Whole Life Magazine

December 2013/January 2014

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Page 17 of 43

taste of health CHOCOLATE FOR YOUR HEALTH Pleasure is finding out your favorite treat's a "superfood" L et's face it: Chocolate is the world's best-loved food. Yet it's amazing how little we know about it. Research into the origins of chocolate and how it is made reveal a culinary gem—the cacao bean. You cannot have chocolate without cacao; the bean is the chocolate. Except that cacao isn't a bean, it's a nut. And it's the most widely eaten nut in the world— which nobody actually eats. We almost always eat processed forms of chocolate, or to be more precise, of cacao. Chocolate and cacao are excellent sources of digestion friendly, soluble dietary fiber; aphrodisiac skin-nourishing oils (cacao- or cocoa butter); and the amino acid tryptophan, which converts to feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. If you are trying to lose weight, some survey results say, eat chocolate! In a poll undertaken by opinion site YouGov, 86 percent of respondents who ate their favorite treats while on a weight-loss diet did actually lose weight. Chocolate is a "superfood" loaded with nutrients and benefits. Minerals Chocolate is an extraordinary source of key stress-fighting minerals magnesium, iron, chromium, vanadium, copper, zinc, manganese and phosphorus. These minerals favorably influence a woman's hormone system, which explains why chocolate has always been considered important for a woman's monthly cycle. The high levels of magnesium in chocolate have been proven to act as an appetite suppressant. The combination of high magnesium with high phosphorus makes chocolate an excellent bone protector. The iron and magnesium in chocolate make chocolate a 18 pre-eminent blood b u i l d e r. The chromium and vanadium in chocolate help balance blood sugar. Antioxidants Cacao is a delightful source of absorbable, useful epicatechin antioxidants. It has the highest antioxidant concentration of any known major food in the world. Cacao is thirty times higher in antioxidants than red wine, twenty times more potent in antioxidants than blueberries, three times higher than acai, and twice as high as chaga mushroom. These antioxidants protect our cells from free radical damage and therefore contribute to our longevity and state of well-being. Bliss Chemicals When Shazzie and I wrote our book Naked Chocolate, we wanted the world to see the astounding benefits that come from the superfood cacao and its derivative chocolate products. In our book we clarified three areas of research on cacao's bliss chemicals: theobromine, PEA and anandamide. The caffeine-relative theobromine is a diuretic, vasodilator and cardiovascular stimulant that, in concentrated form, has been used to revive heart attack patients. Theobromine helps to deliver nutrients to cells, making cacao an excellent delivery mechanism for herbs and herbal medicine. It is usually in higher concentrations in dark than in milk chocolate. Contrary to popular myth, chocolate and cacao are poor sources of caffeine. By David "Avocado" Wolfe Cacao is rich in happy phenethylamine chemicals called PEA, compounds that have been associated with feeling good and falling in love. Anandamide, (from the word ananda, meaning "bliss"), is a THC-like molecule otherwise known as the "bliss molecule." Synthesized enzymatically in the areas of the brain that are important in memory, thought processes and control of movement, it is mostly responsible for that post-workout buzz. There are three compounds that strongly resemble anandamide in cacao and chocolate, and it's believed they play a role in the generation of both motivation and pleasure. Experiments indicate that anandamide may have broad-spectrum health benefits and be as important as the better-known neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. How to Use Chocolate Chocolate is a treat. If you enjoy it as a reward for a job well done and keep your consumption in the right proportion, there's plenty of evidence that adding chocolate and cacao to your lifestyle as superfoods can have a substantial positive impact on your health. Health, eco, nutrition and natural beauty expert David "Avocado" Wolfe is co-founder of www.TheBestDayEver.com online health magazine and president of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, with a mission to plant 18 billion fruit trees on planet Earth. www.davidwolfe.com wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-DEC-JAN-11-24-10pm.indd 18 11/24/13 10:34 PM

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