Tag Archives: Polyphenols

The health benefits of cacao

One of the most popular trees on the planet is cacao, the plant species from which cocoa is derived. While some might think cacao and cocoa are one and the same, they’re not. Cacao is the tree, while cocoa is the dry, powdered product made from it. Cocoa is best known as the main ingredient for an all-time favorite confection worldwide — chocolate.1

A cacao pod is a dark brown ovoid fruit containing about 60 seeds, better known as cacao beans.2 The flavor is dependent on the fermentation of the cacao beans. During this process, compounds found in the beans react with each other, producing the well-loved flavor of chocolate.3

Aside from their flavor, cacao beans were prized for their medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, and they were traded like currency by South American civilizations. For the Aztecs and Mayans, cacao beans were so important in feasts and celebrations that they were usually put at the center.4

Today, in the dawn of superfoods, cacao has earned its title as a “superfruit” due to the surplus of flavonoids and polyphenols it contains.

Health Benefits of Cacao

There’s been plenty of discussion about free radicals and antioxidants, but some are unsure of what these terms mean regarding our health. Exposure to radiation, cigarette smoke, pollution and certain medications may all release free radical activity in the body; however, they also can be produced by factors like mental stress, infections, cancer and aging.5

Antioxidants in the foods you eat may help reverse this process by zapping harmful free radicals, helping fight off disease.6 This is where cacao comes in. Compared to other foods, it is well-equipped with phenolic antioxidants, be it catechins, epicatechins or procyanidins.7 Its beans are also rich in magnesium, copper, potassium and calcium, which are known to help lower the risk of hypertension and heart disease.8

Aside from these benefits, cocoa may help alleviate the symptoms of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia through its beta-phenylethylamine (PEA) content. PEA works as a neurotransmitter and may improve serotonin concentrations in the brain by interacting with trace amine-associated receptor (TAAR).9

For those who think chocolate must be bad for you (it has to be if it tastes so good, right?), rest assured that there’s roughly 1 gram of sugar in a half-cup serving of raw cacao. However, this doesn’t apply to some store-bought chocolate because of all the flavor additives that mask the powder’s bitterness.10  

READ MORE

https://foodfacts.mercola.com/cacao.html

Photo: pixabay.com

Beware – “Very High Levels of Arsenic” in Top-Selling Wines

By Dr. Mercola

“If you drink alcoholic beverages on occasion, wine could arguably be described as one of the “healthier” options. Red wine, in particular, is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, including resveratrol.

wine-bottle-852426_1280Unfortunately, researchers have uncovered a problem in wine that has recently plagued other foods like apple juice and rice – high, potentially dangerous, levels of arsenic.

Concerning Levels of Arsenic Detected in Popular Wines

A class-action lawsuit filed in California states that wine drinkers have become “unwitting ‘guinea pigs’ of arsenic exposure,”2 after tests showed levels up to four and five times the maximum amount the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for drinking water.3

Other headings include:

What Are the Health Risks of Inorganic Arsenic?

Food Is the Largest Source of Arsenic Exposure for Most People

Is US Rice Riskiest of All?

Arsenic Has Also Been Detected in Apple Juice

Beer and Drinking Water May Also Contain Arsenic

Arsenic Has Even Been Fed to Chickens

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Arsenic Exposure

Read More:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/29/wine-arsenic-levels.aspx