Day 241 : cacao

241cacao

Sandy: I probably said this before, I love dark chocolate. I make a few premium desserts that my family loves including a chocolate souffle from a recipe by Alice Medrich.

Cacao is the bean from which chocolate is made. The amount of solid cacao beans versus the amount of sugar in a chocolate bar is written in percentages on the label. Semi-sweet chocolate is 50% sugar and 50% cacao solids. In the United States, only 10% cacao is required to be considered milk chocolate.

Dark chocolate with high percentages of cacao has many health benefits. Flavenoids, antioxidant compounds, is an anti-inflammatory and improves heart health. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer, it is great for your skin and slows signs of aging. Because dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Phenylethylamine (PEA), the chemical that encourages your brain to release endorphins, can improve mood and is a catalyst for falling in love.

Cacao contains Magnesium, Potassium, and Iron which are all good for your heart, and Copper – copper and potassium help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Some studies have also shown that chocolate is good for your brain, circulation, and blood sugar. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, though less than coffee.

Sandy’s year long journey – going from being a right-hander to left-hander, and Kelly’s parallel trip as a left-hander doing things as a right-hander.

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