Healthy Chocolate, Part II

By Riva Preil

It’s no secret that chocolate is extremely popular throughout the world.  However, its reputation has long been one of a calorie rich junk food or candy with little or no nutritional value.  The reason for this is the addition of so many harmful ingredients- sugar, oils, fillers, and waxes- which dilute the favorable properties of cocoa.  Also the cocoa used in most commercial chocolates is manufactured with a harsh heating process that that destroys the powerful antioxidants and other nutrients naturally found in the cacao bean.

Fortunately, dozens of studies overwhelmingly demonstrate that properly processed dark chocolate still retains its vital antioxidants and other valuable nutrient compounds, and is able to deliver wide ranging benefits to the body.  The key when looking for a healthy chocolate is to make sure that it has been cold-processed to ensure maximum antioxidant benefit.  The many benefits of chocolate include antioxidant/anti-aging properties, improving cardiovascular health by improving platelet function and decreasing blood clotting, controlling blood sugar and insulin levels, improving blood flow to the brain, improving mental cognition and performance, relieving the inflammatory response, and improving oral health (because polyphenols contained in chocolate increase teeth enamel making them less susceptible to decay).

For more information about HEALTHY CHOCOLATE please visit or email Bonnie Pfeifer-Evans at . Enjoy, and bon appetit!

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Healthy Chocolate?!

By Riva Preil

Fortunately for all of us- Yes, it’s true! Unknown to most people, chocolate originated as a life-giving and energy-providing beverage.  More than 2,000 years ago, the Olmec, Mayan, Aztec, and other Mesoamerican cultures consumed cocoa in the form of a healthy beverage eventually known by the Aztecan word xocolat, which means “bitter water.”  Cacao bean paste was mixed with water, chile peppers, cornmeal, and other ingredients and delivered a frothy, spicy “chocolate” drink.  All of the Mesoamerican cultures recognized early on that the cacao bean could provide a super-charged level of energy and nutrition unrivaled by any other source.

Soon enough, chocolate made its way to Europe and beyond, where it became an international hit and enjoyed a transformation from a spicy beverage to various sweetened concoctions.  Eventually, chocolate grew in popularity in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, and it was in the United States that the first solid chocolate was developed.

To Be Continued…