Sunday, 21 November 2010

Xocolatl Chocolate and the American Indian

This morning I was reading this article on the Net. While those of us who have worked with central american indians for a while know about chocolate and health, I am glad to see it is catching on the Non Indian World..
I remember the Cuna Indians whom I visited many times and I was amazed at the fact that none of them had any levels of Blood pressure near the well accepted 130/80... I measured hundreds of Cuna for BP and Blood Sugar and sure enough Diabetes also was very rare.
Many theories were put forward by the epidemiologists who look at numbers and not at societies and they came up with Potassium, Sea Food etc as the cause of such healthy BP numbers.It must have been an anthropologist who had noticed the fact that the Cuna drank ground up cocoa powder made into a drink many times during the day. Studying the ingredients in that drink.. started up this story of their benefits..
Yet another contribution to the Western Civilization by the Native Indians..
Chocolate as we are familiar with in the west, was the product of chemical imagination of a swiss, who learned to solidify it and make it into tablet forms. In the ancient Maya ceremonies depicted in pictographs you would see them drinking chocolate and not eating it..The bad press for Chocolate arrived when they started calling everything with a whiff of chocolate in it Chocolate, such as Hersheys Bar and other "candy" in the USA which has only about 10 per cent chocolate in them.
Eat Dark Chocolate and make sure that it has at least 70% Cacao..
By Sara Novak, Planet Green

Once in a blue moon, I'll hear some positive news on the healthy eating front and dark chocolate has time and time again come out on top. This along with the antioxidants in wine is enough to make you jump for joy. We know that this delectable sweet treat provides a wealth of health benefits, but how much is too much?

Recently, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of YOU: On a Diet, answered some important questions on the specifics of dark chocolate consumption. According to the article in the Sun Setinel, you don't need a whole bar to get a healthy dose of antioxidants. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are so powerful that a daily piece the size of a Hershey's kiss can lower your blood pressure.

While this is an ideal size comparison, it's not a good quality comparison because the chocolate cannot be milk chocolate. The chocolate should be fair trade, organic, and at least 70 percent cocoa. Avoid any filling like peanut butter, which could be laced with hydrogenated oils.

Dark chocolate and heart disease

According to a study published in the European Heart Journal and reported on CBS News, German researchers found people who had an average of six grams of chocolate per day (one square of a chocolate bar) had a 39 percent lower risk of either a heart attack or stroke.

Dark chocolate and stroke protection

I wrote about another study published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. This new study found that dark chocolate can provide protection after a stroke has already occurred.

A specific chemical found in dark chocolate called epicatechin appears to do the trick. We already know that it can prevent strokes from happening and now we know that it can provide protection against stroke damage.