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The Real Difference Between Cacao And Cocoa

The Real Difference Between Cacao And Cocoa

The real difference between cacao and cocoa On initial impressions it might seem like the only real difference between cacao and cocoa is the spelling. But theres a little more to it than that Cacao can refer to any of the food products derived from cacao beans the seeds or nuts of the cacao tree. These include cacao nibs , cacao butter , cacao mass or paste and (probably the most common) cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same but its not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao thats been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value. The studies that boast of chocolates amazing health benefits are likely not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar (damn misleading researchers). The chocolate that theyre referring to has properties closer to raw cacao. Cacao powder is known to have a higher antioxidant content than cocoa, and has been linked to a variety of benefits.(Note: many scientific studies, like those below,refer to the superior health benefits of cocoa. However, most ofthese use isolated and purified compounds from cocoa .Thesecompounds dont resemble sugary supermarket cocoa, and areverysimilar to raw cacao in form.) These studies have shown that the compounds: Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease : The antioxidants found in cacao help to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. Although NO has heart-benefiting qualities, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure, it also produces toxins. The antioxidants in cacao neutralisethese toxins, protecting your heart and Continue reading >>

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

back to Overview Looking for some snacks that are blood sugar friendly? Health coach and mySugr blogger Markus Berndt shares some of his secrets for taming the snack monster. Diabetic Snack Attack Today is all about diabetic snacks, or snacks that are more blood sugar friendly than your typical carb bombs we often crave. Thankfully we have Markus here to help. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May of 2012 which catalyzed his devotion to healthy living through diet and exercise. He’s currently a management consultant for workplace health promotion and a health coach. He writes a popular blog (in German) at www.diabetesade.com and contributes regularly to the German side of our website. He has lots of great information to share, and from time to time I’ll do my best to bring a translation to you in English. Over to you, Markus! A Universal Feeling We all experience the urge to snack (if not outright binge) and reward ourselves with culinary delights. The monster is hungry! Finding snacks that are blood sugar friendly can help a lot. Of course, when the urge strikes, we’re not craving health food. Unfortunately, it’s usually the common snack foods, which, by the way, are designed to addict us. It’s a vicious cycle that can be really hard to break free from. So what to do? We don’t want to cave in completely, but constantly nibbling on naked celery isn’t fulfilling either. Finding blood sugar friendly snacks is often really hard. But thankfully there are a few goodies that we can turn to for some satisfaction without needing to feel terribly guilty. These small snacks that, in moderation, will increase your blood sugar a “tolerable” amount and are still really tasty! Some of them I even consider to be miracle products of nature! Walnuts These are cl Continue reading >>

Cocoa Compound Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Cocoa Compound Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Cocoa compound linked to type 2 diabetes treatment Cocoa compound linked to type 2 diabetes treatment Sponge implant could help prevent type 2 diabetes 23 August 2017 A compound found in cocoa could help treat or control type 2 diabetes , researchers have found. A team from Brigham Young University (BYU) says increased presence of this compound, epicatechin monomers, can help boost insulin production and control blood sugar levels . The compound could also help beta cells work better and become stronger. The discovery was made during a trial where mice were fed a high-calorie diet. The researchers found adding the compound decreased obesity levels and also helped improve blood sugar control . Study author Jeffery Tessem, assistant professor of nutrition , dietetics and food science at BYU, explained: "What happens is it's protecting the cells, it's increasing their ability to deal with oxidative stress. The epicatechin monomers are making the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger, which produces more ATP (a cell's energy source), which then results in more insulin being released." While cocoa is commonly found in chocolate, Tessem stressed eating higher quantities is clearly not the answer to achieving better blood glucose control, which is why the study team is now looking at ways of extracting the compound from the cocoa. This way it could be used to develop future type 2 diabetes treatment. Previous research has identified the benefits of similar compounds, but no one before has ever been able to pinpoint exactly how they work, until now. Study co-author Andrew Neilson, assistant professor of food science at Virginia Tech, said: "These results will help us get closer to using these compounds more effectively in foods or supplements to maintain normal blood glucose Continue reading >>

How The Nutrients In Raw Cacao Can Help Fight Sugar Cravings

How The Nutrients In Raw Cacao Can Help Fight Sugar Cravings

How the Nutrients in Raw Cacao Can Help Fight Sugar Cravings The sugar craving monster is a dangerously addictive one to be a victim of. Its not only addicting, physically and mentally, but its also hard to let go of and avoid, understandably. Refined and added sugars are found in most all processed foods, even some that are labeled as natural. This makes choosing whole foods more important than ever when it comes to your health. Sugar can deplete certain nutrients from the body, such as magnesium, potassium, and other critical vitamins and minerals that actually lead to sugar cravings. What we see as a need for a piece of candy or a cookie could easily just be our body telling us were lacking in a certain vitamin or mineral. Sugar is also just generally hard on the body , so lets look at how we can combat sugar cravings the healthy way , instead of just going on another restrictive diet. Lucky for us, certain foods in whole foods plant-based diet can help fight sugar cravings, and theyre not just fruit and veggies. How to Really Beat Sugar Cravings: Proper Nutrition The best way to fight sugar cravings is to outsmart them. Eating certain foods that are rich in magnesium, B vitamins , fiber, protein, zinc, and iron , are one of the best ways you can combat sugar cravings through nutrition. When your body receives these nutrients, it no longer sends out a quick cry for something to give it a quick source of energy (which we usually call a sugar craving), nor does it need sugar to steady your frayed nerves. Greens, nuts, seeds, and some low-glycemic, high-protein beans and legumes, (such as lentils and black beans), are all examples of foods that support healthy blood sugar levels and healthy neurotransmitter function. Another delicious (and a bit more exciting) food tha Continue reading >>

5 Foods To Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels

5 Foods To Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels

As we know chronically elevated blood sugar levels significantly increases the risk of developing type II diabetes. Excess sugar and insulin floating around in the bloodstream results in increased inflammation throughout the body thereby contributing to metabolic X syndrome. Bottom line is if you’re at risk for type II diabetes, your primary objective is to get blood sugar levels in check. Cleaning up your diet is the obvious first step. Eliminating processed and refined foods, cutting out the sodas, and pulling back on the starches is sound advice. While I typically recommend more of a Primal Blueprint type diet for individuals dealing with high blood sugar, there are a handful of specific foods that can be especially helpful. I’ll spotlight 5 of these foods in today’s post. More after the jump… #1: Cocoa Surprised? Don’t be, cocoa has been shown in recent research studies to help improve insulin sensitivity. The key here is we’re not talking about chocolate candy bars. Cocoa in its natural state is very high in antioxidants, we only screw it up when processing with sugar, milk, and other ingredients. Cocoa powder is my first choice here. I love Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Powder, available at health food supermarkets like Whole Foods or from Amazon.com. Here’s link if you’re interested in Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Powder. This is the real deal and has zero added sugar. Great for blending into protein shakes, coffee, sprinkled on fruit, added to drinks, or used in recipes. A secondary choice would be dark chocolate with a high cocoa count and minimal sugar. The darker the better, but just know it’s going to be somewhat bitter. A small piece of dark chocolate makes for a much better dessert than that Fudgesicle or other high sugar treat. Go eas Continue reading >>

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

Ohhhhhhhhhh….Chocolate! Chocolate! How many times have you just had that sometimes nearly overwhelming urge to have some chocolate—in any form! You can have a chocolate bar, chocolate milk, chocolate cake, brownies, a chocolate ice cream sundae or a cup of hot cocoa just to list a few forms of chocolate. Oh wait—you can have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, orange, mint or raspberry-flavored chocolate or white chocolate….so much to choose from! But….should you? And if you should, just how much is enough and how much is overdoing it? Are there “healthier” forms of chocolate? Many of us sure as shootin’ hope there is! The “Dark” History of Chocolate Chocolate comes from the fruit and seeds of the cacao tree and is native to the Amazon forest. Botanically, the cacao tree is known as Theobroma cacao – this tree has three major varieties; the Forastero, the Trinitario and the Criollo. The Forastero is the most commonly used variety while the rarest and most prized for its aroma and its delicate taste is the Criollo variety. Christopher Columbus is credited with being the first European to come in contact with the cacao bean—he and his crew found—and stole, apparently—a canoe filled with various food items, including baskets of cacao beans. The cacao beans were actually used as local currency, but their chocolate quality was missed for another twenty years until Hernando Cortez brought 3 chests of cacao beans, this time stolen from the Aztecs, back to the court of the Spanish king—and the popularity of cacao and chocolate took off![1] The history of chocolate though, actually appears to be much older, going back to at least the Mayan civilization and possibly the Olmec civilization that predates the Mayan civilization. The traditional chocolate be Continue reading >>

Does Unsweetened Cocoa Spike Blood Sugar?

Does Unsweetened Cocoa Spike Blood Sugar?

Diabetics have different blood sugar targets for the period before and after a meal. The American Diabetes Association recommends that blood sugar levels don't rise above 180 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal. Some foods can make your blood sugar spike within 1 to 2 hours after eating, while other foods help you keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Blood sugar spikes can cause damage to your fragile blood vessels in your heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and feet. Unsweetened cocoa powder, a brown and bitter powder used to make hot cocoa, will not make your blood sugar spike if eaten on its own. Video of the Day Unsweetened cocoa powder contains 12 calories, 1 g of protein, 0.7 g of fat, 3.2 g of carbohydrates, 0.1 g of sugar and 1.6 g of fiber per tablespoon. If you use a larger amount, in a recipe for example, 1 cup provides 189 calories, 15.6 g of protein, 11.3 g of fat, 50.1 g of carbohydrates, 1.5 g of sugar and 25.6 g of fiber. If you prepare hot cocoa by mixing 1 to 2 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder with warm water without adding any sugar, the nutritional value of your hot beverage will be the same as that of the amount of unsweetened cocoa powder you used. Total Carbs Vs. Net Carbs Unsweetened cocoa powder is very low in sugar and about half of the total carbohydrates it contains are in the form of fiber. Only the non-fibrous part of the carbohydrates -- also called net carbs -- has the potential to raise your blood sugar levels. Calculate net carbs by deducting the fiber from the total carbs. For example, hot cocoa prepared with 1 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder without any added milk or sugar contains 3.2 g of total carbs and 1.6 g of fiber, or the equivalent of 1.6 g of net carbs. The amount of net carbs from unsweetened cocoa or other carb-containing foods that Continue reading >>

Cacao Nibs: Cacao Health Benefits

Cacao Nibs: Cacao Health Benefits

Posted by Chris - The Organic Diabetic 2 Comments I mean, who doesnt live a little chocolate! Cacao is a type of tropical tree, part of the evergreen family, that produces the worlds chocolate in raw form, before all that lovely fat, sugar, and other sweeteners are added. The cacao tree grows in a few specific regions of the world naturally, including Mexico and South America, where most of the cacao or chocolate beans/seeds come from. Cacao trees only grow in tropical areas with the right combination of climate, temperature, and environment factors. You cant just plant a cacao tree anywhere it wont grow or survive in the wrong conditions. Cacao is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that make it almost a super food or natural Multi-Vitamin! The beneficial ingredients found in the cacao nibs (raw chocolate) are Antioxidants, Theobromine, Phenylethylamine, Essential Minerals and Vitamins. One of the main health benefits of chocolate is its high concentration of antioxidants. Although processed chocolate still has a good concentration of antioxidants the processing and cutting (adding new ingredients and mixing them together) of the raw cacao seed tends to lower that amount. If you want the best hardcore antioxidant power of cacao beans/seeds, then you will want to get it in its natural raw state nothing added, nothing taken away. Raw cacao promotes the release of neurotransmitters, which promote a positive outlook and bodily rejuvenation, and release feel-good hormones. Raw cacao raises levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and acts as an anti-depressant that can help reduce symptoms of PMS. It also stimulates the secretion of endorphins, which produce a pleasurable sensation, and phenylethylamine which is a mild mood booster. It also releases anandamide which prom Continue reading >>

Raw Cacao Benefits Human Longevity Without Any Negative Side Effects!

Raw Cacao Benefits Human Longevity Without Any Negative Side Effects!

The antioxidant content of raw cacao benefits the cardiovascular and general whole body health. In processed dark chocolate, antioxidants such as epichatehins, chatechins, resveratrol and procyanidins can be present, but are in much lower levels than in unheated raw chocolate nibs as an example. Out of all the whole foods that contain antioxidants, raw chocolate is the highest in the world. It dwarfs the popular foods and beverages commonly touted as being antioxidant rich foods such as red wine, green tea and blueberries by a factor of 10x or more! There are certain herbs and spices, such as the chaga mushroom and cinnamon, which have higher levels of antioxidants in them but generally you won't be consuming enough volume of them to get as much antioxidant value from them as you would from a normal dose of raw cacao. Benefits from consuming antioxidants come when a range of different types of foods high in them are in your diet, since different coloured foods have different antioxidant compounds which target different parts of the body.The phytochemical analysis of cacao beans reveal that raw chocolate is perhaps the most chemically complex food on Earth. There are compounds yet to be discovered in this most amazing of live superfoods. Phytochemicals usually degrade in the cooking process, so the raw forms of them should be abundant in every diet for longevity. ~Anandamide (the only food that contains this neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of "bliss") ~ N-linoleoylethanolamine (prevents the re-uptake of anandamide) ~Phenethylamine (PEA, a neurotransmitter known as the "love molecule") ~Seratonin (a neurotransmitter that acts as a "stress defense shield" by making you feel good) ~Dopamine (a neurotransmitter that boosts motivation and pleasure) ~MAO Inhibito Continue reading >>

Cacao Stabilizes Blood Sugar; Chocolate May Actually Help Diabetics

Cacao Stabilizes Blood Sugar; Chocolate May Actually Help Diabetics

Cacao stabilizes blood sugar; chocolate may actually help diabetics Thursday, August 02, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer (NewsTarget) Obese, diabetic mice whose diet was supplemented with an extract of cacao liquor demonstrated a significant reduction in blood sugar levels in a Japanese study reported in the journal Nutrition. "The dietary intake of food or drinks produced from cacao beans might be beneficial in preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes," the study's authors wrote. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes desensitized to the sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an actual deficiency of insulin due to low production by the body. Both lead to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). An estimated 7 percent of the U.S. population -- 21 million people -- have been diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association further estimates that 6.2 million people remain undiagnosed and another 41 million are prediabetic. Researchers supplemented the diets of obese, diabetic mice with either 0, 0.5 or 1.0 percent cacao liquor proanthocyanidins (CLPr) -- containing 72 percent polyphenols -- for three weeks. They found that blood sugar was reduced in direct correlation with the dosage of CLPr. Proanthocyanidins are a type of flavonoid, a plant chemical known to have antioxidant properties. Previous studies have found evidence that eating flavonoid-rich chocolate reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The current study, however, is the first to record an effect of cacao chemicals on blood sugar levels. The one percent dose given to the mice would be the equivalent of a human consuming 5 grams of polyphenols per day. This could be achieved by eating 2.5 kilograms of normal chocolate , or 100 grams of flavonol-rich chocolate Continue reading >>

Compounds In Cocoa May Help Delay Onset Of Type 2 Diabetes

Compounds In Cocoa May Help Delay Onset Of Type 2 Diabetes

Follow all of ScienceDaily's latest research news and top science headlines ! Compounds in cocoa may help delay onset of type 2 diabetes What if eating chocolate helped prevent and treat diabetes? It's crazy enough to laugh off. But here's the thing: Researchers have discovered certain compounds found in cocoa can actually help your body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. Insulin is the hormone that manages glucose, the blood sugar that reaches unhealthy levels in diabetes. What if eating chocolate helped prevent and treat diabetes? It's crazy enough to laugh off. But here's the thing: BYU researchers have discovered certain compounds found in cocoa can actually help your body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. Insulin is the hormone that manages glucose, the blood sugar that reaches unhealthy levels in diabetes. "You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don't want it to have a lot of sugar in it," said study author Jeffery Tessem, assistant professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science at BYU. "It's the compound in cocoa you're after." When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't process blood sugar properly. At the root of that is the failure of beta cells, whose job it is to produce insulin. The new study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, finds beta cells work better and remain stronger with an increased presence of epicatechin monomers, compounds found naturally in cocoa. To discover this, collaborators at Virginia Tech first fed the cocoa compound to animals on a high-fat diet. They found that by adding it to the high-fat diet, the compound would decrease the level of obesity in the animals and would increase their Continue reading >>

Cocoa Could Be A Healthy Treat For Diabetic Patients

Cocoa Could Be A Healthy Treat For Diabetic Patients

Follow all of ScienceDaily's latest research news and top science headlines ! Cocoa Could Be A Healthy Treat For Diabetic Patients For people with diabetes, sipping a mug of steaming, flavorful cocoa may seem a guilty pleasure. But new research suggests that indulging a craving for cocoa can actually help blood vessels to function better and might soon be considered part of a healthy diet for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. For people with diabetes, sipping a mug of steaming, flavorful cocoa may seem a guilty pleasure. But new research suggests that indulging a craving for cocoa can actually help blood vessels to function better and might soon be considered part of a healthy diet for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Flavanols, natural plant compounds also found in tea, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for cocoa's healthful benefits. In fact, according to new research published in the June 3 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), after diabetic patients drank specially formulated high-flavanol cocoa for one month, blood vessel function went from severely impaired to normal. The improvement was as large as has been observed with exercise and many common diabetic medications, the researchers noted. These findings suggest that it may be time to think not just outside the box, but inside the cup, for innovative ways to ward off cardiovascular disease--the number one cause of death in diabetic patients. "Medical treatments alone often do not prevent complications of diabetes that are associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease," said Malte Kelm, M.D., a professor and chairman of cardiology, pulmonology and vascular medicine at the University Hospital Aachen and the Technical University Continue reading >>

Diabetessisters

Diabetessisters

Why and how to consume? Cocoa nibs are very satisfying, especially if your senses are just after a chocolate taste or your body is in need of magnesium. Yet, cocoa nibs do have a bitter edge. For this reason, to get a chocolate craving satisfied I mix them either with some nuts/seeds and or coconut flakes, which all mix well in Greek yogurt. As you may know, cacao is a nutrient-powerhouse containing over 300 compounds including: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, chromium (appetite control and insulin sensitizer) calcium, flavanols (antioxidants, known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol), sulfur (strong nails/hair) and magnesium (muscle relaxant and strong bones). If you eat cocoa nibs, or dark chocolate, you want to ensure it's organic to avoidchemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans. Every study on chocolate is pointing to the same conclusion: there is something in chocolate that is really good for us. That something is the raw cocoa bean, the nut that all chocolate is made from. The cocoa bean has always been and will always be Natures #1 weight loss and high-energy food. Cocoa beans are probably the best kept secret in the entire history of food. David Wolfe, co-author of Naked Chocolate : The Astonishing Truth About The Worlds Greatest Food. Why and how to consume? Chia seeds provide protein, fat and fiber to our diet, and one of my favorite perks, is they help us detox. To reap the fullest benefits, soak chia seeds overnight in either water, almond milk or coconut milk. I often add the end product to my morning smoothie or I mix in some berries and have it for an afternoon snack. Chia seeds provide satiety, absorbing 12 times their weight and expand in our stomachs. Chia seed Continue reading >>

Good News For Chocolate Fans

Good News For Chocolate Fans

"It seems like anything that tastes good isn’t good for you." This was a lament I heard more times than I can remember from patients who were bemoaning what they thought was the loss of their favorite foods. While this isn’t 100% true, it can certainly seem that way, especially for people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who find out they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, for example. However, there’s good news for chocolate lovers: Chocolate can actually be good for you! But don’t rush out and load up on Hershey Kisses just yet—read on to learn how and why chocolate may actually be more friend than foe. Chocolate is made from cacao beans that are roasted and then cracked. The insides of the beans, or the “nibs,” are crushed into a paste called chocolate liquor (which contains no alcohol). Chocolate liquor can be made into cocoa powder if the fat (cocoa butter) is removed. But to make chocolate, sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, and milk (in the case of milk chocolate) are combined. The chocolate then goes through various refining processes to give it a smooth, silky texture. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, contains no milk, and also is lower in sugar. Why is chocolate considered healthy, then? Well, it’s really the dark chocolate that carries the health benefits (sorry, all you milk chocolate lovers). You may recall from previous posts and other reading you’ve done that some foods contain phytonutrients called flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant. Cocoa, or cacao, beans are rich in flavonoids. Researchers have been learning more and more about flavonoids in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and tea. Now they’ve added chocolate to their list. So, then, what health benefits does dark cho Continue reading >>

10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

10 Foods That Lower Blood Sugars In Diabetics

While a low carb diet appears to be useful on the whole, there are also many foods shown to help. Either by lowering blood sugars and/or improving insulin sensitivity. This articles looks at 10 of the best foods and supplements for lowering blood sugars, based on current research. Just know they should never be used in place of your diabetes medication, but rather alongside. 1. Resistant Starch Lowers Sugars After Meals Starches are long chains of glucose (sugar) found in oats, grains, bananas, potatoes and various other foods. Some varieties pass through digestion unchanged and are not absorbed as sugar into the blood. These are known as resistant starch. Many studies show resistant starch can greatly improve insulin sensitivity. That is, how well the body can move sugar out of the blood and into cells for energy. This is why it’s so useful for lowering blood sugar levels after meals (1, 2). The effect is so great that having resistant starch at lunch will reduce blood sugar spikes at dinner, known as the “second meal effect” (3). Problem is many foods high in resistant starch, such as potatoes, are also high in digestible carbs that can spike blood sugar. Therefore resistant starch in supplement form – without the extra carbs – is recommended. Summary: Supplemental resistant starch is a fantastic option for those struggling to control sugars or have hit a plateau. 2. Ceylon Cinnamon Several cinnamon compounds appear to prevent the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, minimising blood sugar spikes. It may also dramatically improve insulin sensitivity (4, 5). In a recent clinical trial, 25 poorly-controlled type 2 diabetics received either 1 gram per day of cinnamon or placebo (dummy supplement) for 12 weeks. Fasting blood sugar levels in the cinnamon gro Continue reading >>

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