Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Didn't Know - Chocolate


I'm not a chocolate lover but do enjoy Hot Cocoa if flavored with Hazelnuts or Almond... go figure.  In the cold months I like to have a hot cup before going to bed.  Always wondered why I was up and down at night due to a full bladder.  I found my answer.

How it affects you: Your sweet tooth may affect more than just your waistline. Caffeine contained in chocolate may trigger heartburn and IBS symptoms in people prone to digestive disorders. What’s more, like coffee, chocolate is also a diuretic, which can result in loose stool or diarrhea.

What you can do: If you need to satisfy that craving, choose dark chocolate. “It contains polyphenols that can slow GI function and increase water absorption to prevent diarrhea,” says Palinski-Wade. “Cocoa, which is found in higher amounts in dark chocolate than milk chocolate, is also a good source of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.”
Then when I thought I might have to give up my winter drinking of flavored hot chocolate I found this:
 
1. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as strong as red wine. Cocoa's concentration was two to three times stronger than that of green tea and four to five times stronger than that of black tea.
2. Professor Chang Yong Lee, the leader of the Cornell study, added that the "hot" in "hot chocolate" is important as well. More antioxidants are released when it's heated up.
3. A cup of hot cocoa contains 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE). The antioxidant gallic acid is used to treat internal hemorrhages, albuminuria (the presence of albumin in the urine, which can indicate kidney disease) and diabetes.
4. Although a regular bar of chocolate has strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits may be outweighed because of the saturated fats present — cocoa generally has much less fat per serving compared to the 8 grams of fat in a standard chocolate bar.
5. The flavonoid help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.
6. The flavonoids in hot chocolate also help prevent platelets in your blood from mingling together and forming clots.
7. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, drinking hot chocolate can help you think better too. The flavonoids increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Since dementia is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the brain, researchers think it could be treated with cocoa.
Now comes the tricky part. Commercial instant hot cocoa mixes are often more of an artificial monstrosity that may eradicate any good the cocoa may have to offer. One of the most popular mixes, for example, lists cocoa fifth on the list of ingredients, beneath the higher-level ingredients of sugar, corn syrup and a medley of vegetable oils.
 
 
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