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Publish: March 10, 16

Chocolate: a life prescription

Colombian chemist food, Hector Hugo Olarte, head of Special Projects Research at CasaLuker Company, describes both sides of scientific results of enjoying the “food of the gods”.

Mayans and Aztecs were clever, no doubt. For many reasons… Chocolate is one of them. They were aware of its various attributes, so it played a special role in royal, religious, economic and scientific events. Theobroma cacao, scientific name given to chocolate by botanist Carl Linnaeus (1753), -from Greek theos (god) and broma (food),”food of the gods,” – was both magical and divine.

Why have we craved chocolate so much through history? Why it’s bad reputation in modern years? Why has it become recently the darling of nutritionists? What about the miracle believe today? Long story that can be shrunken in does and don´ts, myths and facts, and a list of five of the most important ingredients found in chocolate. So take notes and begin to bake a better way to treat your dinner guests. You are not only responsible for their joy. Don’t forget to also sprinkle well being in each and every ounce and milligram of your cuisine. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder can become one of your finest secret included in your special sweet and salty recipes.

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Does and don’ts

Don’t assume chocolate is only for dessert. Do use cocoa, in any of its presentations, for entrees, beverages, snacks, cocktails, and main dishes.

Don’t consume large amounts of chocolate. Do daily consumption in an adequate amount of dark chocolate to receive all of its benefits.

Don’t provide chocolate with high levels of sugar and milk. Do use dark chocolate, with at least 60 to 70 percent of cocoa content, such as the Luker 1906 Tumaco 85%. Regular chocolate bars include other saturated fat, responsible for cocoa’s bad though unearned reputation.

Don’t forget to learn more about chocolate, mainly Cacao Fino Aroma. Do document your creative work and become a magical experience for your invitees. With Cacao Fino Aroma you are adding aromatic characteristics that make your chocolate different, special. In the world there is only between 7 and 8 percent of Cacao Fino Aroma, of which 76 percent is produced in Latin America. Why? “Because God wanted, says Colombian chemist food, Héctor Hugo Olarte, head of Special Projects Research at CasaLuker Company. He gave us a floor, a climate, special genetic conditions and a way of making the post-harvest.”

Don’t give up on chocolate. Do become a regular moderated “chocoholic,” such as Moctezuma, who called cocoa a “divine drink, which builds up resistance.”

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Myths vs. facts

Myths

Weight gain:

Obviously, high ingestion of fudge may cause you weight problems. Though, recent researchers, such as Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D from University of San Diego, have reported in Archives of Internal Medicine that “adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who consumed chocolate less often.” It was not the amount, rather how often: regular common sense eaters tended to be leaner, researchers say. Furthermore, that common sense comes also to protect premature babies and pregnant women, “who strongly benefit from the correct amount of cocoa consumption,” Olarte explains.

Acne:

It’s a popular believe, though has no scientific support. An extensive review in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “diet plays no role in acne treatment in most patients.” Chocolate itself has a low glycemic index. It is the high glycemic nature of certain foods, sugar, corn syrup, and other simple carbohydrates, that cause acne.

Raise of bad cholesterol:

Cocoa and its components (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) are not recognized as a source of Trans fats in the diet. Cocoa butter is high in saturated fat, but much of the fat comes from stearic acid, which doesn’t act like saturated fat. It doesn’t raise bad cholesterol; it can even lower it.

High in caffeine:

For the record, cocoa contains small amounts of caffeine. Compared with coffee, it is a poor caffeine source. The Chocolate Information Center asserts that a 50 gram piece of dark chocolate will yield between 10 to 60 milligrams of caffeine, and a 5 ounce cup of coffee, 180 milligrams. The cocoa bean contains around 0.2 percent caffeine. Dry tea leaves have approximately 3 percent caffeine, and dry coffee beans about 1.2 percent caffeine.

Tooth decay and cavities:

Have you seen cocoa bean husk (CBH) in your toothpaste? Well, it may soon be possible. Researchers from Osaka University tested on rats their theory of CBH impeding mouth bacteria and tooth decay. Scientist Takashi Ooshima said to New Scientist magazine that their findings could end in mouthwash and toothpaste with CBH extract.

Facts

Gift of love and happiness:

Cocoa boosts a sense of well being by increasing brain levels of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Giovanni Giacomo Casanova reputedly consumed cocoa before he flirted with a woman. Millions of people self medicate with chocolate every day. When it arrived to France in the 17 century, it was used “to fight against fits of anger and bad moods.” Today CasaLuker talks about and recommends ´Chocolate for love´. “It is in our last 8 years of research, says Olarte, from CasaLuker. We started to investigate why in Valentine’s Day people give chocolate. Tradition? Not necessarily. Our conclusion is that chocolate has phenylethylamine, a substance that is part of the metabolic reactions occurred when you are in love, enjoying life, experiencing special moments”.

Digestive health:

“One hundred grams of dark chocolate Luker 1906 Tumaco 65% contain the same amount of fiber as two tablespoons of oat,” says Olarte. That is why cocoa prevents constipation, polyps and colon cancer.

Nervous system:

Theobromine, highly present in cocoa, is a central nervous system stimulant. The phenylethylamine occurs in chocolate in small quantities, stimulates the nervous system and triggers the release of pleasurable opium-like compounds known as endorphins, which reduce the chocolate-eater’s sensitivity to pain.

Immune system, antioxidant, anti-aging:

Antioxidants are part of your defense system against free radicals, which cause damage by reacting with cell membranes, proteins, etc. A review of chocolate’s properties in “Chemistry Central Journal,” reported that chocolate is one of the most concentrated sources of dietary antioxidants known. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as strong as red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea and four to five times stronger than black tea. Furthermore, some cocoa compounds, flavonols, prevent Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) from destroying cells and causing premature aging and disease.

Cocoa and cardiovascular system:

The polyphenols in cocoa help to reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the bad cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL is considered a major factor in the promotion of coronary disease, heart attacks and strokes. Also, polyphenols inhibit blood platelets from generating aggregation, which leads to atherosclerosis.

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Sacred ingredients

Minerals are known as the spark plugs of life, keystones to your health. And cocoa has in its components several minerals that act as catalysts that keep your ´battery´ going. Minerals compose about 4 percent of the human body and you cannot produce them within your bodies. You must obtain them through your food. From your daily healthy chocolate dose, that includes, among others:

Calcium:

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. Gives bones strength and density. Colombian southern cocoa from Nariño, has the highest content of calcium compared with other from Latin America and other regions: 241 mg/100g vs. 181 mg/100g from Venezuelan cocoa or 120 mg/100g from African cocoa.

Magnesium:

It is an essential mineral for staying healthy. It acts on transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Keeps osteoporosis at bay, reliefs from symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and minimizes the risk of premature labor.

Zinc:

Research conducted at the University of Toronto revealed that it has a crucial role in regulating how neurons communicate with one another, affecting memory and learning process. It helps to control and regulate immune responses, attacking infected or cancerous cells. It is also possibly effective for the treatment of acne, osteoporosis and pneumonia.

Copper and potassium:

Copper is integral for building strong tissue, maintaining blood volume, producing energy in your cells, preventing premature aging, regulating heart rhythm, balancing thyroid glands, reducing symptoms of arthritis, quick wound healing, and reducing cholesterol. Potassium helps conduct electricity throughout your body and is one of the main minerals responsible for muscle contraction, and heart contraction. It plays a key role in the acid-base blood balance, and it assists in carbohydrate metabolism, fluid balance and muscle growth.

Iron:

It is essential for the proper growth and development of the human body. It helps metabolize proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. It helps in the eradication of different causes of fatigue, in strengthening the immune system, building concentration, treating insomnia, and regulating body temperature. Cacao from Nariño has 34 mg/100g vs. 29 mg/100g from Venezuelan cacao and 28 mg/100g from Ecuadorian cacao.

Cocoa, a long lasting recipe for you with healthy ingredients all together. It is good for your heart. It is good for your brain. Some even say that it is good for your soul. With a pinch of luck and a splash of imagination you will sure have daily handful of good tasting experiences. Spread it out.

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