Posts Tagged ‘Healthful chocolate’

Chocolate May Prevent Strokes In Women

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Watch for me on ABC-7 NEWS on Monday October 17th at 6:40am and 11:00pm with Lori Corbin—The Food Coach—when we discuss the health aspects of a chocolate lifestyle.

No sooner had the interview ended when I received a copy of new research suggesting that eating chocolate could reduce the risk of a stroke. Wow! That’s big news. American College of CardiologyThe study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that women who had eaten an average of about 2.3 ounces of dark chocolate per week significantly reduced their risk for a stroke. Swedish scientists tracked more than 33,000 women, ages 49 to 83 years old, for about 10 years. The more chocolate they reported eating, the less likely they were to have had a stroke. Specifically, 1,549 strokes were reported, but those women who had eaten more than 45 grams of chocolate reported about 2.5 strokes per 1,000 compared to 7.8 per 1,000 among their peers who ate fewer than 8.9 grams.

Q-91However, that does not mean anyone should abandon common sense. “Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat, and sugar,” Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm told Reuters Health. “As dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, consumption of dark chocolate would be the most beneficial.” That would include Choclatique’s functional, Q-91.

Also, look for me on Fox Business Tuesday, October 18th at 12:pm EDT on Live Weekdays at Noon. I will also be in New York taping a segment for Better TV – 9, a syndicated show that airs on 80 stations nationwide owned by Meredith, Fox, CBS, Tribune, LIN TV, Journal and Sinclair. I will be making chocolate truffles from a recipe from my new adventure cookbook, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes.

Choclatique (the book) is sprinkled with QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)… those funny little Rorschach squares you see popping up seemingly everywhere these days. When scanned by a smart phone they take you to a video of the ChefSecret that is at the end of many of the recipes. This is the first time that this technology has been available to be used in the publishing of a cookbook.

And, lastly and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly for the first time and every time there after. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts.

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In Trivial Pursuit Of Chocolate

Friday, September 2nd, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In writing my new book, Choclatique (Running Press, 2011), a lot of exploration went into searching out the facts and myths, past and present, about everything chocolate. I traveled to over one hundred, thirty countries to uncover all of the hidden secrets about chocolate. Since I was limited to only three hundred pages a lot of good research went on to the editor’s floor. That’s the great part about writing a weekly blog and doing a FoodCast on A Million Cooks, nothing ever goes to waste.

I always choose the chocolate category when playing Trivial Pursuit and I always win. So here’s a chance to improve your Chocolate IQ. Let me share with you the little know and uncelebrated facts that will make you a winner, too.

  • Chocolate is a psychoactive food. If it wasn’t an ancient food, it would probably be regulated or rationed by the US FDA.
  • Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. The cacao tree was named by the 17th century Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus. The Greek term theobroma means literally “food of the gods.” Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil; but the theological basis of this claim is obscure unless you’re addicted to Devil’s Food Cake.
  • Cacao beans were used by the ancient Aztecs to prepare a hot, frothy beverage with stimulant and restorative properties. Chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests. The Aztecs esteemed its reputed ability to confer wisdom and vitality. Taken fermented as a drink, chocolate was also used in religious ceremonies. The sacred concoction was associated with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Emperor Montezuma allegedly drank fifty goblets a day.
  • Aztec taxation was levied in cacao beans. One hundred cacao beans could buy a slave. Twelve cacao beans bought the services of courtesan. I wish I could pay my taxes and bills. If our economy doesn’t improve quickly I may have to in Choclatique Chocolate Ingots.
  • The celebrated Italian libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) took chocolate before bedding his conquests on account of chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac. Who needs Viagra when there’s Choclatique Chocolate?
  • More recently, a study of eight thousand male Harvard graduates showed that chocoholics lived longer than abstainers. Their longevity may be explained by the high polyphenol levels in chocolate. Polyphenols reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and thereby protect against heart disease. Such theories are still somewhat speculative, but it’s still a good excuse to eat Choclatique Chocolate.
  • Placebo-controlled test trials suggest chocolate consumption may subtly enhance cognitive performance. As reported by Dr Bryan Raudenbush (2006), scores for verbal and visual memory are raised by eating chocolate. Impulse-control and reaction-time are also improved. Send an old person Choclatique Chocolate today… right now… what are you waiting for? Don’t tell me you forgot.
  • A “symposium” at the 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science—hyped as a potentially “mind-altering experience”—presented evidence that chocolate consumption can be good for the brain. Experiments with chocolate-fed mice suggest that flavanol-rich cocoa stimulates neurovascular activity, enhancing memory and alertness. I think chocolate should be on the Medicare formulary list.
  • Coincidentally or otherwise, many of the world’s oldest super centenarians, e.g. Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) and Sarah Knauss (1880-1999), were passionately fond of chocolate. Jeanne Calment habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 – three years before her death aged 122. Life-extensionists are best advised to eat dark chocolate like Choclatique Q-91 rather than the kinds of calorie-rich confectionery popular in the US.
  • In the UK, chocolate bars laced with cannabis are popular with many victims of multiple sclerosis. This treatment of psychoactive confectionery remains unlicensed. Yeah man, what the hell, it’s cool in California… anything goes.
  • Chocolate as we know it today dates to the inspired addition of triglyceride cocoa butter by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. The advantage of a butter is that its addition to chocolate sets a bar so that it will readily snap and then melt on the tongue. Cocoa butter begins to soften at around 75º F; it melts at around 97º F. I wonder if anyone ever tried to inject it.
  • Today, chocolates of every description are legal, unscheduled and readily available over the counter. Don’t tell Congress they’ll screw this up, too.
  • Some 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex, though this response may depend on the attributes of the interviewer. Oh, that explains it all.
  • In 2007, a UK study suggested that eating dark chocolate was more rewarding than passionate kissing. More research is needed to replicate this result. I’m waiting, Ladies. I’m still waiting.
  • More than 300 different constituent compounds in chocolate have been identified. Chocolate clearly delivers far more than a brief sugar high. Yet it’s cocktail of psychochemical effects in the central nervous system are poorly understood.

So how does it work? That is the subject of next week exciting Choclatique blog.

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The Appeal of ‘Healthier’ Sweets

Friday, June 10th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

You don’t have to convince a kid to eat a piece of candy. But to help grown-ups justify indulging in a chocolate bar or a handful of jellybeans, candy companies are touting new health benefits of their products. Though health benefits are not the direct reason for consumers to grab up the sweet stuff, it is an added incentive.

At Choclatique, we know that consumers buy candy primarily for the taste, but it does factor in that consumers are more focused on their diets these days and are trying to eat more healthfully. We think it’s more than just an added benefit.

One of the best-known healthful treats is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate makers were among the first to educate consumers on the ‘better for you’ positioning, especially promoting the antioxidant content. But more recently, candy companies offering assorted fruit flavors have been getting in on the health trend as well.

We’ve known for a long time that consumers read labels and look for confections with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors which are the basis for Choclatique products. They’re also interested in candy made without high-fructose corn syrup—using pure cane sugar instead. Now, we are finding many snack and candy companies are promoting products with additional antioxidants. Pomegranate and other fruits big on health benefits have become a popular addition to many candies. Some of the newest flavors of licorice include blueberry and pomegranate made from real juice. Chocolate manufacturers, while still marketing their dark chocolate for its health benefits, have also moved on to chocolate low in sugar or completely sugar-free and the blending of fruits high in antioxidants such as strawberry, orange, blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Pure Power BarsAt Choclatique, we make the Pure Power energy bar. Made with US-grown peanuts, peanut flour, cherries and blueberries, this healthy snack packs over 9 grams of pure protein and is high in antioxidants. Footed with a low sugar chocolate platform, all of the ingredients are commonly found in your own pantry. One great additional benefit is that Pure Power is also Gluten-free.

For some, price is a strong factor with consumers willing to choose a cheaper, less healthy product rather than pay a little more for something more healthful. But now, some health concerns are carrying over to the general public and consumers starting to understand that a piece of chocolate can be more than just a satiating snack. Market research shows that while healthier candies were once only reaching a niche audience… that audience is growing. There are groups, such as baby boomers and young families that are more inclined to look for health benefits than just price alone.

Elephant ChocolatesAt Choclatique, we feature Elephant Chocolate, Q-91 and Private Reserve Dark that are lower in sugar and higher in many of the healthful benefits than milk or white chocolate. We offer the appeal and benefits to a more health conscious consumer with functional chocolates while still maintaining tasteful indulgence.

If you have a passion or even an addiction to the brown stuff, let’s talk… you can look me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Another Shameless Plug: I want to introduce you to my new book, Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique, both the book and the chocolate, are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

Choclatique is the first interactive cookbook. It is sprinkled with ChefSecrets which are highlighted with a QR Code. When you scan the QR Code with your smartphone, it directs you to a video where I demonstrate the “secret” technique. You can also purchase a chocolate tasting kit to compliment the book. Pretty cool!

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Chocolate is Brain Food

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

White HouseWith all the nutritional news coming out of the White House these days, I only have one thing to say to Michelle Obama, “There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.” Cacao beans contain no sugar and only between 12 and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions.

Cacao is remarkably rich in sulfur and magnesium. In fact, the nutritional aspects of cacao show the beans to be the number one source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during certain times of the month. Magnesium is known to balance brain chemistry, builds strong bones and is associated with increased happiness. What’s more, magnesium is the most deficient major mineral in the Standard American Diet—with over 80% of Americans chronically deficient in Magnesium!

Cacao is also high in the “beauty” mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails, hair, shiny skin, detoxifies the liver and supports healthy pancreas functions. Anecdotal reports indicate that cacao consumption can detoxify mercury because it is so high in sulfur content.

Cacao contains small amounts of natural caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than when processed.

Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors). These are different from human digestive enzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors also facilitate staying younger longer and even have powers of rejuvenation. Does this mean a chocolate fountain is the fountain of youth? Well, the jury is still out on this claim.

Phenyethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical compound that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. This is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing one’s focus and alertness.

Recently, a neurotransmitter called anandamide has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as the “Bliss Chemical” because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that the natural cacao anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel better longer when we eat chocolate.

And don’t be so worried about chocolate allergies. A recent study showed that only 1 out of 500 people who thought they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive. Allergies to chocolate are quite rare. It is typically that the person is in fact allergic to nuts, milk and dairy products rather than chocolate.

Q-91 IngotSo, you see there are lots of great reasons to include chocolate in a well balanced diet. At Choclatique, we all enjoy an Ingot or two a day of Q-91, our functional chocolate that is low in sugar and has many of the health benefit listed above.

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Chocolate May Make Some Strokes Less Likely

Thursday, March 11th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

When I was 16 years old my father suffered a debilitating stroke. Having been to the doctor and given a good bill of health only 2 weeks before, it was shock to say the very least. It was something that my family never recovered from. How could someone who was that healthy be lying on the floor? Most experts say the causes for the common stroke are still quite puzzling.

Could chocolate have prevented his stroke? Last week a Harvard study found that a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day might reduce the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, by 52 percent.

There are two types of strokes—ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked. This type of stroke accounts for about 80 percent of all strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain which makes up about 20 percent of all strokes.

The findings were presented last week at the American Heart Association’s conference on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention in San Francisco, California.

According to Dr. Martin Lajous, “The research found that the effects of a rich cocoa (about 9 grams—2 or 3 squares daily—35% cacao at a minimum—we recommend Choclatique Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate 76% cacao) on cardio vascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels.”

The benefit attributed to cocoa stems from substances it contains known as flavonoids, which are believed to help protect against certain cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood clotting.

People who add such things as chocolate or red wine to their diet with the hope of helping to prevent heart disease also need to be aware that they’re taking in additional calories. So mild exercise 3 to 4 times a week is advised. If you start adding weight, you may be giving yourself additional risk factors for stroke and heart disease.

How Do You Recognize Stroke?

Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly. Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with:

 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

 

If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 emergency immediately.

There are now effective therapies for stroke that must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms appear. Every minute counts!

Costs of Stroke to the United States: estimated at $43 billion / year

 

  • Direct costs for medical care and therapy: estimated at about $28 billion / year
  • Indirect costs from lost productivity and other factors: estimated at about $15 million / year
  • Average cost of care for a patient up to 90 days after a stroke: $15,000
  • For 10% of patients, cost of care for the first 90 days after a stroke: $35,000
  • Percentage of direct cost of care for the first 90 days*:

 

  • Initial Hospitalization = 43%
  • Rehabilitation = 16%
  • Physician Costs = 14%
  • Hospital Readmission = 14%
  • Medications And Other Expenses = 13%

SOURCES: Martin Lajous, M.D., doctoral candidate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Keith Siller, M.D., Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Care Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; March 3, 2010, presentation, American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Conference, San Francisco

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Make the Chubbies Go Away

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I have always been a little on the chubby side and in order to keep my weight in check I try to eat well and exercise every day. Joan and I drive by the doughnut store every morning on the way to the Chocolate Studios and I will frequently call her on her cell phone asking her if it’s a “doughnut day.” The usual answer from her is a ‘NO!” Well, that’s the way it comes across, but what she politely says is, “if you really need a doughnut this morning and want to go off you diet then go ahead.” It comes across as a resounding “No, you fat guy, you don’t need another doughnut you’re going to be tasting chocolate all day.”

So this morning I tried a different approach and asked Joan, “Wouldn’t be great if broccoli was bad for you and doughnuts made you thinner and you never had to diet or exercise? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all indulgent foods were really a cure-all?

Dr. LiWell, in recently completed research chocolate may may have been found to be that ambrosia of the gods and companion to wine. The research presented chocolate and red wine are thought to be potent medicines for killing cancer. Red grapes and dark chocolate join blueberries, garlic, soy, and teas as ingredients that starve cancer while feeding bodies according to the Angiogenesis Foundation headed William Li (presented at the prestigious TED Conference). The Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing chemicals that evidently choke-off blood supplies to tumors, starving them to death. “We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities,” Li said. “What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day.” “There is a medical revolution happening all around us,” Li said. “If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies.”

About a dozen drugs are already in use to deprive tumors of blood supplies in a treatment tactic called “anti-angiogenesis.” The foundation pitted some foods against approved drugs and found that soy, parsley, red grapes, berries and other comestibles were either as effective or more potent in battling cancer cells. Eaten together, the foods were even more effective in fighting cancer.

Dr. Li explained that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features. For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatments may be the only solution because not everyone can afford expensive cancer drugs. And why shouldn’t they be for everyone if great tasting foods can get the job done better?

The foundation also discovered that the anti-angiogenesis properties of foods melt away fat, which relies heavily on blood flow to sustain itself. Tests showed that mice genetically prone to be chubby could be trimmed to average mouse size using this approach.

Q-91At Choclatique we make a variety of these high anti-oxidant chocolate offerings from which to choose starting with our Private Reserve Dark (64%), Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%) and Q-91 (91%). All of these dark chocolates provide a “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds that 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. Our dark chocolates are low in sugar and rich in flavanols which now even more physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily dark chocolate habit.

So the next time you feel the need for a doughnut, chocolate chip cookie, or hot fudge nut trifle, don’t feel deprived, satiate your cravings with a piece of a great tasting dark Choclatique chocolate bar.

Update: For additional information check out: http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/index.cfm/do/monsanto.article/articleId/392.cfm

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