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June 28, 2013 @ 12:04 PM
Great Article AND Delicious Recipe from Cindy Kreuger on Preservion.com

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice

Studies reporting the health benefits of chocolate are music to my ears. There is growing scientific evidence that antioxidant flavonoids in dark chocolate are the medicinal compounds that may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other chronic conditions when consumed in moderation; roughly one to two ounces per day.

Chocolate comes from beans of the cacao tree. The scientific name, Theobroma, comes from the Greek word for “food of the gods”, in my opinion appropriately named.

Not all chocolate is equal. The darkest chocolates, those that contain between 72-99% cocoa contain the highest flavonoid content. Flavonoid compounds belong to the antioxidant-rich polyphenol family, known as phytochemicals.; also found in fruits, vegetables, and plants.

These compounds prevent clumping of blood platelets that can cause blood clots. They also decrease chronic inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.

A study conducted in Italy reported that those who ate dark chocolate regularly experienced an average of 17 percent reduction in C-reactive protein decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by one-third in women and one-fourth in men. Chocolate also contains arginine, an amino acid required in the production of nitric oxide which helps regulate blood flow, inflammation and blood pressure. This is great news!

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that in terms of healthy antioxidant content, cocoa powder is followed by:

  • Unsweetened baking chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Milk chocolate

Forget about white chocolate; flavonoids are removed by processing. Milk chocolate contains milk, and proteins in the milk bind with the antioxidants, making them more difficult to be absorbed. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar content than milk chocolate making it bitter and less palatable to many, but the health benefits are hard to beat.

Organic dark chocolate is the best but my favorite is any kind of chocolate from Belgium. Trader Joe’s carries a 72% dark chocolate that is delicious and makes recipes enviable. Whether eating it raw or using it for baking, dark chocolate is a delight. I started using Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate to make my Krueger Haystack’s (see recipe below). They are a hit everywhere. Try them and let me know what you think.

Consider enjoying a bit of this rich powerful delight daily and reap the benefits for a lifetime.

Stay well.

Krueger’s Homemade Haystacks

1 large bar (17.6 oz) Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% dark chocolate (Use your favorite dark chocolate as a substitute)

1-1/2 C pecans from Costco. They contain ONLY pecans.

1-1/2 C walnuts from Costco. They contain ONLY walnuts

1 to 2 C – 100% organic fine-shredded Coconut unsweetened (Let’s do Organic brand -a green and white bag)

Melt the chocolate. I use my heat lamps under the stove but you can use a double boiler or convection oven for a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Chop the nuts and add them to the melted chocolate along with the shredded coconut. You can add more nuts or shredded coconut depending how much you like them.

Use a tablespoon to make little stacks on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little extra coconut on the top while the chocolate is still warm. Refrigerate until they become hard (if you can wait that long)!!

Enjoy!
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Friday, June 28, 2013 2:11 PM
Doc Pearson always has valuable information. I know that helping others is innate in his being. He is my doc and I trust him. I encourage everyone to get a consultation with him. He not only has the medical background, he is a biochemist and an integrative alternative professional. You get a lot of knowledge and expertise having him as your doctor.

I love the healing properties of chocolate. I use raw cacao often which is the purest form.

you can check out my recipe: "Tina’s Raw Coconut Nutty Energy Balls" on my website: www.TinaSacchi.com

Enjoy and here's to Excellent health!
Dr Edward W Pearson MD ABIHM
Monday, July 01, 2013 10:34 AM
Thanks Tina, we appreciate working with you, your trust and compliments.

Go chocolate :)
Denise
Sunday, September 08, 2013 4:37 PM
I disagree with this article, unless the quantity of cacao, not chocolate, is limited. Sugar or other sweeteners need to be added to make cacao palatable; cacao contains caffeine and is addictive. The term "food of the gods" wasn't given until 1753 by a Swedish Botanist. What was cacao used for by the cultures thousands of years ago? I suspect it was for medicinal purposes, which in that case would be limited. There are many other foods that can be eaten to get similar health benefits without the sugar and caffeine.
Dr Edward W Pearson MD ABIHM
Monday, September 09, 2013 10:44 AM
Thank you for your comment. While we agree the sugar content does vary, and why we prefer more pure preparations of dark chocolate, NMF chooses to practice sound, but manageable lifestyle guidance for the majority. Chocolate does have many very healthy properties, as do other foods that must be chosen carefully and moderated. As in a vegan lifestyle that is much more alkaline but that the majority simply won't follow, and we don't even believe is necessarily the healthiest nutiritionaly, people like and enjoy chocolate, coffee, and other foods that can be health hazards if abused, but relatively healthy if chosen carefully and moderated, which adds fun to the diet that most people simply won't do without, and that can be managed if following an healthy lifestyle.
Denise
Monday, September 09, 2013 12:30 PM
Thank you for your reply. Your words "chosen carefully and moderated" are key, and I didn't read them in the article.

Of most concern is the genetically modified sugar that could be present in chocolate. Also this little bit of info from Body Ecology:

A team in Switzerland studied two groups of men, those who crave chocolate daily and those who consider themselves indifferent to it. They found that "people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's allure."

Researchers are not sure if chocolate consumption alters the bacteria content of the intestines or if the bacteria changes, thus triggering the cravings.

Borenstein, Seth, "Scientists Explain Chocolate Cravings," WashingtonPost.com, 12 Oct 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101200019.html

Denise
Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:16 AM
I have with me a native from Columbia, South America, who vividly remembers her childhood without electricity. We were discussing foods and this is what I learned about cacao. The cocoa beans (also cacao bean) are dried in the sun. Then they are toasted a bit over a fire. Then they are ground. A LITTLE BIT of this powder is added to RAW milk, UNSWEETENED, to drink, and it is very good. They have this only in the morning.

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