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Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money. Montezuma, the famous Aztec emperor, had his vaults filled not with gold but with about 960,000,000 raw cacao beans.

In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree Theobroma cacao, which literally means “cacao, the food of the gods.”

Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.

Sulfur and Magnesium

Cacao is remarkably rich in sulfur and magnesium.

It seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the menstrual period.

Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium.

Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails, hair, beautiful, shiny skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning. Anecdotal reports indicate that cacao detoxifies mercury because it is so high sulfur.

Stimulant or Superfood?

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

Consider the following: Experimental provings of chocolate by Homeopaths indicate its stimulating effect when cooked. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, an excited state of circulation, and an accelerated pulse. Interestingly, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted beans neither effect was noticeable, leading the provers to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting.

MAO Inhibitors

Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) – these are different from digestiveenzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. MAO inhibitors facilitate youthening and rejuvenation.

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-relatedchemical 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 focus and alertness.

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical)

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 natural anandamide and/or cacaoanandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao.

Antioxidants

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Compare the cacao bean to processed cocoa powder (defatted, roasted cacao treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolates which range in flavonol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams per 100 grams in normal chocolate bars to 5,000 milligrams in Mars Corporation’s special Cocoapro cocoa powder. Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa has more Phenolic Phytochemicals and a higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine,” found in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication. Scientists have known that cocoa contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were compared with those in red wine and green tea. The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE. Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:

broccoli – 890
alfalfa sprouts – 930
plums – 949
brussel sprouts – 980
raspberries – 1220
spinach – 1260
strawberries – 1540
kale – 1,770
blackberries – 2036
blueberries – 2,400
raisins – 2,830
prunes – 5,770
dark chocolate – 13,120

The ORAC test examines the antioxidant levels of various foods. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society

Cacao and dark chocolate boost antioxidants; however, the addition of dairy products/milk cancels out the effects of antioxidants. Studies indicate that dairy products specifically block the absorption of all the great antioxidants in chocolate.

Other facts on Raw Cacao beans

  • Raw Cacao is the latest Raw Super Food available on the market today.
  • It is a true super food unlike anything that has come before.
  • As already previously discussed, it is the highest known source of anti-oxidants by a factor of almost 5.
  • It has nearly 20 times the antioxidant levels of red wine and up to 30 times what is found in green tea.
  • In nature, the primary source of Magnesium is cacao (raw chocolate beans).

Raw chocolate is known to have the following properties:

  • Diminishes appetite and aids in weight loss.
  • · Increases sensuality and beauty.
  • · Helps to heal and open the heart.
  • · Nourishes the intellect and attracts prosperity.

The flavor of Raw Cacao is similar to dark, bitter chocolate one would normally buy at a store. It is great just eaten plain, with honey, or in your favorite smoothi. (or blend Cacao Beans with Coconut Oil, Almond Butter and Honey – totally divine).

One of the main differences between raw cacao and the chocolate typically available on the open market (cocoa—a processed substance) is that raw cacao has all the original healthy cacao butter, containing all the original essential fatty acids and amazing taste originally found in the bean. Raw cacao or chocolate should not be confused with other substances such as coco (coconut), kola (a nut whose flavor is used in soft drinks), or coca (the leaf of the plant from which cocaine is derived). Cocoa and cocoa butter are cooked, processed substances derived from raw cacao nibs (orbeans/nuts). All chocolate starts out as raw cacao beans (or nuts —they are actually the seed of the cacao fruit which grows on a tropical tree). Processing, cooking and roasting corrupt the delicate, complex flavor of the cacao nib (bean without the skin). Raw cacao is one of the most, if not the most, nutrient rich and complex foods known to man.

http://www.uncleharrys.com/infobase/product/cacao_beans.php

Picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Cocoa_Pods.JPG/240px-Cocoa_Pods.JPG

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parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the world’s most popular culinary herb is also known as “rock celery” and belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Parsley is one of the world’s seven most potent disease-fighting spices which also include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sage, and Red chili peppers. Parsley grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year. It is a biennial plant which means that it produces seeds during its second year of production and will reseed itself if you let it.

While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was originally used as a medicinal plant (see below) prior to being consumed as a food. Ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased. While it is uncertain when and where parsley began to be consumed as a seasoning, historians think it may be sometime during the Middle Ages in Europe. Some historians credit Charlemagne with its popularization as he had it grown on his estates.

Parsley’s Many Therapeutic Health Benefits Include Its Use For:

· Anemia: Builds up the blood because it is high in iron.  The high vitamin C content assists the absorption of iron.

  • Antioxidant: Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the blood.
  • Bactericidal (kills bacteria)
  • Bad breath
  • Baldness: Believe it or not, men even scrubbed parsley onto their scalps to cure baldness—which doesn’t work.
  • Blood purifier
  • Blood vessel rejuvenation: Maintains elasticity of blood vessels, and helps to repair bruises.
  • Diarrhea is greatly helped by drinking parsley tea.
  • Digestion: Parsley is an excellent digestion restorative remedy. It improves the digestion of proteins and fats therefore promoting intestinal absorption, liver assimilation and storage. Because of its high enzyme content, parsley benefits digestive activity and elimination.
  • Dissolves cholesterol within the veins
  • Diuretic
  • Ear health: Treats deafness and ear infections.
  • Edema: Acts as a diuretic and blood vessel strengthener.
  • Fatigue: Parsley is high in iron so helps repair and provides components for better blood cells.
  • Gallstones: Helps dissolve them.
  • Glandular support of the liver, spleen, kidneys and adrenal glands.
  • Gout
  • Hormonal support: In women, parsley improves estrogen and nourishes and restores the blood of the uterus. Conditions like delayed menstruation, PMS, and the menopause (dry skin, irritability, depression and hair loss) can often improve.
  • Hormone balancing is achieved through the volatile fatty acids contained in parsley.
  • Immune booster: The high vitamin C, beta carotene, B12, chlorophyll and essential fatty acid content render parsley an extraordinary immunity enhancing food. Parsley is an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form and one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body.
  • Inhibits tumor formation, particularly in the lungs.
  • Insect bites: Rub on to relieve the swelling and itch.
  • Jaundice
  • Kidneys: Parsley is effective for nearly all kidney and urinary complaints except severe kidney inflammation. It improves kidney activity and can help eliminate wastes from the blood and tissues of the kidneys. It prevents salt from being reabsorbed into the body tissues; thus parsley literally forces debris out of the kidneys, liver and bladder. It helps improve edema and general water retention, fatigue and scanty or painful urination.
  • Liver congestion: It enriches the liver and nourishes the blood. Parsley helps reduce liver congestion, clearing toxins and aiding rejuvenation.
  • Menstrual irregularity: Parsley helps to make the cycles regular by the presence of apiol which is a constituent of the female sex hormone estrogen.
  • Menstrual pain
  • Night blindness: Bad eyesight is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.
  • Rheumatism
  • Spleen strengthening: The parsley root in particular strengthens the spleen, and can, therefore, treat malabsorption.
  • Stamina loss and low resistance to infection, point to a sluggish liver. This can manifest itself in blood deficiencies, fatigue, a pale complexion and poor nails, dizzy spells, anemia and mineral depletion.
  • Stomach problems
  • Strengthens loose teeth: In the Middle Ages parsley was used for many conditions including ‘fastening teeth’ (Scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, makes the gums spongy and the teeth loose.)
  • Uterine tonic
  • Weight loss benefits from being a diuretic

Nutritional Benefits of Parsley:

Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse containing high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll, calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and just about all other known nutrients. Parsley is a moistening, nourishing, restoring, ‘warming’ food, pungent with a slightly bitter, salty flavor. It enhances and stimulates the energy of organs, improving their ability to assimilate and utilize nutrients.

Beta carotene is used for protein assimilation. This nutrient benefits the liver and protects the lungs and colon. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the “anti-infective vitamin.”

Chlorophyll Parsley is abundant in chlorophyll, thus purifying and inhibiting the spread of bacteria, fungi and other organisms. Chlorophyll from parsley is slightly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which acts to enhance immune response and to relieve mucus congestion, sinusitis and other ‘damp’ conditions. Chlorophyll, high in oxygen, also suppresses viruses and helps the lungs to discharge residues from environmental pollution.

Essential Fatty Acids Parsley is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid that is too frequently deficient in today’s diets.

Fluorine is an important nutritional component abundantly found in parsley. Fluorine has an entirely different molecular structure from chemically-produced fluoride. Tooth decay results from a shortage of fluorine, not fluoride. It is the combination of calcium and fluorine which creates a very hard protective surface on teeth and bones. Fluorine also protects the body from infectious invasion, germs and viruses.

Folic Acid, one of the most important B vitamins, but one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is to convert homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells–the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Iron: The iron content of parsley is exceptional with 5.5mg per100g (4oz). A half-cup of fresh parsley or one tablespoon dried has about 10 percent of your iron daily requirements.  Plus, parsley has the vitamin C your body needs to absorb that iron.

Protein: Parsley is made up of 20% protein. (About the same as mushrooms.)

Vitamin B12 Parsley contains traces of B12 producing compounds. Such compounds are needed for the formation of red blood cells and normal cell growth, important for fertility, pregnancy, immunity and the prevention of degenerative illness. The action of vitamin B12, however, is inhibited by birth control pills, antibiotics, intoxicants, stress, sluggish liver, and excess bacteria or parasites in the colon or digestive tracts. Parsley helps to counteract these inhibitors.

Vitamin K: Getting at least 100 micrograms of Vitamin K a day can drastically cut your risk of hip fracture. Vitamin K is necessary for bones to get the minerals they need to form properly. Parsley is loaded with vitamin K (180 mcg per 1/2 cup). Cooking parsley nearly doubles its Vitamin K.

Vitamin C: Parsley contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, with 166mg per 100g (4oz). This is three times as much as oranges. Flavonoids, which make up the Vitamin C molecule, maintain blood cell membranes, and act as an antioxidant helper.

Volatile oil components – including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Parsley’s volatile oils, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. It acts as an antioxidant that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators).

Parsley also contains calcium (245mg per 100g), phosphorus, potassium (1000mg per 4 oz), manganese (2.7mg per 100g), inositol, and sulphur.

Many of my client’s test they would benefit greatly from eating parsley for all kinds of health problems.

How to Use Parsley:

Top off your sandwiches with it, include it in your salad greens, put it in Tabbouli or better yet, toss it into simmering soups, stews and sauces. We eat it raw in salads and those days when I can’t eat it raw, I often add a couple of parsley capsules to my nutritional supplements.

Parsley juice, as an herbal drink, is quite powerful and is usually taken in quantities of about 2 fl oz (50ml) three times a day and is best mixed with other juices. I noticed that it’s most effective to juice parsley in between other vegetables as the juice is heavy and thick and doesn’t move through some juicers very readily.

Types of Parsley:

The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley.  They are both related to celery. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. Chinese parsley, is actually cilantro.

How to Pick and Care for Parsley:

Whenever possible, choose fresh, dark green, organically grown parsley that looks fresh and crisp over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Avoid bunches that have wilted or yellowed leaves indicating over-mature or damaged produce.

Parsley can be stored loosely wrapped in a damp cloth or plastic bag and refrigerated for up to a week. Wash just before using. If the parsley wilts, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before putting it back in the refrigerator.

The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and plunge it up and down like you would a toilet plunger. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

If you have excess flat-leaved parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. I pre-chop mine (both varieties) and place it on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator where it is warm. Stir it occasionally to allow consistent drying. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place.

Some feel the curly leaved variety is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.

Bon Appétit!

http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/diet_nutrition/ParsleyBenefits.htm

Some believe that parsley leaves can help control bedwetting (enuresis).

Oxalic acid is found in parsley. Oxalic acid prevents calcium absorption and may also contribute to gallstones and kidney stones. For the average person that eats a balanced diet, the small amounts of oxalic acid will not be a health factor. However, those with low calcium health concerns will not want to eat excessive amounts of parsley.

http://www.indepthinfo.com/parsley/health.shtml

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Useful Sites

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100

http://ezinearticles.com/?Health-Benefits-Of-Parsley&id=111028

http://www.ehow.com/how_5395753_benefit-parsley-herb-home-remedies.html

http://hubpages.com/hub/Health-Benefits-Of-Parsley

http://www.crazyfortea.com/parsleytea.html

durian

Durian is an exotic, expensive, and seasonal fruit that has rich content of phytonutrients, antioxidant, protein, vitamins and minerals. Durian can give more spirit and energy to your days because it has high calories and carbohydrate (both are good source of energy). Main ingredients that contribute a lot to the benefits are Organosulfur Compounds and Tryptophan, but there other healthy components like dietary fiber and protein. Yet, durian does not have cholesterol. Many folk medications use durian’s leaves and roots to treat fever.

The Organosulfur has benefits as followed.

  1. To inhibit the formation of blood clots, thus prevent from heart attack and stroke.
  2. To control the inflammatory enzymes, thus also prevent from cardiovascular disease.
  3. To act as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial.
  4. To help you get good complexion, healthy hair, glowing skin, better brain function.
  5. To treat muscles soreness, enhance balance blood sugar, reduce stiffness and pain, and improve joint flexibility.

The tryptophan or L-Tryptophan has benefits as followed.

  1. To treat anxiety, bulimia, depression, insomnia, migraine, nightmares, compulsive disorder, and stress.
  2. To help you get better sleep, especially if you take some calcium with it.
  3. To help the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, premenstrual syndrome, suicidal related depression, and pain release.

Some people can not stand the smell of durian, while the rest love it so much. It tastes like heaven for those who love, even just by smelling the odor will make people curious. Countries in Asia are main producers of durians. They are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Philippine, and some others. There are hundreds variants of durians, but only some are heavily planted and sold. If you buy durians, you would want to choose ones that are big, fresh, fully ripen, and have solid stems. It is usually fully ripen in 2 to 4 days after falling from the tree, the best time to enjoy the flesh.

Health Benefits

  • Raises serotonin levels…Creates an over-all sense of well being and aids in depression.
  • It has a high amount of protein and amino acids (22 out of 24)…Good for muscle building and organ function.
  • High in antioxidants…For anti-aging benefits including enhancing the appearance of your skin.
  • It has the most complete nutritional profile of any fruit…Certain groups of people in Asia live on it, and nothing else, for up to 2 months at a time.
  • It is power packed with nutrients, including essential fatty acids and organo-sulfur compounds…For increased energy, endurance, mental clarity, and cellular health.
  • It enhances libido…It helps revitalize the desire for sexual intimacy
  • Rich history of traditional uses…Anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, Thermogenic, calms fever, aids healing of swelling and skin diseases.

Drinking Durian For Beauty

According to David Wolf’s “Eating for Beauty”

Durian contains high levels of tryptophan. This is an amino acid and a tryptamine (similar to serotonin, melatonin, and DMT). Researchers have discovered that tryptophan helps both anxious, depressed, repressed people, as well as insomniacs. Tryptophan works by raising serotonin levels in the brain. When serotonin levels increase, a euphoric feeling is felt as a free passage is cleared for nerve impulses to travel.

Durian is such a strong blood cleaner that eating a few durian a day can change the odor of urine (urine is filtered out of blood).

What gives durian its strongest beautifying characteristics is its high concentration of raw oleic fats (and vitamin E), sulphur compounds, and soft proteins. Durian actually contains one of the highest concentrations of protein of any fruit, making it an excellent muscle builder.” Organic sulfur

compounds among other properties in durian are very cleansing for the body.

Durian provides “more concentrated healthful energy in food form than any other product the world affords” – to keep the body vigorous and tireless; the mind alert with faculties undimmed; the spirit youthful.

Nutritive Value per 100 g

  • Vitamin A: 20-30 I.U.
  • Ascorbic Acid: 23.9-25.0 mg
  • Vitamin E: “high”
  • Calcium: 7.6-9.0 mg
  • Phosphorus: 37.8-44.0 mg
  • Potassium: 436 mg
  • Thiamine: 0.24-0.352 mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.20 mg
  • Niacin0.6: 83-0.70 mg
  • Iron: 0.73-1.0 mg
  • Sugars(approx.) 12.0 g
  • Protein: 2.5-2.8 g
  • Fat: 5.33g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 30.4-34.1 g
  • Calories: 144

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