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Chocolate is arguably the world’s favorite sweet treat. Each year, an estimated 7.2 million metric tons of chocolate is consumed worldwide. But while confectionary chocolate has a bad reputation as sugary, addictive, and guilt-inducing – dark chocolate, with its higher cocoa content, is a true super food that you can feel good about eating.
The Food Of Gods…
Of the Theobroma genus, which literally translates to “god food” in Greek, the journey from seed to candy requires multiple steps to transform raw cocoa into delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
The cacao tree produces clusters of large ovoid fruit, nearly 12 inches in length. When
Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content. open, the cacao pod contains dozens of seeds surrounded by pulp. The seeds are extracted from the pod to be fermented, then dried, and finally roasted into cocoa beans. At this stage, the shells can be removed from the bean in order to isolate the meat, also known as cocoa nibs.
Cocoa nibs are essentially chocolate in its purest form. The next steps call for the cocoa nibs to be ground up into a liquid, called chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor is then processed again to separate the fatty portion from the liquid – what we know as cocoa butter – from the cocoa solids. The cocoa solids are then further refined through ‘conching’ to ensure the chocolate is silky smooth on the tongue, and ‘tempering’ to raise the melting point so that the finished chocolate is glossy and firm.
The health value of chocolate is determined at the blending stage:
Milk Chocolate typically contains anywhere from 10% to 50% cocoa solids, and is blended with sugar, cocoa butter, and some form of dairy.
White Chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids at all, made using only cocoa butter, sugar, and milk.
Dark Chocolate is the purest cocoa experience, containing between 70% to 100% cocoa solids. Depending on the percentage of cocoa, it may be blended with cocoa butter and sugar.
7 Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
1. Dark Chocolate Is Surprisingly Nutritious
While chocolate doesn’t exactly have the reputation for being a health food, the higher cocoa solids content of dark chocolate boosts its nutritional profile considerably:
Per 100 g % of DV
Calories 599 30%
Protein 7.8 g 16%
Fiber 10.9 g 44%
Vitamin A 39 IU 1%
Vitamin K 7.3 mcg 9%
Riboflavin 0.1 mg 5%
Niacin 1.1 mg 5%
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 2%
Pantothenic Acid 0.4 mg 4%
Calcium 73 mg 7%
Iron 11.9 mg 66%
Magnesium 228 mg 57%
Phosphorus 308 mg 31%
Potassium 715 mg 20%
Sodium 20 mg 1%
Zinc 3.3 mg 22%
Copper 1.8 mg 88%
Manganese 1.9 mg 97%
Selenium 6.8 mcg 10%
Although 70% to 85% dark chocolate is a good source of fiber, protein, and minerals, a 100 gram bar is still quite high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. For this reason, it is well advised to only consume dark chocolate in moderation.
2. Dark Chocolate Is An Excellent Source Of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is rich in several important antioxidants, including flavanols, polyphenols, catechins, and proanthocyanins.
When compared with other “super fruits”, dark chocolate was found to be a superior source of antioxidants according to a study published in Chemistry Central Journal. The researchers measured the total flavanol, polyphenol, and antioxidant activity of some of the most well known super foods, namely acai berries, blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranate. They found that not only was cocoa powder and dark chocolate higher in flavanols and polyphenols, but its oxygen radical absorbance capacity was significantly greater as well.
Believe it or not, the study’s authors concluded that dark chocolate absolutely meets the requirements of being considered a super fruit too.
3. Dark Chocolate Improves Blood Flow
Hypertension – or high blood pressure – is a long-term medical condition that is a major risk factor for the development of coronary disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease, and dementia.
But eating a small amount of dark chocolate each day can help improve blood pressure and blood flow, due to its heightened cocoa polyphenol content.
The randomized controlled trial published in JAMA involved 44 men and women with untreated prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension. Over the course of 18 weeks, participants consumed either 6.3 grams of dark chocolate or white chocolate each day. Compared with baseline, the dark chocolate group had improved blood circulation, as well as reduced mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The prevalence of hypertension declined from 86% to 68%. Eating small amounts of dark chocolate daily had no adverse effect on metabolics such as body weight, lipid levels in the blood, or glucose. Those who consumed white chocolate, on the other hand, experienced no changes in blood pressure.
4. Dark Chocolate Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. While it is necessary for building healthy cells, having consistently high levels of LDL cholesterol creates fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries, hardening and narrowing the vessels. Over time, LDL cholesterol builds up to the point where it impedes blood flow and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cocoa polyphenols, however, have been shown to improve lipid profiles in people with elevated cholesterol levels. The double-blind, placebo controlled study published in The Journal of Nutrition involved 160 participants who were given cocoa powder with either low, medium, or high levels of cocoa polyphenols twice per day for four weeks. Compared with baseline, consuming cocoa powder had the effect of decreasing LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels and increasing HDL (or good) cholesterol. The degree of improvement in these results were relative to the amount of cocoa polyphenols consumed; the higher the polyphenol content, the better the blood lipid profile.
5. Dark Chocolate Reduces The Risk Of Heart Disease
Since these, and other studies, revealed cocoa’s benefits for heart health in the short term, a group of scientists wondered how eating cocoa habitually over the course of many years would impact longevity.
The long term cohort study involved 470 elderly men who were free of chronic disease at the onset of the trial. One third of the participants did not consume cocoa at all, while the rest ate a median of 2.11 grams per day. Replicating the results of previous studies, researchers found that those who ate 4.2 grams of cocoa each day (the equivalent of 10 grams of dark chocolate) had consistently lower blood pressure than those who consumed less cocoa daily.
Following up after 15 years, they determined that eating cocoa-containing products was inversely associated with a 45% to 50% lower risk of cardiovascular death, as well as death from all causes. While reduced cardiovascular mortality could be attributed to cocoa’s blood pressure lowering effects, it is believed that its high antioxidant content may have also helped to prevent other illnesses like pulmonary disease and cancer.
6. Dark Chocolate Protects & Nourishes The Skin
Because pure cocoa is exceptionally rich in flavanol antioxidants, eating it offers a delectable way to protect the skin from the inside out.
The consumption of dark chocolate that is high in flavanols significantly protects the skin from UV light, according to a paper published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Split into two groups, the subjects were randomly assigned to consume either high flavanol dark chocolate (600 mg of flavanols per 20 gram portion) or low flavanol chocolate (30 mg of flavanols per 20 grams) once a day for 12 weeks. Compared with baseline, the high flavanol group more than doubled the amount of UVB ray exposure required to cause a sunburn. The low flavanol group, on the other hand, did not experience the same benefit, which indicates that it is the flavanols in cocoa that provide natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
In addition to its photo protective properties, high flavanol cocoa can help keep skin structures healthy. In a German study from 2006, consuming the equivalent of 326 mg per day increased blood flow in skin tissues, boosted skin hydration, lowered trans epidermal water loss, improved skin density and thickness, and made skin smoother and less rough and scaly after just 12 weeks.
7. Dark Chocolate Is Brain Food
Not only do flavanols in cocoa improve blood circulation throughout the body, they also have a beneficial effect on blood flow in the brain.
In healthy, young volunteers, consuming 150 mg of flavanol-rich chocolate for 5 days increased cerebral blood flow during cognitive tasks, according to a 2006 study. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity and cerebral blood flow, those who consumed flavanols had a significant increase in blood oxygenation in active brain regions, as well as improved blood flow and volume in key areas of the brain.
Since cocoa flavanols can help keep the brain healthy and working optimally, researchers next explored its impact on elderly people with mild cognitive impairments in a study published in Hypertension. Split into three groups, subjects consumed either high flavanol (990 mg), intermediate flavanol (520 mg) and low flavanol (45 mg) cocoa each day for 8 weeks. Eating cocoa resulted in significantly higher scores in verbal fluency tests, and faster time to completion for visual attention and cognitive task switching in both the high and intermediate flavanol groups.
How To Enjoy Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is an acquired taste, especially if you are used to the sweetness of milk chocolate candy bars. Because it does not contain dairy and has a higher percentage of cocoa, dark chocolate is notably deep, rich, savory, and bitter.
If you do not like the taste of dark chocolate, try placing a small piece in your mouth. Chewing it releases some of the bitterness, so let it melt on your tongue. Good quality dark chocolate will feel velvety, and as it melts, will release its complex flavors slowly to soften the astringency of the cocoa solids. You can also ease your way into a higher cocoa content by starting at 55% and working your way up to 70%.
Another way to enjoy dark chocolate is to pair it with complimentary foods. It is a delicious addition to cheese, nut, and fruit plates. It also helps balance out sweet wines and black coffee. If you need more sweetness, add a drop of honey, molasses, or balsamic vinegar on to each square. The tartness can also be masked by mixing it up into a smoothie, like this peanut butter banana blend.
Where To Buy Dark Chocolate
To ensure the dark chocolate you purchase is of the highest quality and enriched with antioxidants, only purchase brands with 70% or more cocoa solids. Cocoa solids should be listed first in the ingredient list; avoid bars that include dairy, vegetable oils, or artificial flavors. You’ll also want to steer clear of “dutched” or alkalized cocoa, a process that improves flavor but halves the phytonutrient content. And lastly, to ensure your chocolate bar isn’t produced with child labor, only support brands that are fair trade and organic.
Here are some recommended dark chocolate products that meet our nutritional and ethical requirements:
Alter Eco makes a 85% cocoa dark chocolate that contains just four ingredients: cocoa beans, cocoa butter, raw cane sugar, and vanilla beans.
Endangered Species is an 88% cocoa chocolate made with chocolate liquor, cane sugar, soy lecithin, and vanilla. For each bar sold, the company donates 10% of its profits to organizations that protect at-risk wildlife and habitats.
Heavenly Organics makes 100% cocoa dark chocolate patties that are sweetened with a raw honey filling – so you can get the best of both worlds.
Wild Foods offers a raw cocoa powder that can be used for smoothies and shakes.
Top 10 Medicinal Uses Of Mango Leaves – Did you know about mango leaves medicinal uses? We all know and love the fruits of this plant, but what do we know about the leaves? This herb has amazing qualities and benefits, and here we have 10 examples of them.
Mango leaves use in the modern world
Mango leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes The leaves of this unique plant contain anthocyanidins (these are a kind of tannins). This element is very effective in treatment of diabetes at early stages. To make the medicine from the leaves they should be dried and powdered. It is also used in treating diabetic retinopathy and diabetic angiopathy.
One of the most popular recipes is to soak mango leaves in the water for one night and drink this infusion to relieve the symptoms of diabetes. Mango leaves are also helpful in the treatment of hyperglycemia. Thanks to the beta-taraxerol compound and ethyl acetate extract the leaves help to activate the synthesis of glycogen and GLUT4.
Mango leaves help to reduce blood pressure Thanks to hypotensive properties the leaves of mango is very useful for reducing blood pressure. The leaves also helps to strengthen blood vessels and it can be beneficial for the treatment of varicose veins.
Mango leaves are widely used in the treatment of restlessness There are medical cases when anxiety leads a person to restlessness, in this situation mango leaves can become a great home remedy. A good recipe is to add two or three glasses of mango leaves decoction to bath water to get rid of uneasiness and refresh the body.
Use mango leaves to deal with gall and kidney stones People use mango leaves in the form of ground powder to treat gallstones and kidney stones. This herb helps in the process of breaking and flushing out the stones.
Mango leaves and respiratory problems The next example of mango leaves medicinal uses: this herb can be used for treatment of almost all kinds of respiratory problems. If a person suffers from bronchitis, colds or asthma the products from decoction of mango leaves mixed with a little honey can be a great for curing cough or even voice loss. See also: How I got my diabetes completely cured with natural remedies.
Dysentery curing effect of mango leaves This is the next example of mango leaves uses. The verb is widely used in the treatment of bleeding dysentery. Pondered leaves should be taken with water, and it will help to stop dysentery.
Uses of mango leaves in curing earaches Mango leaves can become an effective home remedy against such a problem. The extract of mango leaves is used as eardrops to help with earache. But if you want to try this remedy, remember that the extract should be slightly heated before use.
Use mango leaves to heal the burns Another one among mango leaves benefits is the ability of this herb to heal scalds and burns. To use the leaves for such propose one should burn the leaves to ashes, and apply the ash on the affected areas of the skin.
Treatment of throat problems and hiccups Mango leaf is a known remedy for the treatment of such problems. The smoke of burned mango leaves is used in the healing of throat problems and hiccups.
Mango leaves as a stomach tonic To prepare the remedy you just need to infuse mango leaves for one night and drink the filtered infusion on an empty stomach. If you take this remedy regularly it acts as a stomach tonic and helps to deal with stomach ailments.
The leaves of mango are available at any season of the year, so people widely use them as home remedy. Because of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, the herb is effective in the treatment of various ailments.
Scientists continue to explore the properties of this amazing plant, modern research methods discover new surprising characteristics. New data helps to expand the range of application of this plant. Nowadays, medicines made from plants are more popular than chemical products, that is why the value of such plants as mango increases.
Here is our list of mango leaves benefits and uses, as you see the plant is very useful in the treatment and prevention of many diseases.
Effects Of Palm Wine On Male And Female Fertility – Palm wine is the main brand of traditional wine in some countries including Nigeria, Ghana and many other countries of the African continent and around the world. Palm wine has many beneficial features being often used not just as a drink but for many different purposes. But what is the connection between palm wine and fertility? Read our post to find out the answer.
Palm wine is also called “Mmanya”, “Emu”, “Bammi”, “Mmin-efik”, and Mmin-ukot”, “Matango,” “Fitchuk”, “Nsafufuo”, “Doka”, “Tuba”, “Toddy”, “Lambong” in various tribes and countries. Palm wine can be gotten from the Raphia palm trees or oil palm trees Elaeis guineensis.
This beverage is often consumed at social events and in homes as a traditional drink. Palm wine is helpful in infertility treatment. It is also widely used for industrial purposes, for example, as yeast for baking, and alcohol for the portable ethanol production. The yeast contained in the palm wine is claimed to promote lactation and improve eyesight.
You might be wondering about the taste of the palm wine. There actually exist a lot of kinds of palm trees, but wine made of the sap (natural juice) tastes almost the same, like a mixture of pineapple and lemon.
The studies show that fermented palm wine increases reproductive parameters in male albino rats. However, this information is considered insufficient.
The health benefits of palm wine
The controversy lies in the dual structure of palm wine. On the one hand, this beverage has a biological positive impact on health containing many nutritious ingredients and mineral elements such as carbohydrate, crude protein, lipid, crude fiber, ash, calories, moisture, Vitamins A and C, iron (Fe 2+), copper (Cu 2+), magnesium (Mg 2+), calcium (Ca 2+), and zinc (Zn 2+). On the other hand, palm wine is still an alcoholic drink (2%–8%), and many biological disorders may be caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals included alcohol.
While the benefits of alcohol-containing products are still being debated, some useful functions have been noticed to make changes in cells of the liver, kidney brain, and even reproductive structures.
Palm wine and male fertility
Palm wine is known to be a popular alcoholic drink in many African countries. This alcohol beverage is indicated to influence male reproductive function. Palm wine has been reported to decrease testosterone levels but without a significant change in the morphology.
An experiment was conducted to determine the connection between palm wine and fertility with the use of experimental animals, namely, adult rats which were allocated into two groups. The duration of the experiment was 3 weeks. The group A was given a rat chow and water. Group B animals were subjected to an 0ral treatment of palm wine for 21 days. The doses were calculated on the base of the body weight of the animal.
After the experiment was finished, the histological analysis was made. The rats’ tissue samples passed through examination. The results of the experiment on the influence of palm wine on reproduction and fertility showed that there was a significant change in the tissues. When the samples from the two groups were compared, the sort of gradual distortion was observed in the group B. In the control group, there were no changes in the tissue samples.
While the cells normally follow an orderly pattern of arrangement, in the samples of the group B these cells were distorted which caused changes in the tissue structure. These changes may cause a dysfunction of the seminiferous tubules which are the major building blocks of the primary male organs. These results might explain a significant decrease in testosterone level in male rats.
Also, palm wine intake is closely connected with weight gain. The findings of investigation have been quite contradictory. This study didn’t show any clear association between the intake of the palm wine and weight gain.
Palm wine and female fertility
Similarly to men’s health, excessive consumption of palm wine has a negative effect on women’s health. It may cause damage of liver accumulating fat in the liver. Also, palm-wine is known to decrease blood clotting factor which is very dangerous as it can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. There are no proven facts of negative or positive benefits of palm wine to female fertility. While palm wine may bring some benefits to health, however, its excessive consumption can be harmful to both men and women.
Something tells us that you are not aware of all the benefits of carrot oil for your hair and skin, and we are here to remedy that. Check out this article if you want to learn how you can use this oil to improve the health of your skin and hair in a very short time. You will definitely be satisfied with the results.
Overall, carrot oil is beneficial for the whole body. It can help you refresh your immune system, improve your kidneys and liver, aid against rheumatism and arthritis and do many more amazing things. However, it is mostly known for its positive effects on hair and skin. So let’s talk about carrot oil benefits you can enjoy today.
Carrot oil benefits for skin
Thanks to all the vitamins contained in carrot oil, it is great for the skin. In fact, lots of skincare products use it as one of the main ingredients. However, you do not necessarily need to buy some costly creams and masks to enjoy the benefits of carrot oil for skin.
And what exactly are those benefits? Well, for starters, carrot oil has amazing anti-ageing properties. By gently massaging just a teaspoon of oil to your face before sleep, you can smooth out your wrinkles and make your skin youthful and supple. You can even make your own potent anti-aging serum by mixing 6 drops of carrot seed oil, 4 drops of clary sage oil and 2 tbsp. of macadamia nut oil. Apply it before sleep and forget about the wrinkles!
Apart from making your skin look and feel younger, carrot oil also helps to balance it out. So whether you have very dry or extremely oily skin, you can use the oil to improve the state of your skin. It is also great for bringing life to the skin, so try it out if your skin has been looking grey and dull.
Another great carrot oil benefit is that it can be used to lighten the skin. Now, do not expect any dramatic results, especially right away, but after some time of using carrot oil for skin lightening, your skin will become a few shades lighter. Moreover, you can use this oil to deal with dark spots and discolorations.
If you suffer from acne, carrot oil should become your best friend. It can moisturise your skin without clogging the pores, which is exactly what you need. In order to deal with acne, clean and dry your face, and then apply carrot oil with a cotton swab to each problem area. Let it dry and go to sleep. Overnight, the oil will work its magic, and you will be able to see the first results in the morning.
We all know that UV rays from the sun are damaging for our skin, but not all of us actually do much about this. If you are one of the people who always forget to apply sunscreen before going out, carrot oil can help you deal with the damage from the sun. Just mix five drops of it with a quarter of a cup of aloe vera gel and apply to the damaged skin. You will feel instant relief, and your skin will be able to recuperate.
We cannot imagine how many more benefits of carrot oil for your skin you might want, so let’s move on to the hair.
Carrot oil benefits for hair
Thanks to the vitamins A and E, carrot oil is perfect for hair care. It can save even the most hopeless frizzed hair, which is why you should definitely pick it up on your next trip to the store. So if you need to moisturise and soften your hair, carrot oil is what you need.
Apart from making your hair all nice and silky, carrot oil also promotes hair growth. It improves blood circulation in the head, thus helping the hair follicles work better. If you add carrot oil to your (homemade) hair products, you will notice your hair will grow faster and fuller than before.
In addition to that, carrot oil on hair can protect it from falling out, as well as harmful environmental factors. It makes your hair stronger at the roots, thus preventing hair loss. It also shields the hair from the UV rays we have mentioned before, and from environmental pollution.
If you suffer from dandruff, you can use carrot oil to help you out. So if your scalp is drier than the Sahara Desert, apply some carrot oil to it and your scalp will soon be able to produce its own oils and stay moisturised.
And if you are afraid of your hair turning orange because of carrot oil treatment, do not be. While it does have a lightening effect for the skin, it will not do anything to your hair colour. It will only improve the quality of your hair. However, if you overindulge in it, your scalp might turn sligthly orange, so use the oil in moderation.
As with many other beauty products, it is best if you try carrot oil on a small patch of skin (or hair, depending on what you are going for) before going all in. It is not very likely, but you might experience an allergic reaction to it. So if you want to avoid the unpleasantness of allergies, try it out beforehand by leaving it on the skin for at least 24 hours. If all is well, you may proceed. If not, contact your doctor.
As you can see, using carrot oil for skin and hair is very beneficial. It can help you look and feel better than ever before. So go out to your nearest store and get some of that carrot oil for yourself. Your hair and skin will thank you for that!