Kiri Cole
CERTIFIED WELLNESS COACH AND NUTRITION CONSULTANT




Making you healthier one meal at a time 



CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA


5 Excellent Reasons to Eat RAW Chocolate to Your Heart’s Content

Cacao seeds from the tree, Theobroma cacao, are used to make chocolate. The word theobroma actually means “food of the gods.” So it is no surprise that unadulterated, dark chocolate provides numerous nourishing benefits.

RAW, unprocessed chocolate’s wholesomeness is largely due to its flavanol content. Flavanols give dark chocolate its bitter taste. The processing that commercial chocolate candies, bars, and foods undergo eliminates this natural bitterness and chocolate’s healthful benefits. Besides contributing a bitter flavor, flavanols act as antioxidants and exhibit anti-inflammatory and vasodilating (widens blood vessels) properties. As a result of these health-promoting attributes, chocolate can and should be enjoyed for the following reasons.

Research shows that consuming RAW chocolate . . .

1. Lowers Blood Pressure
The endothelium is a membrane that lines the heart and blood vessels, such as arteries. One important role the endothelium plays is to release substances that control the relaxation and contraction of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction occurs when the blood vessels fail to widen adequately. This can cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arties), which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The flavanols in chocolate improve vasodilation, ensuring that blood vessels properly dilate or widen so as to avoid endothelial dysfunction.

2. Prevents Coronary Events
The journal Hypertension asserts that chocolate’s flavanols, in addition to improving vasodilation, also stave off blood clots and heighten blood concentrations of the antioxidant epicatechin, all of which helps prevent potentially fatal cardiovascular conditions.

3. Produces Positive Metabolic Effects
Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that chocolate’s flavanols have various positive metabolic effects such as increasing insulin sensitivity. This makes RAW chocolate a preferred choice for diabetics.

4. Improves Memory
A study recently published in Nature Neuroscience claims that chocolate improves age-related memory loss in older adults. One of the lead researches stated that after three months of consuming the RAW chocolate drink, a study participant initially with the memory of a 60-year-old demonstrated the memory of someone aged 30.

5. Reduces Cholesterol
Chocolate also facilitates cardiovascular health by lowering LDL, bad cholesterol, and total cholesterol according to research in The Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. Again, this is due to chocolate's rich flavanol content.

Therefore, indulge and enjoy some RAW chocolate. It will certainly facilitate health and well-being.

Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794453 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797556/
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=409867
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=DB84159D6B5BB55ED7C06575FEFBF917.f02t02
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14654748
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18356327
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12297125
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16027246
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284400.php
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/590371




3 Fun Facts About and 3 Reasons to Enjoy Vanilla

Amusing Factoids

1. The Vanilla orchid, from which vanilla beans orignate, is the only fruit-bearing orchid. 
2. The Vanilla orchid is only pollinated by the Melipona bee found in Mexico and Central America. Other countries that produce vanilla must pollinate the flower artificially by hand.
3. After saffron, vanilla is the 2nd most expensive spice because its cultivation is very labor intensive.

Health Advantages

1. Lowers Cholesterol
Research in the Indian Journal of Experiential Biology reveals that vanilla lowers cholesterol. In the study, rats with high cholesterol experienced significant decreases in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), triglycerides (fat in the blood), and total cholesterol after being fed vanillin, the primary component of vanilla bean extract. Such research shows great promise for vanilla’s healing effects in humans. 

2. Frustrates Bacterial Pathogenesis
Letters in Applied Microbiology published a study indicating that vanilla demonstrates antibacterial properties. Vanilla inhibits bacterial cell-to-cell communication in humans, preventing these bugs from thriving and spreading.  

3. Contains Disease-fighting Antioxidants
Like nearly all natural, RAW food, vanilla provides abundant antioxidants. Studies show that its antioxidants demonstrate robust free radical scavenging activity. Free radicals - unstable molecules with an unpaired electron - are involved in the development of numerous diseases, from heart disease to Parkinson’s. Antioxidants are able to neutralize free radicals, giving these dangerous particles an electron without becoming free radicals themselves. Vanilla helps eradicate free radicals, safeguarding your health.

While vanilla is natural, synthetic versions of the spice abound. So, make sure to purchase pure vanilla extract or products that contain such extracts. Obtain greater health and wellness with this tasty and powerful spice! 

Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16706905 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17715988
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24195348