Friday, September 6, 2013

How many cacao beans does it take to buy a turkey hen? Give up?

Frank and I spend a lot of time considering how we can do better in being healthy, whether it is spiritually, mentally and/or physically.  You have seen several blogs by Frank regarding his recovery after hip replacement surgery.  He will continue to keep you informed on different ways you can get through the difficulties of surgery and recovery.

For today, though, I will be talking about another thing that is good for the body....CHOCOLATE!!

You know it.  Chocolate actually has healthy properties.  So let's take a few minutes here and learn about chocolate and where it fits into the scheme of life.

Whether you like it hot and creamy with a hint of cinnamon and a dollop of whipped cream or soft and chewy in the form of a brownie, or a simple bar of 71% cacao, chocolate is a beloved food that dates back at least to 1400 BCE.  Cacao residue has been found in pottery that far back.

Cacao beans were used as currency.  A healthy turkey would go for 100 beans.  People once believed cacao beanns to be magical and even divine in properites.  They were often used in rituals including birth, marriage and death.

Once cacao beans were introduced to sweeteners, namely sugar, the world of chocolate exploded.  

There are three types of chocolate that are familiar to most of us.  One of them is white chocolate, which technically isn't really chocolate at all.  Rather it is a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk products, vanilla and lecithin.  Cocoa butter comes from chocolate liquor once the cacao beans are ground to a paste.  Yet we all recognize white chocolate as part of the chocolate family.

The second kind of chocolate is milk chocolate. Unlike white chocolate, milk chocolate does contain cocoa solids.  It also has either condensed milk or dry milk solids, along with sweetener.  Therefore it is much sweeter in taste.

And finally, the third kind of chocolate is dark chocolate.     Dark chocolate does not contain any milk products at all.  The amount of cocoa powder and sugar vary.  However, the higher the percentage of cacao the richer the chocolate flavor.  Often you will see cacao percentage ranging from 60 - 75.

It is dark chocolate that will give an individual the greatest health benefits.  See the following list of the things dark chocolate does for the health of your body:

1.  Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure.

2. Dark chocolae increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function.

3.  Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimparied to protect against Type 2 Diabetes.

4.  Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, which help free your body of free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells.

5.  Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which have been shown to harden tooth enamel.  

6.  Dark chocoalte contains a number of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. 

We would never suggest that chocolate is the answer to health problems.  Always consult with your doctor.  However, if you are looking for a nice, comforting snack that is good for your, consider a piece of dark chocolate. 

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