How Is Dark Chocolate Made
Making dark chocolate is quite a lengthy process. Cacao beans are picked from the cacao tree when ripe, then cleaned and left to ferment for around two to nine days, using the naturally present yeasts or with a yeast-based starter, depending on the manufacturer. The beans are then covered by banana leaves or put in wooden sweating boxes to develop their flavour. The temperature, humidity and aeration will all add to the flavour.
After fermentation, the beans are dried and roasted, much like coffee, allowing them to darken in colour to a rich, dark brown and develop additional flavour and aroma.
The roasted beans are then winnowed, which is a process that removes the beans outer shell, or hull, and leaves behind the inner bean, or nibs. These nibs are then ground or milled at high pressure to produce cocoa mass also known as chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.
The cocoa mass and cocoa butter are then mixed together with sugar to produce a paste that then goes through a process known as conching. This is a careful process of rolling, kneading, heating and aerating the mixture under heat until it becomes smooth and creamy. The longer the mixture conched, the smoother the chocolate will be some high-quality brands may do this for several days.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL.
In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.
In fact, several long-term observational studies show a fairly drastic improvement.
In a study of 470 older men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years .
Another study revealed that eating chocolate two or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect .
Yet another study showed that eating dark chocolate more than five times per week lowered the risk of heart disease by 57% .
A 2017 clinical trial found that subjects who consumed almonds with or without dark chocolate showed improved LDL cholesterol levels .
Of course, these four studies are observational, so its unclear exactly if it was the chocolate that reduced the risk.
However, since the biological process is known , its plausible that regularly eating dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume the most chocolate.
Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss
If youve got extra pounds to lose, theres a good chance your body is inflamed. And this inflammation must be addressed to successfully lose weight and keep it off. Therefore, when consumed responsiblywhich Ill get into in a bitchocolate can actually help reduce inflammation and aid your weight loss efforts. In addition, while chocolate is often thought of as a splurge, studies have found no link between weight gain and cocoa or dark chocolate consumption in small amounts.
Further, participants in this study that consumed dark chocolate experienced higher satiety and less cravings for sweet foods than those that consumed milk chocolate . The dark chocolate group also consumed less food during their next meal. So…we;can all have our cake, I mean chocolate, and eat it too! But, the key word is moderation. Too much chocolate as well as the wrong type of chocolate can be a bad thing.
Beffects Of Food Processing On Flavonoids
The caveat of consuming chocolate for its health benefits is the requirement that the chocolate or cocoa contains an effective dose of the active components. Flavonoid content varies by the proportion of cocoa liquor present in different types of chocolate , but even within categories there may be significant variation due to differences in cocoa bean processing . For example, cocoa liquor that has undergone more fermentation has higher concentrations of flavonoids . The extent to which cocoa beans are roasted also has a substantial impact on the antioxidant capacity of the cocoa’s phenolic compounds; longer roasting time is associated with reduced antioxidant activity . However, radical-scavenging Maillard reaction products such as melanoidins are also produced during roasting, partially replacing the lost antioxidant activity of cocoa polyphenols .
Variation in antioxidant capacity can also be seen in cocoa powder . Cocoa powder is often treated with alkali to neutralize the natural acetic acid in cocoa in a process called Dutching. This process substantially reduces the flavanol content of the cocoa. In one study of commercially available cocoa powders, the flavanol content of heavily alkalized cocoas was 78.5% lower than that of natural cocoas . With the exception of products that have undergone Dutching, most cocoa and chocolate products will contain amounts of polyphenols that are reflective of the proportion of nonfat cocoa solids present .
How Much To Eat
Although chocolate can be a great addition to a healthy diet, its important to keep in mind that each serving packs in a high amount of dark chocolate calories.
To avoid overindulging, its best to eat a little piece by itself after a solid meal or include it in a recipe. Start with around one ounce per day to keep your calorie consumption under control.
Be sure to also make other adjustments to your diet as needed to account for extra calories if youre enjoying dark chocolate on a weight loss diet.
If you have any dietary restrictions, its also best to moderate your chocolate intake. While you can enjoy dark chocolate on a keto diet, for example, its best to select varieties with a higher dark chocolate percentage and stick to smaller servings to minimize your carb intake.
Selecting products with at least 70 percent cocoa can also help ensure that you get the best dark chocolate possible.
Additionally, if youre sensitive to caffeine or looking to avoid caffeine entirely, its important to know that there are measurable amounts of caffeine in chocolate. Caffeine overdose side effects can include nervousness, increased urination, sleeplessness and a rapid heartbeat.
For reference, one ounce of chocolate contains around 12 milligrams of caffeine. While this is significantly less than a cup of coffee or an energy drink, its still something to be mindful of when picking your portion size if youre sensitive to caffeine.
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What Are Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Symptoms of Parkinsons usually differ from one person to the next, as not everyone will experience all symptoms or the same severity of symptoms.
Early symptoms of Parkinsons are often subtle, come on gradually, and are mistaken for normal aging. Symptoms usually begin on one side of the body before progressing to both sides, though symptoms may be more severe on the side affected first.
Chocolates Are Rich In Antioxidants
Free oxygen radicals are bad news for your body. Too many free radicals can cause oxidative stress to your body. It can damage DNA, proteins, and other cells.
They are also linked with cancer, diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and tumors.
Antioxidants have the ability to bind these harmful free radicals.
The more antioxidant activity a food has, the more beneficial it is. The good news is that cocoa is rich with compounds that have high antioxidant activity.
Flavanols, catechins, and polyphenols are some compounds that are found in cocoa and have antioxidant properties.
Some studies even suggest that the antioxidant activity of cocoa might be greater than green tea and some berries.
Coffee And Tea Are Good For Your Brain In Different Ways
Caffeine in coffee has a number of positive effects on the brain, including increased alertness. Caffeine keeps your brain alert by blocking adenosine, a chemical messenger that makes you sleepy. Caffeine may also boost some of your feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.
One study found that when participants drank one large coffee in the morning or smaller amounts throughout the day, they were more effective at tasks that required concentration. Drinking coffee over the long term is also linked to a reduced risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers. This could be partly due to coffees high concentration of antioxidants. So a shot in the morning is a good thing.
As is the case with coffee, the caffeine in many teas including black, oolong and green tea boosts brain function. Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves so it is one of the less processed types of tea. Green tea in particular has been found to improve alertness, performance, memory and focus. Even if you make a small lifestyle change this will help lower the risk of stroke when added to your diet.
But green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage. One of the active compounds is L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed.
Foods Containing Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
Some studies suggest that dietary fat intake may increase the risk of Parkinsons.
Although having a higher intake of cholesterol can elevate a persons Parkinsons risk, having a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk.
Therefore, a person with Parkinsons may wish to reduce their intake of cholesterol to help control the symptoms of the condition. They may also wish to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet.
However, further studies are required to explore the link between dietary fat and Parkinsons.
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What Are Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Medications and deep brain stimulation are the most common treatments for Parkinsons due to the way they can significantly reduce symptoms. Medications can be used to increase dopamine levels in the brain and to reduce other symptoms.
Medications commonly used to treat Parkinsons include:
- Carbidopa-levodopa, which converts to dopamine in the brain to improve movement, motor control, and mood. This medication may be taken orally or can be inhaled or infused.
- Dopamine agonists mimic dopamine’s effects in the brain.
- MAO B inhibitors inhibit a brain enzyme called monoamine oxidase B that metabolizes dopamine.
- Catechol O-methyltransferase inhibitors block an enzyme that metabolizes dopamine.
- Anticholinergics , which reduce tremors.
- Amantadine, which reduces symptoms of mild, early-stage Parkinsons disease.
Many of these medications may cause side effects, including nausea, hallucinations, confusion, insomnia, compulsive behaviors, constipation, and diarrhea. Talk to your doctor if these side effects are severe to the point that the benefits do not outweigh the risks of staying on the medication.
Deep brain stimulation involves having electrodes implanted into the brain that send electrical pulses, which dampen Parkinsons symptoms and reduce involuntary movements, tremors, and rigidity. This treatment is usually recommended for advanced-stage Parkinsons who do not respond to medications, including levodopa.
What Elements Are Good For The Brain And Mental Health
The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for a majority of our bodily function. We are prone to thinking mental health is solely about our feelings but there are dietary factors that impact physiological changes to improve how we feel.;
Exposure to unknown levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate pre existing chemical damage to the nervous system. But CEA paves the way for safer pesticide free food that can boost the nervous system and reduce depression.
About 60% of the brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is Omega 3. Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that we need from food because the body cannot synthesize them. The body uses ALA and Omega-6 fatty acids to make DHA fatty acids in the brain, essential for the brain to function properly. Your brain uses Omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. Gray matter contains most of these nerve cells involved in control of decision making, memory and emotions. Omega 3; has additional benefits for your brain and may slow age-related mental decline and lower the risk of developing Alzheimers. On the flip side, not getting enough Omega-3 is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression.
Iron: Iron deficiency is often characterized by brain fog and impaired brain function.;
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Why Is Dark Chocolate Good For Your Heart
With so many studies indicating the heart-healthy nature of dark chocolate, researchers have begun to identify the key reasons dark chocolate specifically benefits the heart. In particular, research has shown that dark chocolate:
- Contains polyphenol compounds called procyanidins that elicit a strong antioxidant effect
- Has a positive impact on blood platelet activitysimilar to that of a baby aspirin
- Causes relaxation of the inner lining of blood vessels to help reduce blood pressure
- Promotes the formation of nitric oxide and improves blood circulation
Why Is Eating Candy Bad For You
Sugar is bad for you a because it has calories, and because if you have diabetes or a diabetes-related condition lets say high blood fat levels then having sugar will increase your blood sugar and your triglycerides, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Without insulin, eating sugar will increase blood sugar.
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Diet Considerations In Parkinson’s
Nutrition is particularly important in Parkinsons for many reasons; the disorder itself often slows transition through the gut and affecting the absorption of medications and nutrients. Patients with PD may have other medical conditions that further put them at risk of malnutrition. Poor nutrition can worsen other conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which in turn can worsen function in PD. In addition, good nutrition promotes overall brain health and mayhave some protective benefit with regard to conditions such as strokes and Alzheimers disease.
As is true for many aspects of Parkinsons disease, each person is a little different. You may need to experiment to see what is most effective for you.
Managing Symptoms With Dietary Interventions
There are many symptoms of this disease. Through the following dietary changes, we can control them to an extent.
High fiber meal to treat constipation: Many patients with Parkinsons disease experience constipation due to a slowdown of the digestive system. You can manage constipation with a diet that is rich in fiber by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. in your diet. Drinking plenty of fluids and exercising can also help you avoid constipation.
Watch fluid intake to avoid dehydration: Medications that treat Parkinsons disease can make you dehydrated. Dehydration can, in turn, make you feel tired and, over time, lead to confusion, balance issues, weakness and kidney problems. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day. You can choose from milk, buttermilk, fruit juices and lemon water.
Eat right if youre experiencing loss of taste:Loss of taste is one of the common symptoms. It can lead to weight loss, depression and malnutrition. To treat this problem, try to have more of your favourite and well-flavoured food. Add spices to your meals and put the emphasis on aroma and texture. Try to avoid bland foods, plain meats and unsalted foods when experiencing this symptom.
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Could Be Good For Brain Health
The neurodegenerative disease, like Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease, may prevent by eating dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate can improve brain health.
One study suggests that flavanols may improve the brains neuroplasticity, which plays a role in memory especially in case of injury and disease.
Chocolate also has caffeine which might be the reason it helps in the improvement of brain function.
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tree Bark
This simple recipe is great for the holidays, with the candy canes and mint extract giving it a festive style. You only need the following three ingredients:
- 12 ounces of dark chocolate chips
- 5 candy canes
- 1 teaspoon mint extract
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler. Remove the chocolate from heat. Crush 5 candy canes and mix into the chocolate, along with the 1 teaspoon of mint extract. Line a pan with wax paper. Pour the mixture onto the wax paper. Sprinkle another 5 crushed candy canes on the top of the mixture. Refrigerate until it hardens and then break apart.
These recipes are very easy to follow and provide a healthy way to add more chocolate to your diet, without eating a big old chocolate cake. While evidence is pointing to the fact that chocolate may help people suffering from Parkinsons disease deal with their symptoms, it does not hurt to try this concept out yourself.
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Can Eating Healthy Brain Food From Plants Grown In Cea Improve Mental Health
The part can never be well until the whole is well Plato
In a new series we discuss healthy foods from the aspect of people who are already suffering from an illness. A diagnosis is likely a time in your life when you reflect on bad habits or unfortunate genetics leading to disease.
Mental health is an incredibly complex subject and if you are suffering it could be for an infinite number of reasons. It is important to stress that our brains and cognitive function are the most complex in the animal kingdom with billions of neurons interconnecting to send signals to our body to function properly. We are all suffering a degree of mental health issues because of uncertainty over the outcome of the pandemic.
Not all plants can be grown to maturity in a controlled environment like a greenhouse or a vertical farm but they can be initiated in tissue culture to precipitate clean production of virus free clones. A huge advantage of CEA is pesticide free production which has benefits for overall health and is significant in terms of cognitive function.
Over 50% of US consumers have tried or are interested in functional food and drink that can aid sleep, is calming or helps with relaxation.
Backed by growing scientific evidence, diet is well accepted as an important factor in mental wellbeing in addition to physical health, with more consumers turning to nutrition to support stress management and help improve sleep and concentration.