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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Fudging it: Chocolate really can be good for you

By Hara Estroff Marano




Whether flagging from age or fatigue, ailing minds can benefit from chocolate


JewishWorldReview.com | The very word "chocolate" is said to derive from the Mayan words for bitter water. Long before Cortes successfully introduced cocoa to Spain--Columbus was the first European to return with cocoa beans, but their value was unappreciated--the beans of the cacao tree were harvested, roasted, ground to a powder, and, mixed with water and spices, consumed as a beverage in Central and South America.

An especially bitter cocoa beverage is still favored by Kuna Indians living off the coast of Panama, who drink about five cups a day. Researchers believe the bitterness is a mark of the very high content of flavanol phytonutrients in chocolate in its unprocessed state--which explains why the island-dwelling Kuna have unusually low rates of heart disease and cancer.



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When the Indians move to the mainland, where they don't drink the same cocoa, they are no longer medically privileged. Scientists have gathered evidence that a high concentration of flavanols enhances blood vessel function throughout the body, and ongoing studies confirm that high-flavanol cocoa preparations especially boost brain blood flow.

COCOA TREAT(MENT)

Want to do a favor for someone in the early stages of memory decline? Give them a chocolate bar. In a double-blind randomized study, 90 elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment were mentally quicker and more verbally fluent after consuming a daily cocoa drink loaded with flavanols. There were additional effects as well: Blood pressure decreased and metabolic and cardiovascular function improved during the eight-week trial. And there were no adverse effects.

PRESSURE POINTS

A daily treat of chocolate can help keep blood pressure under control. And that's a tasty way to modify a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis of subjects who consumed cocoa products yielded a "small but statistically significant blood pressure-reducing effect."

The flavanols in cocoa may be lowering blood pressure by stimulating production of nitric oxide, a powerful dilator of blood vessels. Increases in blood delivery to the brain generally enhance neural activity.

STRIKE AGAINST STROKE

Scandinavian researchers found that high chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of stroke. For those study subjects consuming the greatest amount of chocolate--2.2 ounces a week--the risk was nearly 20 percent less than for those consuming none. The effect was independent of type of stroke, whether hemorrhagic or obstructive. Researchers cite a variety of mechanisms by which chocolate helps--it's antioxidant, antiplatelet, and anti-inflammatory.

FLOW CHARTED

A single cup of flavanol-enhanced cocoa increases gray-matter blood flow, studies show. The boost in circulation is sufficient to power a short-term enhancement of cognitive skills.

"This raises the possibility that certain food components like cocoa flavanols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function among older adults or for others in situations where they may be cognitively impaired, such as fatigue," says Ian MacDonald, of the University of Nottingham.

A SHOT IN THE DARK

It isn't the darkness of chocolate that brings health benefits. Nor, despite its prominence in labels, can you tell from the cocoa content of a chocolate bar how good it will be for you. In fact, the darkest chocolate can miss entirely what is medicinally good--flavanol phytochemicals. By nature, flavanols are bitter, and reducing the bitterness--by Dutch processing, or alkalinization--also reduces the amount of flavanol.

Until labels show flavanol content, look for chocolate that has not undergone Dutch processing.

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