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cucumber

Cucumber is a fruit that came from the same family as pumpkin, zucchini and other squashes. It has a dark green rind and white succulent flesh. There are 2 types of cucumbers the pickling varieties and the slicing varieties. The pickling variety is relatively small (2 – 4 inches long).

Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm.

  • Vitamin A 180 I.U.
  • Niacin Trace
  • Vitamin C 9 mg.
  • Calcium 32 mg.
  • Iron 1.8 mg.
  • Phosphorus 27 mg.
  • Potassium 80 mg.
  • Carbohydrates 17 gm.
  • Calories 70

Reported Health Benefits :

  • Cucumber is best natural diuretic known, secreting and promoting the flow of urine.
  • Helps in kidney and urinary bladder disease.
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatic disease
  • The potassium content of cucumber makes it highly useful for conditions of high and low blood pressure.
  • Cucumber contains erepsin, the enzyme that helps to digest protein.
  • The high silicon and sulphur content of the cucumber is said to promote the growth of hair, especially when the juice of the cucumber is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach.
  • A mixture of cucumber juice with carrot juice is said to be beneficial for rheumatic conditions resulting from excessive uric acid in the body.
  • Cucumber juice is also valuable for helping diseases of the teeth, gums, especially in cases of pyorrhea.
  • The high mineral content of this vegetable also helps to prevent splitting of nails of the fingers and toes.
  • Cucumber, radish and bitter gourd are beneficial in diabetes.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Cucumber

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Reported Health Benefits :

  • Cucumber is best natural diuretic known, secreting and promoting the flow of urine.
  • Helps in kidney and urinary bladder disease.
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatic disease
  • The potassium content of cucumber makes it highly useful for conditions of high and low blood pressure.
  • Cucumber contains erepsin, the enzyme that helps to digest protein.
  • The high silicon and sulphur content of the cucumber is said to promote the growth of hair, especially when the juice of the cucumber is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach.
  • A mixture of cucumber juice with carrot juice is said to be beneficial for rheumatic conditions resulting from excessive uric acid in the body.
  • Cucumber juice is also valuable for helping diseases of the teeth, gums, especially in cases of pyorrhea.
  • The high mineral content of this vegetable also helps to prevent splitting of nails of the fingers and toes.
  • Cucumber, radish and bitter gourd are beneficial in diabetes.
  • Many people are ignorant of the immense health benefits of cucumber and would avoid eating cucumber where possible.  Fresh cucumber may taste “bland” to some but its thirst-quenching and cooling properties are refreshing. It acts as an anti-oxidant when taken together with fried and barbequed foods.
  • I like to mix cucumber juice with carrot or orange juices.  Here’s a list of health benefits of cool cucumber:
  • Acidity: The alkalinity of the minerals in cucumber juice effectively helps in regulating the body’s blood pH, neutralizing acidity.  The juice is also soothing for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
  • Blood pressure: Like celery, this colorless drink can help regulate blood pressure because of its minerals and traces of sodium.
  • Connective tissues, building: The excellent source of silica contributes to the proper construction of connective tissues in our body as in the bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
  • Cooling: During dry and hot weather, drink a glass of cucumber + celery juice. It wonderfully helps to normalize body temperature.
  • Diuretic: Cucumber juice is diuretic, encouraging waste removal through urination.  This also helps in the dissolution of kidney stones.
  • Fever: The temperature regulating properties in cucumber juice makes it a suitable drink when you have a fever.
  • Inflammation: The Chinese think that cucumbers are too “cooling” and not suitable for people with rheumatism.  But we know now that cucumber can help counter uric acids that are causing inflammation in joints.  When cucumber is taken it does its cleaning work at the joints, thus stirring up pain as it eliminates the uric acid.  This means it also help other inflamed conditions like arthritis, asthma, and gout.
  • Hair growth: The silicon and sulfur content in cucumber juice makes it especially helpful in promoting hair growth.  Drink it mixed with carrot, lettuce or spinach juice.
  • Puffy eyes: Some people wake up in the morning with puffy eyes, probably due to too much water retention in the body (or having cried to sleep).  To reduce the puffiness, lie down and put two slices of cucumber on the eyes for a good ten minutes.
  • Skin conditions: The high amount of vitamin C
    and anti-oxidants in cucumber makes it an important ingredient in many beauty creams for treating eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.
  • Sunburn: When there is a sunburn, make cucumber juice and rub it on the affected area for a cooling and healing effect.
  • Water retention: It supplies the necessary electrolytes and restores hydration of the body cells, thus reducing water retention.

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/cucumber-benefits.html

See also:

http://www.naturalnews.com/009753.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=42

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/tacio-health-benefits-cucumber

http://herbs.ygoy.com/health-benefits-of-cucumber/

http://healthmad.com/health/the-cucumber-and-its-health-benefits/

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/cucumber-benefits.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_5125565_understand-health-benefits-cucumbers.html

http://www.health-fitness.com.au/cucumber/

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Look At Toenails For CluesTo HealthFor a quick “snapshot” of your health during the past year, bend over and take a look at your toenails.

“Their shape, color, growth rate and susceptibility to pain all offer vital clues that your family doctor or a foot specialist can interpret,” says Michael Schey, D.P.M., a Beaumont Hospitals podiatrist.

Dr. Schey recalls seeing a patient with infected toes and peeling, cracked skin on her feet who had recently lost weight. He urged her to see her family doctor, who confirmed Dr. Schey’s suspicions. The woman had diabetes.

Spoon shape – If downward, cardiopulmonary disease; If upward, psoriasis

Pain – Excessive pain, diabetes, neurological disease, poor circulation, nail deformity, collagen disorder, kidney disease; Lack of pain, neurological disease, diabetes, nerve injury

Color – Blue nail bed, oxygen deficiency, Lou Gehrig’s disease, congestive heart disease; Dark spot under nail, skin cancer

Dr. Schey cautions against self-diagnosis and urges anyone who notes an unusual appearance to his toenails to check with his doctor or to consult a dermatologist or podiatrist.

The Beaumont foot specialist urges everyone to pay attention to their toenails, noting any changes in texture, shape and color, including unusual growth, pitting or holes in the nails and dark brown streaks beneath the nails. He also stresses that foot and toenail problems may be avoided by:

* Keeping the feet dry. This may be accomplished through the use of frequent stocking changes and/or synthetic socks that wick moisture away from the skin, especially when wearing athletic shoes. Avoid wearing the same shoes everyday.

* Clipping or filing the nails to avoid sharp corners that can ingrow or cut adjacent toes.

* Not removing the cuticles or cleaning too deeply under the nails, which can lead to infection

* Avoiding self-care for ingrown toenails. Seek help from a professional.

http://www.emaxhealth.com/2/57/31271/look-toenails-clues-health.html

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

gotukola

Gotu Kola comprises a rich amount of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The principal bio-active chemical constituent of gotu kola is saponin. It is believed that this herb improves brain function and the mental ability as well as improves memory and learning performance. The herb heals chronic wounds, varicose vein, stomach ulcers, skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis or leprosy, dreaded viral infections i.e. hepatitis and syphilis.

Asiatic pennywort, Gotu Kola,  (English), Bacopa monniera,  Chi-hsueh Ts’ao, man t’ien hsing, Brahmi, Brahma-manduki, Bemgsag, (Hindi), Mandooka Parni (Sanskrit), Vallarai keerai (Tamil), Centella asiatica (botanical name) family, Umbelliferae is commonly found near river banks, water streams or water ponds or reservoirs. This herbaceous plant grows well in moist soil conditions. The perennial herb is abundantly found in swampy, tropical regions. You can easily identify this slender, long stemmed creeping plant and its small, kidney shaped (reniform) lobed, green leaves as well as its pinkish red or white flowers. The plant has no taste or smell.

Nutritional Values

The herb comprises rich amount of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). This will help you to convert carbohydrates into glucose as well as to improve the functioning of your nervous system. It has also good amount of vitamin K. It has an excellent source of minerals i.e. calcium, magnesium, sodium, manganese and zinc.

Bio-active Chemical constituents (Phytochemicals)

The principal bio-active chemical constituent of gotu kola is saponin. The two saponins present in this plant are brahmoside and brahminoside. The saponins restrict from excessive formation of scars. The triterpenoids comprises asiaticoside, madecassoside and madasiatic acid. It also has two triterpene acids i.e. brahmic acid and isobrahmic acid; betulic acid and stigmasterol. The tripene acids show excellent wound healing properties. The plant also comprises important amino acids i.e. asparate, glutamate, serine, threonine, alanine, lysine and histidine. The other bio-active chemical constituents are sugar, glycosides, sterols, alkaloids (hydrocotyline), tannin, and few other inorganic salts

Medicinal Values

In India the roots, stems and leaves has been traditionally used as an herb for treating acute and chronic diseases for thousands of years. The indigenous Siddha system of medicine recognizes gotu kola as ‘Kaya Kalpa’ or ‘elixirs of life’. Many of the ‘Ayurvedic Rasayana’ preparations use gotu kola as an important ingredient. The traditional physicians of ancient Indian have recognized the plant’s ability in healing chronic wounds, varicose vein, stomach ulcers, skin disorders i.e. eczema, psoriasis or leprosy, dreaded viral infections i.e. hepatitis and syphilis. The herb has ability to balance your excessive BP to near normal level. It is highly recommended as a de-worming agent. The herb is also prescribed as an expectorant since it clears phlegm from your respiratory system.

It is a tonic and has ability to tone up your muscular tissues. . It improves hemoglobin percentage, RBC, serum cholesterol and blood sugar in your blood. It activates fast growth of your hair, skin and even nails. It is identified as an excellent brain and nerve stimulant. It is believed that this herb improves brain function and the mental ability as well as improves memory and learning performance. You are able to overcome easily all your negative effects related with fatigue and stress. The herb has potentials to improve I.Q. among children. It is also recommended for mentally retarded children. People often compare this herb with Chinese ginseng.

http://healthmad.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-gotu-kola-brahmi-or-vallarai/

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Uses

Nutrition
Rich in Vitamin B, it can be eaten as a salad or vegetable dish.
Folkloric
· Infectious hepatitis, measles, respiratory tract infections – colds, tonsillitis, laryngopharyngitis, bronchitis.
· Fresh material: 60 to 260 gms, dried material: 30 to 60 gms: Take in form of decoction.
· Counterirritant: Pound fresh leaves, mix with vaseline or oil and apply over affected area as poultice.
• Wounds and sore: The sap of the leaves is used on wounds and skin sores.
• In many folkloric systems, used for tuberculosis, syphilis, dysentery, hypertension, venous extremity probolems and common cold.
· In India and Fiji, roots used forskin inflammation, to improve blood circulation, to treat bloating, congestion and depression.
· Also considered to be a brain and memory stimulant, used for Alzheimer’s disease and senility.
• In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, used for depression and anxiety.
• In Sri Lanka and Madagascar, used for a variety of mental and neurological problems.

Studies

Anxiolytic: Rat studies have shown decrease in locomotor activity, enhanced maze performance and attenuated started response. This placebo- controlled studysuggest Gotu Kola has anxiolytic activity in humans as shown by the ASR (acoustic startle response).
Bactericidal: In vitro study on the effect of CA on enteric pathogens. The alchol extract was bactericidal against V cholera, Shigella spp, and Staph aureus and suggests further studies in its potential as an antidiarrheal drug.
Wound Healing: Study on albino rats showed the leaf extract of CA significantly promoted wound healing and was able to overcome the wound-healing suppression of dexamethasone.
Antioxidant: Study showed CA extract and power may ameliorate H202-induced oxidative stress by decreasing lipid peroxidation.
Immunomodulatory: Study revealed immunomodulatory activity of C asiatica and R nasutus extracts in both non-specific cellular and humoral immune responses. Results suggest a chemoproventive or anticancer potential.
Nerve Regeneration: Study indicates components in CA ethanolic extract may be beneficial for accelerating repair of damaged neurons.
Scleroderma: Single study found gotu kola decreased joint pain and skin hardening and improved finger movement. source
Periodontal Healing : Study results indicate that the combined use of extracts of CA and P granatum pericarp significantly reduced the clinical signs of chronic periodontitis.
Larvicidal: Crude extract of leaves of CA showed larvicidal and adult emergence inhibition against mosquite Cules quinquefasciatus, possibly through various biogically active compounds–phenolics, terpenoids and alkaloids.

http://www.stuartxchange.org/TakipKohol.html

Gotu kola is a perennial creeper found in swampy areas of the tropics and subtropical areas worldwide. Gotu kola is also known as Centella asiatica, Indian pennywort, marsh penny, white rot, thick-leaved pennywort, hydrocotyle, Indian water navelwort, and talepetrako.

Gotu kola is a tasteless, odorless plant that thrives in and around water. It has clusters of red flowers and bears fruit. The leaves and stems of the gotu kola plant are used for medicinal purposes.

Gotu kola contains triterpenoid saponins (asiaticocide, brahmoside, thankuniside, madecasosside), volatile oils, bitter principles (vellarin), alkaloids (hydrocotyline), flavonoids, an alkaloid hydrocotyline, amino acids, resins, tannins, sugars, manganese, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin A.

The triterpenoid saponins have antioxidant benefits and an ability to stimulate collagen synthesis for tissue regeneration. These saponins may increase collagen formation and also to have anti-inflammatory effects.

They prevent excessive scar formation by inhibiting the production of collagen at the wound site. Triterpenes also help to keep blood vessels strong and assist in producing essential neurotransmitters.

Medicinal uses and health benefits of gotu kola

When applied externally, gotu kola expediates the healing of burns, wounds, and various skin irritations by stimulating the production of keratin in the skin.

Taken internally, gotu kola is widely used to minimize varicose veins, boost memory, sharpen the mind in general, and stall memory loss related to Alzheimer’s disease. Gotu kola is most useful in building healthy connective tissue, thereby reducing formation of scar tissue.

The triterpenoids in gotu kola aid in wound healing, support faster healing of skin sores, wounds, and cuts. Because of these properties, gotu kola has been used externally for burns, psoriasis, prevention of scar formation, and treatment of external fistulas.

Gotu kola may help improve blood flow in leg veins and may help with blood vessel damage and nerve damage caused by diabetes.

Gotu kola improves the strength and tone of blood vessels and may help to improve vein problems, particularly varicose veins, haemorrhoids, spider veins and skin ulcers. Gotu kola has also been used reduce edema in patients with diabetes and in at-risk patients during long flights.

Gotu kola is an excellent mental stimulant. Gotu kola dilates the peripheral blood vessels, so mental performance is improved through increased blood flow to the brain. It relieves mental fatigue and senility, and aids the body in defending itself against toxins.

http://www.dailynutritionals.com/gotu-kola.html

The health benefits of gotu kola are quite extensive. Gotu Kola in its various forms has been used extensively over several thousand years in treating a lot of physical conditions like syphilis, hepatitis, stomach ulcers, mental fatigue, epilepsy, and diarrhea. Herbalists and natural medicine practitioners strongly believe that Gotu Kola has several curative qualities. There are a huge number of them who uphold that the Gotu Kola herb has properties that help reduce fever and relieve congestion caused by colds and upper respiratory tract infections.

Women have been using Gotu Kola for the purposes of birth control, and some herb specialists have established that Gotu Kola is an antidote for poison mushrooms and arsenic poisoning. They also claim that Gotu Kola preparations can be used to treat snakebites, herpes, fractures, and sprains.

Traditionally Gotu Kola benefits include the herb being used to treat some extremely serious conditions like syphilis, rheumatism, leprosy and mental illness. It is also used to stimulate urination and to relieve physical and mental exhaustion, eye diseases, inflammation, asthma, high blood pressure, liver disease, dysentery, urinary tract infections, eczema, and psoriasis.

During the recent past, Gotu Kola has gained popularity as a natural remedy for disorders that cause connective tissue swelling such as scleroderma, psoriatic arthritis (arthritis occurring in conjunction with psoriasis), anklylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine), and rheumatoid arthritis. However, its use in connection with these conditions is not supported by clinical trials.

More recent studies confirm many of Gotu Kola’s traditional uses and also suggest possible new applications for Gotu Kola, such as lowering high blood pressure, treating venous insufficiency (pooling of blood in the veins, usually in the legs), boosting memory and intelligence, easing anxiety, and speeding the healing of wounds and burns.

While treating stress-related disorders like panic attacks and problems related to anxiety Gotu Kola has shown some extremely remarkable results. Scientists have established that compounds in Gotu Kola known as triter-pene acids bind to receptors in your central nervous system and reduce your startle response.

One of the many benefits of Gotu Kola include its effectiveness in treating various skin conditions and it is also felt to be very helpful in the treatment of cellulite and keloids. The hardening of connective tissue cells below the skin’s surface causes cellulite and Gotu Kola seems to be very effective in slowing down this process. Having said the above, it should be noted that it isn’t possible for cellulite to go away just by taking a few Gotu Kola capsules. The Gotu Kola herb is highly beneficial mainly because it contains certain substances and properties that work on the general strengthening and toning effect on the connective tissue. By itself it might not work wonders but can certainly contribute towards cellulite reduction when combined with diet, exercise, and massages.

http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/benefits-of-gotu-kola.html

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Benefits of Gotu Kola

The benefits of Gotu Kola come from a slender creeping plant. The herb grows in the swampy areas of India, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. Its Latin name is Centella Asiatica.
Gotu Kola is also grown in Australia, South America, and even the south eastern United States.

Uses For Gotu Kola

Some uses for Gotu Kola include the reduction of fatigue, the strengthening of memory, and in treating venous insufficiency. Varicose veins, circulation, and wound healing are also aided by Gotu Kola.
The benefits of gotu kola help increase longevity, prevents memory loss, and it is also used as an aphrodisiac. Substances called Triterpenoid Saponis in Gotu Kola aid in wound healing; this is done by decreasing venous pressure in venous insufficiency.

Benefits of Gotu Kola

Asiatocide and madecassoside have anti-inflammatory properties and may promote wound healing by stimulating collagen and glycosaminoglycan synthesis. The herb has preventative and therapeutic effects on gastrointestinal ulcers.

Gotu Kola be anti-ulcer, as a result of the strengthening action on gastric mucosal lining, and the suppressing of free radical damage. The herb has been used as a sedative, an anticonvulsant, and analgesic (pain reliever). Gotu Kola may also have antibacterial activity against various bacteria, such as pseudo moans, pyocyaneus, trichidermia, and mentogrophytes.

Other areas that might benefit from the use of Gotu Kola include aging, arteriosclerosis, depression, and headaches. High blood pressure, hypoglycemia, chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins and wound healing can all be helped with the use of Gotu kola.

Further benefits of Gotu Kola

The herb Gotu kola is known widely for promoting healthy skin, and helping in the aid of skin irritations, such as burns, scar tissue, psoriasis, and similar conditions.

Studies have shown recently that Gotu Kolait can have further benefits benefits than the ones mentioned, such as improving mental acuity, combating and aiding in memory deterioration, and improving ones blood flow by strengthening numerous blood vessels.

Many other herbs don’t have much information on them, however, the benefits of gotu kola benefits are shown in various clinical studies.

A book we recently came across from Reader’s Digest called “The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs” says that: “In one study, 30 developmentally disabled children were found to have significantly better concentration and attention after taking gotu kola for 12 weeks…” and “In more than a dozen studies observing gotu kola’s effects on veins…about 80% of patients with varicose veins and similar problems showed substantial improvement.”

As you can see from above, studies are shown that that the herb has some excellent
benefits for ones health.

Known Side Effects From The Herb

The herb is not an essential nutrient, and because of this, there is no RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) set for this particular herb. We have found some side effects related to this herb, however, they are very rare. Some side effects we did come across are: extra sensitivity to sunlight and more susceptible to headaches. When the herb is applied on the skin, gotu kola can cause rashes on certain individuals.

If you are looking to supplement with Gotu, stay with a reasonable dosage of around 75 mgs to 100 mgs.

Women who are Pregnant or nursing should avoid taking gotu kola extract, unless advised otherwise from their physician. Medical experts advise against using gotu kola if you have a history of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell skin cancer, or melanoma. People with liver disease should also avoid gotu kola.

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Nutritional-Benefits-of-Gotu-Kola&id=390993

onion

Onion is being used for centuries not just to add flavor to foods but also for its therapeutic properties. Onion have an antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some people mixed vinegar with onion juice and apply it in their freckles and warts, it is believed that it can remove/reduce this skin problems.

Nutritive Values of Onions : Per 100 gm.

  • Vitamin A : 50 I.U.
  • Vitamin B :
  • Vitamin C : 9 mg.
  • Calcium : 32 mg.
  • Phosphorus : 44 mg.
  • Potassium : 300 mg.
  • Carbohydrates : 10.3 gm.
  • Protein : 1.4 mg.
  • Calories : 45

Onion is Benenificial in the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Influenza
  • Colds
  • Tuberculosis
  • Insomnia
  • Pneumonia
  • Antiallergy
  • Obesity
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Slightly laxative
  • High Blood Pressure

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Prolong longevity
  • Helps destroy worms and other parasites.
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tube)
  • Neuritis (inflammation of the nerves)
  • Vertigo (inflammation of nerves)
  • Diuretic (increases the secretion of urine)
  • Diabetes mellitus – lowers blood sugar.
  • Valuable for the hair, nails of the fingers and toes, and for the eyes.
  • Sinus conditions – helps to drain mucus from the cavities and loosen phlegm.
  • Whether fresh or cooked onions have antiplatelet, adhesiveness, thus preventing thrombosis.

cacao treeYou may be surprised to learn that cocoa is actually a FRUIT – and even more surprised to learn that it is actually one of the most healthy fruits commonly eaten by man!

Recent research studies have shown a link between cocoa and cardiovascular health, with reduced risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.

Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.

Raw cocoa has the highest antioxidant value of all the natural foods in the world!

The ORAC score per 100 grams of unprocessed raw cacao is 28,000, compared to 18,500 for Acai Berries, 1,540 for Strawberries, and only 1,260 for raw Spinach. The ORAC score for a typical manufactured Dark Chocolate is an impressive 13,120 – although one unique, organic, and non-roasted brand of Dark Chocolate has a much higher ORAC score. But for Milk Chocolate the ORAC score is much lower at 6,740.

Cocoa also appears to have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. And cocoa is a good source of the minerals magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese; plus some of the B Vitamins.

When heart problems occur, magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person’s diet.

Cocoa has a high content of the “beauty” mineral, sulfur. Sulfur helps build strong nails and hair, promotes healthy and beautiful skin, helps detoxify the liver, and supports healthy functioning of the pancreas.

Fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of bioflavonoid called flavanols which are strong antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood flow and blood pressure. The heart-healthy flavanols in cocoa, especially the epicatechins, prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries.

Flavanols help make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes – without the negative side effects associated with the use of aspirin (ASA) and other pharmaceutical blood-thinners.

Cocoa beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams – or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level! When it comes to supplying your body with effective antioxidants, no other natural food can even come close. No exotic super-fruit like Acai berries, no high-antioxidant fruits like prunes or blueberries, and no vegetables. The antioxidants in cocoa are easily absorbed by the human body, and are more stable and long-lasting than those in any other foods.

Cocoa also contains the amino acid Tryptophan which makes the neurotransmitter known as serotonin, which promotes positive feelings and helps keep us from feeling depressed. Cocoa contains the neurotransmitters dopamine, and phenylethylamine (PEA), and contains anandamide and MAO Inhibitors – which make this heart-healthy food a healthy food for the brain too.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) helps promote mental alertness and the ability to concentrate. The PEA in healthy chocolate can be of help to students taking tests, and to senior citizens who want to retain the mental capacity of a younger person and postpone the onset of dementia.

Studies have indicated that consuming dark chocolate produced an increased sensitivity to insulin (which indicates a protective effect against diabetes).

While you may have believed that cocoa and chocolate were “bad for you”, the truth is that THE RIGHT KIND OF CHOCOLATE provides many health benefits that make it not only “good for you” but better for your body than most of the fruits and vegetables your mother made you eat when you were a child.

Eating a healthy dark chocolate provides a sweet, sensual, sin-free pleasure, as well as some significant health benefits. A heart-felt gift of healthy dark chocolate to a loved one offers a heart-warming, delightfully delicious treat, as well as a super heart-healthy food that promotes a longer and healthier life.

If the pharmaceutical industry managed to produce a patented product that offered all the health benefits of cocoa, they would likely proclaim it a “miracle drug”! But since cocoa is widely available, is relatively inexpensive, and does not require you to pay for a doctor’s prescription nor pay fees to a dispensing pharmacy, you are not likely to hear many members of the medical establishment recommending chocolate for its many health benefits.

You may also be surprised to learn that dark chocolate can help you lose weight! Because it has appetite-suppressant properties, cocoa is often added to weight loss products to help control hunger.

While you may have been told that chocolate is “fattening”, the truth is that the fats found in cocoa butter are actually healthy fats! Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which is also found in olive oil and is believed to raise the level of the “good cholesterol” known as HDL cholesterol (the acronym HDL stands for “High Density Lipid”).

Healthy chocolate can be of great benefit to tobacco smokers – but not just because they need lots of the antioxidants which neutralize the free radicals generated by the toxic compounds in tobacco smoke. A recent study in Switzerland indicated that dark chocolate may help prevent hardening of the arteries.

A 2006 clinical study by Swiss researchers found that within minutes of consuming dark chocolate, their test group of 20 smokers experienced a significant improvement in the function of the endothelial cells which line the artery walls. Smoking tobacco has long been linked to hardening of the arteries and an increase in the production of clot-forming platelets in the blood.

Raw cocoa beans contain over 300 chemically identifiable compounds. This makes cocoa one of the most complex food substances on Earth!

List of Healthy Substances Found in Raw Chocolate (Theobroma Cacao)

Many of the natural chemical compounds in raw cocoa or cacao beans and in organic dark chocolate have been discussed in scientific literature as being pharmacologically significant to health. Here is a partial list of these active substances in natural organic chocolate (and more are discussed below).

  • Anandamide (a neurotransmitter known as “the bliss chemical”)
  • Arginine (nature’s aphrodisiac)
  • Dopamine (a neurotransmitter)
  • Epicatechins (antioxidants)
  • Magnesium (for healthy heart function)
  • Serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter)
  • Tryptophan (anti-depressant amino acid)
  • Phenylethylamine (PEA) (controls the ability to focus attention and stay alert)
  • Polyphenols (antioxidants)
  • Histamine
  • Tyramine
  • Salsolinol

Magnesium – the Mineral Your Heart Needs

Is dark chocolate good for your heart? Research by Dr. Bernard Jensen indicates that the heart muscle requires these two minerals more than any other minerals: Magnesium and Potassium. In the heart muscle Magnesium is concentrated eighteen times greater than in the bloodstream. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and the heartbeat.

The overall strength and vigor of the heart muscle and its ability to pump effectively is enhanced by the presence of Magnesium, and this important mineral also decreases blood coagulation and thus can lower blood pressure.

Magnesium also balances brain chemistry, and helps build strong bones.

When heart problems occur, Magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person’s diet.

Eighty percent of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. This deficiency is linked to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, and PMT.

Cocoa beans and organic dark chocolate are the #1 best food sources of this heart-supporting mineral, Magnesium. Can you see how a guilt-free daily dose of Magnesium-rich healthy chocolate could actually help lower your risk of heart disease?

Anti-Depressant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. These are three well-studied neurotransmitters which help alleviate depression and are associated with feelings of well-being.

Cocoa contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) which help improve our mood because they allow serotonin and dopamine to remain in the bloodstream longer without being broken down.

Cocoa also contains anandamide which stimulates blissful feelings. Cocoa also contains B vitamins, which are associated with brain health.

Vascular Health Promoting Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Nitric Oxide (NO)

One research study discovered that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (a chemical compound designated as NO, where N = 1 Nitrogen atom, and O = 1 Oxygen atom). Nitric oxide or NO is a critical component in healthy blood flow and blood pressure control.

Vascular diseases, including Erectile Dysfunction (ED) which is common in men over age 40, are connected to the inability of an artery to make the simple but fundamental chemical called nitric oxide (NO). It appears that flavanols help reverse that problem. Thus eating healthy chocolate might help men over 40 to enjoy a more active sex life without having to rely on expensive drugs like Viagra™ or Celebrex™ or those many herbal concoctions which are touted in millions of unwanted emails.

Another research study showed that a type of bioflavonoid called flavanols in cocoa prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries. Flavanols also make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots.

Researchers are excited by the potential of flavanols to ward off vascular disease, which can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and even dementia.

Antioxidant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Scientists have known for years that cocoa/cacao contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were in comparison to those found in two other healthy foods – red wine and green tea.

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of flavonoid called flavanols (not flavOnols) which are very strong antioxidants. Cocoa/cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams – or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level!

Recent research has demonstrated that the antioxidants found in cacao beans are highly stable and easily available to the human metabolism. Of all known foods, cacao is also the ONLY food which does NOT lose its Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) over significant periods of time. This makes cocoa both the most POTENT source of antioxidants and a source of the most USABLE antioxidants found in any natural food.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and keep them from damaging the DNA and mitochondria of the body’s cells, which is a major cause of many degenerative diseases, cancer tumors, heart disease, and premature aging. Cells with damaged DNA cannot reproduce healthy new cells, but will reproduce damaged or malignant cells.

Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants 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“, published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication.

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, NY, state the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids.

A class of flavonoids known as flavanols or flavan-3-ols includes: catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin. All three are found naturally in the cocoa bean. (Note that flavanols are NOT the same as another very similar-sounding class of flavonoids known as flavonols, which includes: myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.)

The Cornell researchers 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.

By comparison, 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate delivers as many antioxidants as five ounces of red wine.

That makes cocoa one of the richest sources of antioxidants in any food!

Compare the raw cocoa bean’s 10,000 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams to other forms of commercial chocolate…
Processed cocoa powder (defatted and roasted cocoa beans treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolate candy range in flavanol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams of normal chocolate bars, to a concentration of 5,000 milligrams (5 grams) of flavanols per 100 grams of Cocoapro cocoa powder from the Mars Corporation.

Neither comes close to the high concentration of flavanol antioxidants in raw cocoa/cacao beans – 10 grams of flavanols per 100 grams.

ORAC Score – A Measure of Antioxidant Quality

The current standard for testing and measuring the antioxidant properties of various foods is called the ORAC Score. ORAC is an abbreviation for “Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity” – which is a measure of the amount of free radicals that can be neutralized by a certain mass of a food substance (usually cited as “per gram” or “per 100 grams” of the food substance).

The higher the ORAC score, the higher the concentration of antioxidants present in the food. (Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society.)

Free radicals are molecules that are missing one or more electrons and are therefore chemically imbalanced with a positive electrical charge. They are created in several kinds of chemical reactions which take place in our bodies, such as when we burn energy by working our muscles. To balance their charge, these radical molecules will seek to attract or “steal” electrons from other molecules – including the molecules which make up the DNA in your body’s cells which is the blueprint for producing new cells, and the mitochondria in your cells which create the energy to sustain the cells.

Cells with damaged mitochondria are weak and have lower energy and less resistance to disease. When the DNA of a cell is damaged by the action of free radicals, the result is the creation of imperfect new cells – or even malignant new cells which form tumors and cancers.

Free radicals are the cause of most degenerative diseases, premature aging, and the creation of cancer cells.

Antioxidants are molecules which have one or more extra electrons and are chemically imbalanced with a negative electrical charge, so they can attract and “donate” an electron to a positively-charged free radical molecule, which balances its electrical charge and thus neutralizes it. So that “thieving” radical molecule which is now electrically balanced no longer needs to “steal” electrons from the molecules which form our body’s cells.

Thus the more antioxidant molecules we have in our body, the more free radicals are neutralized, and the less damage is done to our cells. By preventing the damage to our DNA and mitochondria, antioxidants can stop and even reverse the aging process, and help prevent all kinds of degenerative diseases and cancers.

The ORAC value rates the capacity of the substance to prevent oxidation, i.e. its effectiveness as an antioxidant. It might help to compare the oxidation of molecules in our body to the oxidation of iron in an automobile – which we call “rusting”. Oxidized or “rusted” iron becomes brittle and weak, and eventually breaks down into a reddish-brown dust known as iron oxide. You could say that our bodies are “rusting out” from oxidation by free radicals! Ashes to ashes, and rust to dust!

But our bodies can be protected from this rusting by the antioxidants we get from eating natural foods which have a high ORAC value. Many natural foods have been supplying human bodies with those protective antioxidants since we first evolved, but the problem today is that we are not eating many natural foods! We consume far too many processed foods and junk foods which have had the protective antioxidants proocessed out of them! So we suffer more and more from many diseases such as cancer and heart disease, which were relatively rare problems for our ancestors who were eating nothing but whole foods fresh from the farm.

It’s very difficult today to avoid eating processed foods with inferior nutritional value, but we can at least try to eat enough whole foods (like cocoa or high-antioxidant fruits) or health supplements that supply us with enough antioxidants to protect us from degenerative diseases and the ravages of aging. We don’t have to grow old before our time, or suffer painful ailments, or die from horrible diseases that could have been prevented.

While the general public may be aware that they need to eat more raw fruits to get a good supply of antioxidants, the fruits most commonly eaten by North Americans are fairly low on the ORAC scale. Cantaloupe, banana, apple, apricot, peach, pear, and watermelon all have an ORAC score of less than 251 per 100 grams. No wonder the average North American is not getting enough antioxidants in his or her daily diet.

Even milk chocolate with its ORAC score of 6,740 provides significantly more antioxidants per gram than most of the commonly consumed fruits and vegetables – and more than even the top scoring fruits like prunes (5,770), pomegranate (3,307), blueberries (2,400) and blackberries (2,036).

The daily diet of the average North American only scores 1,000 to 1,500 on the ORAC scale. Nutrition experts tell us that it should be at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC. Some say it should be even more than 5,000.

Eating healthy chocolate, with its super-high ORAC value, can be an efficient and enjoyable way to boost your daily dose of antioxidants and reduce the ravages of free radicals.

Be careful not to assume that ALL organic chocolate or dark chocolate products (or any processed food product) are “healthy” just because they claim to contain ingredients which are known to have a high ORAC score. It does NOT necessarily mean that the finished product you are consuming will have a high ORAC score too.

There are several factors that can affect the actual ORAC score of a finished food product such as dark chocolate:

(1) how it is processed (excessive heat can destroy flavanols and reduce the amount of available antioxidants, which lowers the ORAC value),
(2) how much of the high ORAC ingredients are actually in the product,
(3) how some ingredients affect the ORAC score of other ingredients (e.g. adding milk to cocoa lowers its effective ORAC score to a little more than half because dairy products tend to block the absorption of the antioxidant flavanols in the cocoa).

Only ONE company (which markets a variety of truly healthy chocolate products) actually dares to show you an independent laboratory’s ORAC score per serving of its finished products right on their packaging (see “The Healthiest Chocolate” below) – so “what you see is what you get”.

For the reasons given above, all other chocolate makers seem unwilling to let you know the actual ORAC score of the products they are selling you. One might wonder if their effective ORAC score is too low to really be considered a “healthy” chocolate product?

Table of ORAC Values for Common Foods

Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.

  • Unprocessed Raw Cacao – ORAC 28,000
  • Acai Berries* – ORAC 18,500
  • Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
  • Milk Chocolate – ORAC 6,740
  • Prunes – 5,770
  • Wolfberry Juice – 3,472
  • Pomegranates – 3,307
  • Raisins – 2,830
  • Blueberries – 2,400
  • Blackberries – 2,036
  • Garlic – 1,939
  • Kale – 1,770
  • Cranberries – 1,750
  • Strawberries – 1,540
  • Tahitian Noni Juice – 1,506
  • Raw Spinach – 1,260
  • Raspberries – 1,220
  • Brussels Sprouts – 980
  • Plums – 949
  • Alfalfa Sprouts – 930
  • Steamed Spinach – 909
  • Broccoli – 890
  • Beets – 840
  • Avocado – 782
  • Oranges – 750
  • Red Grapes – 739
  • Red Bell Pepper – 710
  • Cherries – 670
  • Pink Grapefruit – 495
  • Kidney Beans – 460
  • Onion – 450
  • Corn – 400
  • Cauliflower – 385
  • Frozen Peas – 375
  • Potato – 300
  • Cabbage – 295
  • Banana – 210
  • Carrot – 200
  • Apple – 207
  • Tomato – 195
  • Peach – 170
  • Lima Beans – 136
  • Pear – 110

(*ORAC for Acai as determined by Brunswick Laboratories, USA.)

This will be important new information for millions of children and teenagers who hate the taste of brussel sprouts or broccoli. Now they can advise Mom that dark chocolate is a much healthier alternate source of antioxidants!

When comparing the antixodidant value (ORAC value) of foods you may actually be eating on a regular basis, another consideration is antioxidant value per calorie. What foods provide a healthy source of antioxidants without also providing too many calories from carbs and fats? Dark chocolate, in spite of the sweetener added to overcome the bitterness of raw cocoa, is actually one of the better providers of antioxidants per calorie!

One hundred grams of healthy dark chocolate (more than you would normally eat) provides 13,120 ORAC units of antioxidants and 552 calories of energy – which works out to 24 ORAC units per calorie.

That gives dark chocolate a better ORAC/calorie ratio than brussels sprouts (23), beets (20), plums (17), oranges (16), cauliflower (15), cherries (13), onions (12), cabbage (12), red grapes (10), tomato (9), head lettuce (9), string beans (6), potato (5), frozen peas (5), corn (5), carrot (5), apple (4), tofu (3), baked beans (3), pear (2), banana (2), or lima beans (1). In other words, if you are looking to increase your antioxidant intake from natural fruits and vegetables while consuming the least calories, eating a healthy dark chocolate is actually a lower-calorie source than all the common foods in this list!

And the ORAC per calorie ratio for dark chocolate (24) is about the SAME as two of the top antioxidant fruits – prunes (24) and raspberries (25). So it’s not necessary to worry about getting too many calories when consuming healthy dark chocolate as`a supplemental source of antioxidants, because you don’t need to eat very much dark chocolate`to absorb more antioxidants than you would get from many common fruits`and vegetables!

Can Chocolate Help You Be Happy?

We have all heard how chocolate can be a “comfort food” to help us cope with stress and depression and general unhappiness. There might actually be some connection between chocolate and happiness, when we look at certain chemicals which are found naturally in the cocoa/cacao bean and which can affect parts of the brain.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) in Cocoa

PEA is a chemical found in cocoa/cacao beans which increases the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in certain areas of the brain which control the ability to focus attention and stay alert. Elevated PEA levels occur naturally when we are captivated by a movie or good book, or are wholly focused on a project or task – when we lose track of time and are not consciously unaware of what is happening around us.

PEA is found in higher levels in the brains of happy people. Cocoa or dark chocolate has been found to contain up to 2.2 percent PEA (phenylethylamine).

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical) in Cocoa

Anandamide (or n-arachidonoylethanolamine) is a neurotransmitter which has been isolated in cocoa in quantities which are significant enough to affect the brain. Anandamide is a cannabinoid naturally found in the human brain. Anandamide is a lipid (a fat) known as “the bliss chemical” because it is released when we are feeling good. (Anandamide is the English spelling; anandamine is the French spelling.)

It is true that anandamide has a similar effect to the compound THC in cannabis (marijuana), but it acts in a different way; acts only on certain groups of brain cells and not the whole brain; and thus creates blissful feelings with much less intensity.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) in Cocoa/Cacao

These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed, by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters such as anandamide, dopamine and others to circulate in the brain. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors facilitate anti-aging and rejuvenation.

MAO inhibitors make one feel younger when they allow more neurotransmitters to remain in the bloodstream. A primary phenomenon that differentiates children from adults is the level of neurotransmitters in the blood and bodies of children. In general, as one lives longer and longer the level of neurotransmitters decreases. This leads to less creativity, less joy, more physical rigidity – and more rapid aging!

Cocoa, with its supply of MAO inhibitors, helps keep plenty of neurotransmitters in circulation, and thus helps prevent this unhappy phenomenon from occurring. “Think young – you’ll have more fun!”

Now that you have learned how cocoa contains PEA, Anandamide, and MAO Inhibitors, and learned about the happy effects these chemicals can produce, can you see how real chocolate might deserve to be called “the happiest food”?

Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac

The peoples of Central American in the pre-Columbian era often spoke in metaphors composed of words or phrases which had a hidden meaning when uttered in sequence. This is common in many languages, including English. One of these ancient metaphors was yollotl, eztli, meaning “heart, blood,” – a phrase which referred to cocoa. Chocolate is the heart’s “blood” due to its magnesium, antioxidants, love chemicals and esoteric properties. Chocolate truly is “food for the heart”.

Chocolate is a symbol of sensuality, pleasure, and sexuality. Some writers have claimed that 50 per cent of women actually prefer chocolate to sex! That percentage might even rise if the women were offerred real chocolate in the form of organic cocoa!

Chocolate is a favorite gift from a lover to the beloved one. Chocolates are always given as love offerings. A box of chocolates is one of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Cocoa, because it is natural and unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy than manufactured chocolate candy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange five cacao beans with each other.

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