Me and the healthy chocolate trend...

Hello and welcome to my blog! I love chocolate, I always have, but never in a million years would I have thought of chocolate as something that could be called healthy. I am a independent distributor for the worlds first USDA ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) tested line of healthy chocolate products called Xocai (sho-sigh). It's the best home based business I've ever done. Healthy chocolate is the easiest thing in the world to talk about and it really is one of those things that sells itself! I wanted to create this blog so that I could keep myself and others up to date with new science and information on healthy chocolate and also to have a place to let others read about the results I have seen in my customers who are using the Xocai products.

Best Regards,

Eric Coplen
Temecula CA
eric@cocoapower.com

*Wanted* Xocai Healthy Chocolate Distributors. See CocoaPower.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dark Chocolate, But Not Tea, Takes a Bite Out of Blood Pressure

Published: Monday, April 9, 2007 | 9:49 PM ET



MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) - Cocoa-rich products such as dark chocolate may help lower high blood pressure, but tea won't do much, according to a new survey of the medical literature by German researchers.

Although the thought of chocolate as a health food has captured public attention, not much research on the issue has been done, said a team from the University Hospital of Cologne.

Their report covered exactly 10 studies on cocoa with a total of 173 participants and five tea studies with 343 participants.

The benefits are believed to come from compounds known as polyphenols (or flavonoids), explained Dr. Dirk Taubert, senior lecturer in pharmacology and toxicology at Cologne and lead author of the report.

He leavened his support of chocolate with a bit of caution.

"Based on our analysis, regular consumption of polyphenol-rich cocoa products like dark chocolate may be considered a part of a blood pressure-lowering diet, provided there is no total gain in calorie intake," Taubert said. "However, in the studies we reviewed, the blood pressure results occurred with cocoa doses above the habitual intake and were observed only in the setting of short-term interventions."

In other words, for the average chocolate nibbler, the jury is still out on the sweet's health effects, Taubert said. "To date, it is not known whether long-term intake of small habitual amounts of cocoa, such as a small bar or piece of chocolate per day, may also cause significant blood pressure effects," he said.

The cocoa studies lasted an average of two weeks, with four out of five trials reporting a reduction in both systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading, when the heart contracts) and diastolic number, when the heart relaxes.

The average reduction was 4 to 5 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) in systolic pressure and 2 to 3 millimeters in diastolic pressure - enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 20 percent and of coronary heart disease by 10 percent.

No such reduction in blood pressure was noted in any of the tea trials, which lasted an average of four weeks.

Tea and cocoa contain different kinds of polyphenols - flavan-3-ols in tea, procyanids in cocoa, the researchers said.

"We do not know exactly which are the active blood pressure-lowering ingredients in cocoa," Taubert said. "There is evidence that the cocoa polyphenols are responsible, but there are several hundreds of phenols in cocoa."

Whichever are responsible, studies of cell cultures in his laboratory have also suggested that polyphenols can stop the oxidation of beta-amyloid protein, the process that leads to formation of plaque in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, said Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the department of food science and technology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

In addition, "reports from many laboratories clearly show that the ingestion of flavonoid-rich foods enhance circulation," Lee said. Much remains to be learned, Lee added. "Many people have been talking about different kinds of flavonoids," he said. But we do not know exactly how much of these compounds are absorbed in the body and also when they are absorbed, how much is distributed to different sites."

Lee said he can "happily recommend" the occasional cup of cocoa. "But I am cautious about people taking chocolate milk, because it is high in sugar and high in fat," he said. "Dark chocolate may be all right, but I do not recommend cocoa preparations that contain high sugar."

Drug treatment is the basis of blood pressure control, Taubert said, and it should always be accompanied by lifestyle measures such as exercise and proper diet. "Rationally applied, cocoa products may be part of such an antihypertensive diet," he said.

Copyright 2007 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Alzheimer's Info: Dark Chocolate, Red Wine, and Nuts Can Help "Maintain the Brain"

Diet Promotes Healthy Brain and Heart

By Walt Crocker




They got some of it right way back in the fifties. “Drink your milk.” Eat your liver.” “Fish is good brain food, all the things that your Grandma told you. Milk, while high in fat, has a lot of calcium. Liver is a good source of iron and other minerals, and now we know that some kinds of fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the other practices of that time period have been found out to be not so good, like smoking cigarettes and eating a lot of red meat. Of course I think that a balanced diet and lots of exercise is the best advice and this has been pretty consistent, except for a few rumblings in the food pyramid. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t indulge in the latest food that’s been shown in some study to be beneficial in one way or another. There is something that many of the health fads in food seem to leave out: the food should taste good. But, the latest hot trend is one that I, as well as most people, can sink their teeth into.

Recently the Alzheimer’s association has suggested that consuming dark chocolate, wine, and nuts can reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life. This year the local chapter of the Alzheimer's association here in St. Louis has introduced the “Maintain Your Brain’ program. In addition to their annual wine tasting event, the Alzheimer's association has also included a gift basket of dark chocolate and nuts. They maintain that dark chocolate, red wine, and nuts are not only good for your brain, but heart health as well.

There are over 300 chemically active compounds in the cacao bean, from which pure chocolate is made, making it one of the most complex health-promoting foods in the world. Cocoa powder is also rich in flavonoid plyphenols. These compounds are not only one of the richest sources of antioxidants, but they have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti microbial, and cancer preventing properties as well. We all know about the nasty business of free radicals, the end result of oxidation, but with all of the talk recently of how certain proteins can cause inflammation which can lead to scaring of the arteries and heart disease, a little anti-inflammatory regimen may be just what the doctor ordered.

Two other foods that you may want to consider adding to your brain and heart health diet are blueberries and a little berry from the Amazon called the Acai berry. The natives have been using all of the plant; the roots, stems, heart, and leaf fronds for years. One of the healthiest parts of the plant is the berry itself. For years the Acai berry was very hard to get, you had to paddle down the river for days into the heart of the rain forest, but now they are much more accessible, even making their way onto the Oprah Show recently. One company, called MXI has combined dark chocolate, blueberries, and the Acai berry into one easy to eat piece of chocolate. The stuff tastes pretty good too. You can get more information by visiting mxi.myvoffice.com/rmb.

So now I have my bowl of dark chocolate, some walnuts, and a big bottle of red wine. Can life get any better? The only thing left to do is to get a corkscrew and a nutcracker.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Connections Explained - Oxidation, Antioxidants, and Disease

This information comes from Dr. Stephen Warren's website MyDrChocolate.com. Many hear about free radical damage, or oxidation, and antioxidants, but they know very little about how it all works...

In order to understand how we can limit the damage from chronic illnesses and aging, we need to understand how some of the chronic illnesses develop.

Cardiovascular or heart disease is a leading cause of death in our society. Everyone has some degree of heart vessel disease or damage. The vessels which bring blood to heart muscles become damaged with fat from our diet which becomes hard and blocks the blood flow (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis). There are several thoughts on how this happens but the main theory is that bad cholesterol (LDL-C) is oxidized (lipid peroxidation).

What is oxidization? All body cells use oxygen to make energy and to function. Oxidization occurs every time oxygen is burnt as a food for energy. The oxygen mixes with different compounds (proteins, fat, etc.) or molecules to form highly unstable and highly reactive molecules called free radicals. The body likes all of its molecules/atoms to have even numbers of electrons (the negative part of an atom). When the oxygen mixes with the molecule it forms an extra electron which makes this an unstable free radical with an uneven number of electrons. It is important to remember that environment factors like smoking, radiation, pollution, hypertension, high fat diet, elevated blood sugars can also oxide the body cells to form free radicals. The main types of free radicals are called superoxide, hydroxyl, singlet oxygen, peroxyl, and hydrogen peroxide molecules. They are even formed during infections (oxidation is necessary for health because oxidation is needed to kill microorganisms) or chronic inflammation when free radicals are formed to fight the infection and over produce themselves. Even strenuous exercise will increase the production of free radicals. These free radicals like to hook to other cells to steal electrons and in turn there is a domino effect as each cell tries to steal electrons causing a major chain reaction. These unstable molecules commonly damage the cell membranes (by attaching to unsaturated fatty acids), weaken blood vessel walls, affect immune cells, modify protective enzymes and hinder how the cell functions. They cause a lot of inflammation and even scar tissue from their damage. The free radicals can also damage cell proteins and even alter DNA within the cell. It has been estimated that the human body generates 1-3 billion free radicals a day per cell!!! It is thought that each DNA in each of our trillion plus cells is bombarded by 10,000 free radicals a day. No wonder there is evidence that more than 200 diseases are caused by free radical damage. Blindness, arthritis, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and even physical aging are the result of free radical damage.


Dr. Warren is a huge proponent of organic dark chocolate as a high quality source of antioxidants that help prevent and reverse disease in the body.