Posts Tagged ‘Dark Chocolate’

The ChocolateDoctor’s Prescription to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally with Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s the end of January—the holidays are behind us, yet the holiday bills lay before you. Vacations are over, the back-to-work grind is wearing on your patience, and two weeks into the New Year you’ve already failed on your resolutions, whatever they might be.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason these are the most depressing days of the year.

Here’s the solution? Eat more chocolate. I’m not kidding. There’s no better food to connect the dots between mind and body than the deliciously emotional, palpably physical response we all have to eating pure chocolate,” writes Will Cower, PhD, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist in his new book, Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. As gimmicky as it might sound, eating chocolate might be the best natural remedy for anxiety you’re not using and science has shown that it goes beyond the mere mood –elevating buzz you get from gobbling up a Crunch bar on the way home from work.

Cortisol and Cocoa
You’ve seen those awful weight-loss commercials. The part that is true is that stress prompts your body to produce cortisol. Research has shown that heavier women have higher levels of cortisol than women of normal weight. Cortisol also triggers the accumulation of abdominal, or visceral, fat, which builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke.

In a 2009 study it was reported that people who ate about an ounce of chocolate a day for two weeks saw decreases in cortisol in their systems compared to its levels at the start of the study. Another study a year later showed that, over the course of 30 days, people who ate cocoa daily had 10 percent lower levels of anxiety and considered themselves 10 percent calmer than they had been at the start of the study.

The key to success is prevention, not reaction. Studies finding that chocolate has a positive impact on mood and anxiety all looked at consumption over the course of 30 days, while studies looking at people who consume chocolate in response to stress found those people generally feel as depressed after their chocolate fix as they did before it. They experience a short “mood elevation” that lasts about three minutes, and then disappears. That’s just about long enough to reach for another chocolate bar.

Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight
There are over 300 positive chemical compounds in chocolate. Eating chocolate over time allows one’s body to build up levels of cocoa’s polyphenols, which are responsible for regulating stress hormones. The cocoa polyphenols don’t immediately boost mood, satisfaction, calmness or contentedness. This happens only when chocolate is eaten slowly and steadily over a period of time. In other words, a patient chocolate eater is a happy chocolate eater.

Eat It Right
You won’t reap the mood-boosting benefits of chocolate by reaching for that bag full of fun-size caramels and nougats, or even by eating a chocolate bar a day. If you want chocolate to truly make a difference and leave you happy and less stressed, your approach to eating it needs to be a little more nuanced.

Dark vs. Milk
Dark chocolate is less stressful than milk chocolate, for lots of reasons. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other additives, while also being devoid of most of cocoa’s healthier components. The milk in milk chocolate tends to blocks the body’s absorption of the antidepressant antioxidants. Studies analyzing the healthfulness of chocolate rely on dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cacao or even unsweetened 100-percent cocoa powder. Functional chocolates such as Choclatique Q-91 or Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76%) are perfect for this need.

Eat Small Amounts
Once you find a chocolate you like, take it in small doses. To battle stress and anxiety—take one ounce a day for at least eight weeks. But divide that one ounce into five portions a day. That will be roughly the size of the end joint on your thumb. Stick with an ounce a day. There isn’t any evidence that eating more is a benefit that will make you feel even better.

Eat It Slowly
Don’t chew, or even suck on, your chocolate pieces. Savor the flavor by letting the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt slowly. The added time you spend slowly tasting your chocolate is time you’re not popping more into your mouth. The flavor lingers and your brain thinks you’re eating the entire time so you’re less likely to overindulge.

Choclatique Dark Chocolates are low in sugar and high in cocoa mass. They are slowly-roasted all the way through. There in no “green” left in the bean. This leaves a very pleasant, fruity flavor in your mouth with cherry, berry, and fruit wine notes—it is never bitter or brittle. Even Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cacao), used primary for baking and cooking, has a tolerable flavor. But, if you’re not into dark chocolates, try using cocoa powder like Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. About half cup, or eight tablespoons, of 100 percent unsweetened cocoa powder will give you the same nutrients and mood lift as the one ounce of dark chocolate a day. Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, use a few teaspoons in your favorite vinaigrette, or cook with it. Avoid “Dutch” cocoa, which has been heavily processed which loses many of the benefits you are looking for.

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Stressed

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s nearly the end of the year… just a few short weeks from Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. You just got a cancellation notice on your health insurance and your expected year-end commission has been cut in half. Are you feeling stressed?

Stress is a normal part of life, but we also need to find ways to relieve it. Two squares of dark chocolate—Choclatique Elephant or Q-91 Chocolate—could be just the prescription the doctor ordered to change your attitude by lowering your stress hormone levels.

Why do I we get so wound up when feeling stressed? Going back to our caveman instincts, stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones in our brains that prepare us for action to either fight or flee. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stress is very damaging to our bodies and minds.

As recently reported in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a group of Swiss researchers tracked volunteers that were highly stressed. In this study, strong evidence indicated that daily consumption of only 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate—low in sugar—during a period of two weeks was sufficient to modify the metabolism of the healthy human volunteers. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

Now you may ask, won’t chocolate make people fat? That’s certainly possible, but scientists at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, point out other positive benefits… dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health overall and other substances in chocolate appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol along with other medical conditions.

So take this as free advice from the doctor—The ChocolateDoctor… take two chocolate squares and call me in the morning. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and stress-free chocolate wishes for the holidays!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Death by Chocolate Brownie

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

At my waterfront Custom House Restaurants in Northern California we had the most luscious, chocolaty dessert that you would ever desire—Chocolate Sludge. It was a heated chocolate chip brownie topped with a scoop of homemade, dark chocolate ice cream, covered with hot fudge and crowned with chocolate whipped cream.

When writing my book, Choclatique, my head chocolatier and I remade this restaurant favorite. As it turned out, we kept going back to the brownie pan to cut little samples for ourselves. Wow, we discovered that this brownie needed nothing more than to be served naked—no ice cream, no frosting or no nothing other than just right out of the pan.

Death By Chocolate BrowniePrep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: 16 extra rich brownies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips (yes, more chocolate chips)
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts, pecans or even whole pistachios (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 325º F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; whisk and set aside.
  3. Butter and flour a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  4. Combine the sugar, water and butter in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of the chocolate chips and the vanilla extract until the chocolate has melted.
  5. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and beat in the eggs one at a time until very smooth.
  6. Fold in the flour mixture until incorporated.
  7. Fold in the remaining bag of chocolate chips along with the nuts (if using).
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Yummy Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Choclatique Brownie MixOkay, here’s the story and I’m sticking with it. Joan wanted deep, double chocolate, chocolate chop cookies for her birthday. We were not near our test kitchen, but I had a bag of Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix with me. In just 15 minutes (allowing 30 minutes for cooling) I had the perfect cookie. These cookies are always soft and chewy and they are quick and simple to make. This is one time it’s okay to use my mix.

Brownie CookiesPrep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Yield 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 (24 ounce) package Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons water
3 large eggs
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Lightly butter a baking sheet.
  3. Combine the brownie mix, flour, melted butter, water, eggs and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Do not over mix.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven until cookies are just set, 9 to 10 minutes. They’ll still feel soft to the touch.
  6. Let them cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely about 30 to 45 minutes.

ChefSecret: There’s never enough chocolate for me, but if you must, you can substitute chocolate chips with butterscotch or peanut butter chips, or your favorite candy-coated chocolate pieces like Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s.

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Orange Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Muffins are the all-American quick bread that is baked in small portions usually in the shape of cupcakes. Usually they are not as sweet as cupcakes and generally are not frosted. They may be filled with sweet fillings, such as chocolate, toffee or fruit—the most common being blueberries.

My muffins are made with both dark and milk chocolate. They are rich and tender, high-rising, and deep chocolaty—both in color and flavor—kissed with the flavor of fresh orange zest. Serve them warm right from the oven; spread them with butter, jam or better yet one of my chocolate butters. You will soon discover they are the totally decadent way to start the day.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Yields 12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup Choclatique 72% Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles, melted
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with food release, or line with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time along with the melted chocolate then stir in the orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and buttermilk.
  5. Pour into the flour mixture, and mix just until evenly moist.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon or scoop batter into muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

ChefSecret: To make sure the chocolate chips don’t drop down to the bottom of the muffin tin, lightly toss them in flour before folding into the batter and they will stay suspended in the middle of the muffin.

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Dark Chocolate Lowers Risks of Heart Attack, Stroke

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

AustraliaThe research keeps coming in and getting better on the health benefits of dark chocolate. Researchers in Australia collected data over 2,000 people who had metabolic syndrome—which is a cluster of medical issues that includes high blood pressure, a large waist and low levels of “good” cholesterol—and used mathematical equations to predict how eating a dose of dark chocolate daily could affect the number of strokes and heart attacks the group would be expected to have. And they found that eating dark chocolate every day may lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for people at higher risk of these conditions.

Based on their results, the researchers calculated that for every 10,000 people with metabolic syndrome who ate 3.5 ounces (100g) of dark chocolate every day for 10 years, 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes, could be prevented.

In the past studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered over the short-term by eating compounds called flavonoids, which are abundant in dark chocolate. Flavonoids are known to have antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects, which relieve pressures on the heart.

The new study suggests that eating dark chocolate is a cost-efficient way to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes. The researchers noted that the study only looked at strokes and heart attacks, so how dark chocolate might affect the risks of other cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, must still be assessed.

Sanofi AventisThe study was published on May 31st 2001 in the British Medical Journal, and was funded by the Australian Research Council and the drug company Sanofi-Aventis Australia.

Q-91ChefSecret: Let people with higher risk of heart attack or stroke know that adding dark chocolate, like Choclatique Q-91, to their daily diet may reduce health-related risks.

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Great News for Chocoholics!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

How Eating Chocolate Can ‘Slow Down the Aging Process’

The Picture of Dorian GrayLet’s just say I am closer to 60 than I am to 50. I still don’t have any gray hair and I’m pretty free of wrinkles. I move a lot faster than most of the people around me half my age. I exercise at least 5 days a week and I don’t smoke, I don’t drink much and I have never done drugs. My partner Joan swears I’ve made a pact with the devil to stay looking so young.

We had a conversation this week where Joan was teasing me about promising my soul to the devil in order to live a life of perpetual youth and not have to worry about bodily decay and dissipation as in the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Now I can’t categorically prove that I don’t have a contract with Lucifer, but I can tell you that I do have access to lots of really great dark chocolate and the latest research claims that the absorption of cocoa flavanols—molecules contained in chocolate—improve skin oxygenation reducing the affects of external aging.

FlavanolsNow this is the great news older chocolate lovers the world over have been waiting to hear. Chocolate really is the latest super-food that scientists claim can slow down the aging process. Researchers based in Cambridge have made a scientific research breakthrough where they claim an ingredient transforms chocolate into an anti-aging wonder drug. Scientists at biotechnology specialist Lycotec have modified chocolate with an ingredient they have developed called Coco-Lycosome. This boosts the power of cocoa flavanols by up to 20 times compared to unmodified chocolate. A small chunk of modified chocolate has the same anti-aging benefits as two bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk, according to the researchers.

Lycotec founder Dr. Ivan Petyaev told The Grocer magazine: ‘Two bars a day may be good news for chocoholics but not everyone loves chocolate that much. But now, everyone can benefit from the intrinsic values of cocoa flavanols without compromising their health and habits.’ Dr. Petyaev added that the technology had no impact on the taste or texture of chocolate and that the ingredient was safe and accepted by the food industry.

Elephant ChocolateAt Choclatique we’re definitely on the right track with our Private Reserve (64%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) dark chocolates. Even if flavanols are clunky molecules and have some problems with absorption, eating 100g bar a day of our chocolate should keep you looking young and beautiful—just like me.

But before you get too excited, remember to always balance the benefits with any possible detrimental effects. If you are looking at increased consumption of chocolate, you will see an increase in calories and fat as well.

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Does Eating Chocolate Help People Stay Thin?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

According to a new study recently reported on a segment on CBS News, the best way to stay thin is exercising and eating a healthy diet full of chocolate.

The study found that people who frequently ate chocolate had a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who didn’t.

The study, published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined more than 1,000 healthy men and women who were free of heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol problems. They were all enrolled in another study that measured the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, but for this study researchers assigned them questionnaires that gauged how often participants indulged in chocolate.

The researchers found that the participants with an average age of 57 and ate chocolate on average twice per week and exercised roughly 3.5 times per week had an average BMI, while more frequent chocolate-eaters had smaller BMIs, a ratio of height and weight that’s used to measure obesity.

Even though chocolate can be loaded with calories from fat, it’s full of antioxidants and other ingredients that may promote weight loss, the researchers discovered.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb“I was pretty happy with this news myself,” study author Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, claimed that “Findings show the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining ultimate weight. Our findings – that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI is intriguing,” the authors wrote. However, “It is not a siren call to go out and eat 20 pounds of chocolate a day.”

This isn’t the first study to suggest a daily dose of chocolate can do the body good. Last summer, a study of more than 100,000 people found those who ate the most chocolate were 39 percent less likely to get heart disease and 29 percent less likely to have a stroke. Months later a 10-year study of 33,000 women found a 30 percent reduced risk of stroke among chocoholics.

However experts warn not all chocolate is created equal, and some could contain lots of sugar and calories, which could lead to other health issues if consumed to excess. “I would not want people reading this to think that all [they] need to do to lose weight is eat more chocolate,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., said, “That would be a huge mistake.” Katz suggests dark chocolate, because of its bitter flavor, may suppress appetite whereas sweet chocolate may stimulate it.

Q-91Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass and rich in flavanols and antioxidants. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.

As noted above recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

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Cocoa Flavanol Bring Even More Cardiovascular Benefits

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

There is so much more to learn about the food of the gods—CHOCOLATE. Some of the largest chocolate companies (Mars, Hershey, Nestle, Kraft) are working with independent researchers, private laboratories, universities and the USDA to unlock even more of the secrets of cacao.

According to Mars, Inc.’s recent study of the health benefits of cocoa, we have now learned that cocoa flavanols’ cardiovascular benefits might be independent of any antioxidant properties. Absorption and metabolism play a significant role in how flavanols provide circulatory and cardiovascular benefits, while earlier research suggested flavanols exerted their benefits through an antioxidant mechanism.

1This chocolate supplier’s study shows the extensive metabolism of epicatechin following consumption of a flavanol-containing cocoa drink. The company says that because in vitro studies using un-metabolized cocoa flavanols do not consider metabolism, they are not able to accurately reflect what is happening in the body.

Dr. Hagen Schroeter (University of California at Davis), the study’s author and director of fundamental health and nutrition research for Mars, explains: “The study provides a critical step towards a more complete understanding of flavanols and their benefits and, ultimately, towards the translation of this knowledge into innovative flavanol-rich food products and concrete health recommendations.”

Choclatique Drinking ChocolateMuch of these benefits can be derived from a cup of Choclatique chocolate a day. Choclatique makes 3 award-winning Chocolate Drinking MixesDark Chocolate, Cinnamon Chocolate and Peanut Butter Swirl. Each are blends of our select crushed dark chocolate and select cocoa powders for preparing rich, hot (and cold) chocolate beverages. Simply add your favorite Chocolate Drinking Mix to cold milk, whisk and heat for a steamy, cold-weather chocolate treat for a totally sinful chocolaty indulgence.

1The research has been published in the international journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine and at http://www.sciencedirect.com.

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Hey Ferd, Eat This!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Have you ever wondered who was the first cave person to ever consider eating an egg? “Hey Ferd, that funny looking bird just dropped something from his butt—let’s eat it!” Or the first person to try eating what they what they thought was bee poo and it tuned out to taste like honey. Ummmm!

Well I’ve got to think that chocolate—or more correctly call cacao—must have had a similar history. Here is all this stuff growing on a tree, “let’s break it open and eat it.” As it turns out mankind (and womankind) got it right and we are still discovering things about chocolate and the over 300 constituent elements that are so healthful for us.

So now we are learning that you might want to consider brushing your teeth with, guess what? Chocolate—yes, I said chocolate. Who came up with this idea to make brushing your teeth just a little sweeter?

New Orleans based Theodent has launched a toothpaste that uses compounds found in chocolate to strengthen teeth. The toothpaste uses a propriety blend, Rennou, which contains an extract of chocolate plus other minerals that work together to strengthen teeth. Rennou is used as a substitute for fluoride in Theodent’s toothpaste.

Theodent represents one of the major innovations in dental care in 100 years,” says Arman Sadeghpour, Theodent CEO. “I know that is a bold statement, but there are almost no other effective and non-toxic fluoride alternatives on the market.”

Rennou is the product of a team of New Orleans researchers who found that chocolate compounds caused microscopic unit crystals of the tooth enamel to grow larger, resulting in stronger teeth. According to Sadeghpour, Rennou actually gives teeth a harder surface than fluoride does and it’s completely non-toxic.

Though the compounds included in Rennou are related to stimulants at most this toothpaste might cause a “mild mood elevating effect” and it is “certainly not physiologically addictive” as caffeine is.

The compounds are not sweet either. The compounds in Rennou come from the bitter part of chocolate, but the toothpaste itself is not bitter and has been released in a whitening crystal mint flavor. According to the company the mint flavor is gentler than most brands and meant to encourage longer brushing.

Theodent Classic is available for sale in some Whole Foods Markets in the US as well as in Canada and eventually will be available at other retailers at a suggested retail price of $9.99. In addition, Theodent 300, an extra strength version, will be marketed to select cosmetic dentists and medical professionals.

Q-91 WafersIf you want to make your heart smile as wide as your teeth then also consider Choclatique’s Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate. You see, it’s more than wishful thinking—chocolate can be good for you. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. A source of natural flavanol antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore delivering more flavanol antioxidants.

Chocolate and Your Health Hand-In-Hand.

The health benefits of high antioxidant foods have taken the scientific world—and the media—by storm. Recent studies suggest that the plant compounds, which act as antioxidants in foods, may reduce the risk of many kinds of illness, from heart disease to cancer. Antioxidants like those found in dark chocolate and cocoa, called flavanols have also been linked to some of the hallmarks of good cardiovascular health such as enhanced blood flow, healthy cholesterol levels and, in some cases, reduced blood pressure.

Dark chocolate and cocoa contain cell-protecting flavanol antioxidant compounds. Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup of blueberries and 1 1/3 glasses of red wine. Next time, skip the Joe and go for the cocoa.

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