was registered.

The results were significant. The calorie intake at the subsequent meal where they could eat as much pizza as they liked was 15 per cent lower when they had eaten dark chocolate beforehand.
The participants also stated that the plain chocolate made them feel less like eating sweet, salty or fatty foods.

So apart from providing people with the healthier fatty acids and many antioxidants, dark chocolate can now also help us steer clear of all the sweet, salty and fattening Christmas foods, the researchers said. (ANI)

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Xocai-The Healthy Chocolate on NBC

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/video.

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Can Eating Chocolate Make You Smarter?

More International Studies, U of U Research

Now, let’s take a look at the newest international studies on cocoa while comparing and contrasting these interesting findings with the results obtained from a cardiovascular study performed at the University of Utah.

Professor David Kennedy is the director of Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Center at Northumbria University in England. He recently led a group of researchers in exploring the effects of cocoa on the human brain ability to perform mathematical equations. Professor Kennedy, co-author of the study, concluded from the study that consuming chocolate could benefit people when performing mentally challenging tasks.

―For things that are difficult to do, mentally demanding things that maybe crop up in your work, [consuming cocoa] could help,‖ Professor Kennedy said.

The researchers gave a flavanol-rich hot cocoa drink to 30 individuals, and then had them answer various mathematical questions. The cocoa used in the study contained 500 milligrams of flavanols—more than would normally be found in fruits and vegetables. Dark chocolate, as one of the three major sources of flavanols discussed above, contains higher quantities of flavanols than the highly processed chocolate we see in the candy aisle of the grocery store. Flavanols, as previously discussed, are part of a group of chemicals called polyphenols. They increase the level of cerebral blood flow, among many other health benefits.

After consuming the cocoa drink, the volunteers in this study were asked to count backwards in groups of three, beginning with a random number between 800 and 999 (generated by computer). The study showed that the subjects’ mathematical performance was clearly affected by the drink, and suggests that students who binge on chocolate while studying for exams may actually benefit from doing so—at least in terms of mental acuity. Subjects accomplished the calculations more quickly and more accurately than the control group.

The findings were presented at the British Psychological Society annual conference at Brighton, and also showed that subjects were inclined to feel less tired and less mentally drained after answering the questions.

In the interest of full disclosure, the study also found that the same test subjects did struggle with more complex mathematical tasks.

Professor Kennedy stated, ―The amount of flavanols given in the study is more than in the [normal] diet, but there is quite a lot of evidence that general amounts are protective against declining function. The more foods you eat that are high in polyphenols, the better it is for your brain in the long run.

Conclusion: High levels of flavanols found in chocolate can improve mental acuity when taken in the proper amounts.

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