Posts Tagged ‘healthy chocolate’
November 20, 2013
If you follow our blog and our Facebook posts you’ve noted that we are excited whenever a new study comes out that supports other research regarding the health benefits of cacao and dark chocolate.
Finally the experts endorse a food that is so tasty that we feel almost decadent eating it, yet at the same time turns out to be oh-so-good for us.
The more studies that are done the more detailed is our understanding of just what amazing things cacao can do for our bodies.
Nutritionist and fitness expert Mark Sisson explains it as well as we’ve ever seen, and and we are reprinting his discussion of the health benefits of cacao here.
The article will be in two parts so you will get all of his great information:
The truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on at least a semi-regular basis because, as it turns out, it is very good for you.
Dark chocolate is healthy.
Dark chocolate is great – the perfect storm of flavor, flavonoids, and fat. It tastes really good, comes loaded with polyphenols, and cocoa butter is a great source of saturated and monosaturated fat.
I am going to explicitly outline the myriad health benefits that cacao offers.
1. Dark chocolate contains healthy fats.
Cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean and incorporated into most reputable dark chocolate bars, is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat. And most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, widely known for having neutral effects on LDL (the bad cholesterol).
2. Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols.
When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, and blueberry.
The most studied polyphenol in cacao is epicatechin, a flavanol that is quite potent and healthful.
What when the square of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate melts on the tongue, is swallowed, digested, and incorporated into the body? What are the actual health benefits of consuming high-cacao content dark chocolate? Read on -
3. Dark chocolate and blood pressure.
Epidemiological studies (the study of the causes and effects of health in specific populations) pretty consistently show that dark chocolate consumption is related to lower blood pressure readings, for example among the Kuna Indians living in Panama, and the elderly Dutch.
These findings led to controlled studies by researchers in the medical and nutrition fields.
For example, one study found that fifteen days of eating dark chocolate lowered blood pressure (and improved insulin sensitivity) in healthy subjects. Cacao consumption also improved arterial flow in smokers.
Another study used flavanol-rich cacao to increase nitric oxide production in healthy humans which dilated the blood vessels thus lowering blood pressure.
Still another study found that eating dark chocolate improved circulation directly to the heart.
Disclaimer: Neither Mark Sisson nor Mayesa has received remuneration for the publication of this guest blog, nor is there product endorsement.
September 23, 2013
Most of the country is now back to school, and while parents already know that healthy eating can help their students do better in school, you might feel that’s easier said than done.
“Your brain can’t work if you’re not consuming enough calories, and in general that’s not a problem,” Krista Casazza, an assistant professor in the nutrition sciences department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release.
“But when kids go to school without eating breakfast, their thinking and learning skills can be affected,” said Caxazza.
Nutritionists advise that children should start the day with fruits, proteins and whole grains.
And most definitely avoid sugary cereals which are not only low in nutrition, but can cause a sugar high followed by a crash.
“A balanced breakfast will fuel the body for a long period and help sustain their attention level through lunch, when they need to eat well again,” Casazza said. “This will hold them until dinner, and they won’t snack ravenously after school.”
No matter how well you plan, often your kids will and do come home from school too hungry to wait until dinner.
Healthy after-school snacks include yogurt, fruits and raw vegetables.
Baked chips, in moderation, can be an option. For a drink, give them water instead of soda. Almond or rice milk instead of dairy drinks.
Allowing your kids to help make nutritious snacks will go a long way toward their willingness to eat them. There are many fun ideas on creative ways to make these types of snacks appealing.
Ideas for fun nutritious snacks
1. Instead of hard-boiled eggs – make deviled eggs
2. Instead of candy – make a healthy trail mix that includes plenty of Omega3-rich walnuts and almonds
3. Instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – offer naturally sweet, crisp, apple slices and peanut butter
4. Instead of ice cream – make fancy frozen bananas.
Peel a banana, dip it in low-fat yogurt (any flavor), roll it in crushed cereal (again, stay away from the sugary brands) so that it’s completely coated, then freeze.
5. Instead of high-calorie dips – make warmed cinnamon-spiced applesauce (especially good on a cold day) and serve with apple slices
Delicious – and oh, so healthy! Mayesa healthy chocolate drinks are another easy way to help your students eat right. Try offering Mayesa heated as a hot chocolate drink in the morning with breakfast, or as a frozen chocolate pop for an after-school snack.
Photo Credit: acscan.org
July 31, 2013
Why is that important?
Globally over a billion people are Vitamin D deficient and 77% of American adults have insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is more commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin.” It is actually a fat-soluble hormone that the body can synthesize naturally from the sun when your skin is exposed to UVB rays.
Why is vitamin D necessary?
Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium and promotes bone mineralization. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect against a number of serious diseases, including rickets.
Recent research even suggests that Vitamin D may also provide protection from hypertension, psoriasis, and several autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, growing evidence has demonstrated an important role in the body’s defense against cancer. Studies link a deficiency of Vitamin D to as many as 18 different types of cancers.
What are the signs of Vitamin D deficiency?
Deficiencies of Vitamin D are common, especially in countries in northern latitudes, where sun exposure is typically lower.
Studies indicate that another cause of low levels of Vitamin D is the prevalent use of sun screens that block UV rays.
Vitamin D deficiency is indicated by porous bones, weak muscles and easy fracturing. However, as mentioned above, a deficiency can also cause other problems in the body that are not as easily diagnosed as a Vitamin D deficiency.
How do you get enough vitamin D from foods?
Good dietary sources include fortified foods, eggs, salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Since sunlight causes our bodies to make vitamin D, daily exposure is helpful.
However, you’ll need to check with your doctor on how much exposure to the sun without sunscreen he or she recommends.
Health care providers are becoming more aware of the role Vitamin D has to our over-all health. The next time you see your physician be sure to discuss Vitamin D and its links to health risks. You’ll want to know his or her suggestions on Vitamin D-rich foods, supplements, and foods fortified with Vitamin D.
Getting Vitamin D is one of the many benefits of Mayesa, a healthy chocolate drink.
June 26, 2013
A trading partnership, based on respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.
What exactly does this mean and why is this a big deal?
In 2000 journalists began documenting the continued practice of forced child labor in the West African cacao trade, a source of 70% of the world’s chocolate. Since the Ivory Coast in West Africa alone produces 40% of the planet’s raw cacao, its beans are mixed into almost every brand of mass-produced chocolate.
Large global corporations such as Hershey and Nestle have historically done little to address the problem of slave labor, and most cocoa on the world market is bought “blind,” through importers and brokers.
Besides the slave labor issue, cacao farmers are often forced to sell their harvest to middlemen who rig scales and misrepresent prices.
Fairly traded cacao is monitored by independent, non-profit, certifying organizations that guarantee that the chocolate was produced and traded in a socially responsible manner, specifically that:
1. International Labor Organization Conventions on child labor and forced labor are adhered to.
2. The cacao beans were bought directly from a democratically controlled co-operative of small scale farmers, which helps them gain more control of their livelihoods and ensures farmers a higher percentage of cocoa export revenues.
Organic cacao has a built-in aspect that makes it somewhat automatically a fair trade product. Organic farms are subject to their own independent monitoring system that checks labor practices.
Also, as of now, cacao beans are not organically grown in the Ivory Coast, which is where the vast majority of the reports about exploitation and slavery in the chocolate trade are centered.
Mayesa purchases its organic cacao beans through Fair Trade from farmer co-operatives in Peru. Knowing this you can enjoy your delicious healthy chocolate drink feeling as good about the way the chocolate was grown and harvested as you do about the way it tastes.
Photo Credit: telegraph.co.uk
May 22, 2013
The Aztecs knew that this delicious bean was famous for healing the nervous system and improving digestion and elimination.
Other medicinal properties for which the Aztecs used cacao included alleviating fever, anemia, poor appetite, mental fatigue and poor breast milk production. It was also used for respiratory ailments, gout, kidney stones and low virility.
In recent years modern science has delved into the secrets of this amazing bean to discover that it’s the Theobromine, antioxidant flavanols, catecins , and many other body and brain enhancing elements contained in the bean that makes it such a powerhouse of medicine.
In fact, chocolate has been very recently cited by some top health professionals and researchers to be the single most exciting health food.
How is it possible that something that only recently was thought of as an unhealthy indulgence is now being hailed as so remarkably beneficial? Answer – “chocolate” does not necessarily equal “cacao bean.”
Most chocolate candy and other chocolate products on the market contain low levels of cacao and high amounts of sugars, milk fat, and artificial flavorings.
In addition, the quality and processing of cacao used in these products is often low due to alkalinization, refining, processing and over-roasting of the bean.
If you want the true health benefits that cacao can give you, choose only high cacao percentage dark chocolate, with a minimum of 75% cacao and even better, stick to at least 85% cacao. And for true healthy chocolate, look for products that use organic cacao, and are soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
April 5, 2013
Let’s Party! Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom. We’re joining the party with a giveaway for you! Just follow the instructions below to enter to win a 12-pack of Mayesa healthy chocolate drinks!
Mayesa is all about indulging in chocolate – healthy chocolate! Made from organic cacao – one of the healthiest foods on the planet – Mayesa is chocked full of good things for you, including fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin D and those great immunity-boosting antioxidants.
And a bonus – Mayesa is dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free!
What does a delicious Mayesa drink do for you? Besides allowing you to pamper yourself with decadent chocolate, you’ll also find that it energizes you, it replenishes you, it increases clarity, and it suppresses hunger.
A healthy chocolate Mayesa drink is great for breakfast, a mid-morning pick-me-up, as a way over the mid-afternoon slump, and is perfect for dessert in the evening.
You’ll love giving it to your kids, too – knowing that they can now have a chocolate drink that is actually good for them.
It’s so great to have you here to visit. Please feel free to browse around and learn more about healthy cacao.
Here’s how to enter our Party giveaway:
Want extra entries into the contest? Do the following..!
Make sure we have a way to reach you, by leaving your email in the comment. One winner will be chosen at random by using random.org. The contest ends April 15h at 11:59 EDT. We will announce the winner Monday April 17th.
And, don’t forget to head over to the Ultimate Blog Party (#UBP13) at the 5 Minutes for Mom web site! It’s a chance to win another 12-pack of delicious healthy chocolate Mayesa drinks! You’ll also discover many other great blog sites, and there are prizes galore!
Thanks for learning more about Mayesa – the chocolate drink that’s oh, so delicious – and healthy!
January 16, 2013
First let’s look at just what exactly is “gluten.” Gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. It is ingested not only from breads and other flour-based foods, but most processed foods as well where it is liberally used as a stabilizer and thickener.
Gluten is especially detrimental to anyone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease – a chronic digestive disorder which causes the body to mount an inflammatory immune response to the presence of gluten. (more…)
July 19, 2012
The push within the past several years to encourage Americans to make more healthy choices when it comes to meals and snacks has given rise to a seemingly unique concept – vending machines with healthy foods, instead of the ubiquitous candy bars, chips and sugary sodas.
A San Diego company, Fresh Healthy Vending Cafe, is on a mission – to provide people with those healthy food and beverage options. In its vending machines, you’ll find a variety of healthier drinks that are either low in sugar or naturally sugar-free.
Fresh Healthy Vending Café is the latest exclusive launch of Fresh Healthy Vending, a company that started in 2010 and is revolutionizing vending machines by filling them with healthy, natural and organic foods and beverages. Dubbed the “future of vending” Fresh Healthy Vending Cafe is already the largest Healthy Vending company in North America.
Fresh Healthy Vending Café offers franchised high-tech vending machines that are located in such places as workout facilities, hospitals, military bases, schools, and office buildings.
Besides such healthy alternatives to high sugar sodas as coconut milk, purified water, and herbal teas, you’ll find Mayesa. A healthy chocolate drink, Mayesa adds to the credibility of this new vending machine concept by showing that vending machines can carry snacks and drinks that are not only nutritious and healthy for you, but delicious and enjoyable as well.
June 19, 2012
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2012 was signed by President Obama as a major step forward in America’s effort to provide all children with healthy foods in their schools.
Since then USDA guidelines are implementing important provisions of the legislation, which includes significant improvements that will help provide children with healthier and more nutritious food options, educate children about making healthy food choices, and teach children healthy habits that can last a lifetime, says a White House statement.
May 22, 2012
School is out for much of the country and the lazy days of summer are upon us, and it’s easy for families to relax their routine a bit, and often that results in kids getting out of the habit of healthy eating.
The American Dietetic Association wants to help your entire family stay on track and has launched its Kids Eat Right campaign. Here are 4 top tips from Kids Eat Right to make healthy family eating easy this summer, and we’ve added a tip of our own to round the list to 5:
1. Take your children shopping with you, and let them pick out the healthy foods they enjoy, especially fresh fruits and vegetables that are so plentiful during summer months.
2. Make healthy eating fun by planning a trip around the world. Designate one night a week as “World Night,” and prepare a meal from another country. Many cultures feature healthy foods in their ethnic cooking.
For example: Italy has gnocchi which are dumplings made with vegetables such as spinach mixed in; Greece has Tzatziki sauce, made with creamy yogurt, garlic and cucumber, perfect for pita sandwiches or a veggi dip; and Mexico has gazpacho, a cold tomato-based raw vegetable soup, delicious and especially refreshing on a hot day.
3. Invite kids to help in the kitchen when preparing meals, letting the older kids chop and cook foods and the younger kids mix ingredients and set the table.
4. Sit down as a family and eat together. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating together as a family during adolescence is associated with lasting positive effects on nutritional quality in young adulthood.
5. And we’ll add to this list our tip – when the kids want to snack, give them a healthy chocolate snack – Mayesa drinks. Mayesa is made from organic cacao, and so is chocked full of cacao’s healthy qualities including antioxidants, omega 3s, and minerals such as iron and magnesium.
In addition, Mayesa energizes, replenishes, and even suppresses hunger leading to less nibbling on unhealthy foods. Do your kids a favor this summer – keep them on track with healthy chocolate Mayesa.
Image Credit: macombcountymi.gov