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Is Chocolate A Health Food?
By: Dr. Skip Hellen ND, CNC (Health Doctor)
 Rev. 11/13/2013

Chocolate engenders a great deal of pleasure and is thought to be so good that it is addictive to humans. Many use the term love when they describe their feelings for chocolate. The following is some good solid information related to the health properties of chocolate.

The possible health benefits of chocolate stem from the antioxidant flavonoids. Chocolate comes from the cacao plant, and cacao is extraordinarily rich in flavanols, a type of flavonoid phytochemical. Other plants rich in flavanols include tea, grapes, grapefruit, and wine. It’s important to note that some forms of chocolate have much more flavonoids than others.

HEALTH PROPERTIES OF CHOCOLATE
Chocolate contains over 300 chemicals, and has been the subject of a number of studies by many scientific organizations over the years. Below is a synopsis of those studies;
• Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay although this is counteracted by the high sugar content of milk chocolate.
• The smell of chocolate seems to increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
• Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator.
• Cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which may raise good cholesterol.
• Drinking a cup of hot chocolate before meals may actually diminish appetite.
• Men who eat chocolate on average live a year longer than those who don't.
• The flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
• Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
• Mexican healers use chocolate to treat bronchitis and insect bites.
• Carbohydrates in chocolate raise brain serotonin levels, resulting in a sense of well-being. 

What chocolate won't do
- Studies show that chocolate is not a causative factor in acne.
- Cacao contains the stimulants caffeine and bromine, but in such small quantities that they don't cause nervous excitability.
- Chocolate is not addictive.
- Chocolate contains stearic acid, a neutral fat which doesn't raise bad cholesterol.
- Chocolate doesn't make you 'high,' you'd need to eat a huge quantity (about 25lbs at one sitting) to feel any noticeable effect. 

On the negative side
- Chocolate may trigger headaches in migraine sufferers.
- Milk chocolate is high in calories, saturated fat and sugar. 

What about chocolate and your pets?
- Chocolate is considered dangerous to animals because it contains a stimulant called theobromine, which they can't digest.
- Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are even more dangerous because they contain higher concentrations of the substance. This applies whether chocolate is in candy bar form, or an ingredient in cake, cookies, puddings or ice cream.
- If a pet becomes ill after eating chocolate, take it to the vet immediately.

Dark chocolate versus milk chocolate
- Dark chocolate contains more cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate. It follows that any health benefits would be more pronounced in dark chocolate.
- Dark chocolate is allowed on the popular Montaignac diet while milk chocolate is not.

Health, chocolate rules of thumb;
1. The more nonfat cocoa solids a chocolate product contains, the more antioxidants it tends to contribute. What about the fat found in the cacao bean? It's true that cacao contains some saturated fat. But most of it is stearic acid -- which studies have suggested doesn't elevate blood cholesterol levels as much as other saturated fatty acids. The other fatty acids in cocoa butter are monounsaturated fat (considered a desirable fat) plus another saturated fat called palmitic fatty acid. But here's where it gets confusing: chocolate products can have other types of fat added, like "milk fat" or "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or even coconut or palm oil (both naturally saturated oils), in addition to "cocoa butter."

2. If a chocolate contains fat ingredients other than cocoa butter, it might contain the more harmful saturated fats and trans fats, rather than stearic acid.

The possible health benefits of chocolate
More research needs to be done, but recent studies suggest four possible health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa.

1. Chocolate may reduce the risk of heart attack
A few squares of dark chocolate a day can reduce the risk of death from heart attack by almost 50% in some cases, says Diane Becker, MPH, ScD, a researcher with the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Becker's research found that blood platelets clotted more slowly in people who had eaten chocolate than in those who had not. This is significant because when platelets clump, a clot can form, and when the clot blocks a blood vessel, it can lead to a heart attack.

"The flavanols in cocoa beans have a biochemical effect of reducing platelet clumping, similar to but much less than aspirin," Becker says in an email interview.

After reviewing 136 scientific publications on chocolate and its components and heart disease, researchers from Harvard University School of Public Health concluded that short-term studies suggest cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Decreasing LDL oxidation
- Anti-inflammation action

2. Chocolate may decrease blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivity
Researchers in Italy recently fed 15 healthy people either 3 ounces of dark chocolate or the same amount of white chocolate -- which contains no flavanol phytochemicals -- for 15 days. They found that insulin resistance (a risk factor for diabetes) was significantly lowered in those who ate the dark chocolate. Systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading), measured daily, was also lower in the group eating dark chocolate.

3. Chocolate may improve arterial blood flow
Healthy men who consume flavanol-rich cocoa may see improvements in the flow of blood through their arteries, according to recent research. The researchers found that when healthy men consumed the flavanol-rich cocoa, the ability of their blood vessels to relax improved significantly. And arterial blood flow is important for cardiovascular health.

4. Chocolate may help people with chronic fatigue syndrome
In a small study in England, 1 1/2 ounces of 85% cocoa dark chocolate was given to a group of adults with chronic fatigue syndrome every day for eight weeks. In the study, which has been submitted for publication, the participants reported feeling less fatigued after eating the chocolate. Surprisingly, no weight gain was reported in the chocolate-eating group, according to researcher Steve Atkin, PhD.

How might it work? The researchers believe that chocolate enhances the action of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which help regulate mood and sleep. More research needs to be done to confirm a benefit in this area.

Not all chocolate is created equal
While the amount of the healthy antioxidant flavonoids varies from one type of chocolate to another, there's one guideline you can take to the bank: The more nonfat cocoa solids in a chocolate product, the more antioxidants it likely contains.

So which type of chocolate has the most flavonoids? The highest levels are in natural cocoa powder (not Dutch cocoa, though, because it is alkalized cocoa). The type second highest in flavonoids is unsweetened baking chocolate. Dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips rank third, with milk chocolate and chocolate syrup at the bottom of the list.

Keep in mind, though, that flavanol levels in types of chocolate can vary based on:
- The cocoa beans selected.
- The processing of the beans and chocolate.
- Storage and handling conditions.

Perhaps in the near future, labels on chocolate products will list amounts of flavanols.

Which type of chocolate has the most calories and fat?
By far the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat form of chocolate is cocoa (the unsweetened type). A serving of 3 tablespoons has about:
- 60 calories
- 1.5 grams fat
- 0 grams saturated fat
- 3 grams fiber

The equivalent in unsweetened baking chocolate is 1 square (1 ounce), which contributes:
- 140 calories
- 14 grams fat
- 9 grams saturated fat
- 4 grams fiber

By comparison, a typical 2-ounce serving of semisweet or milk chocolate (with sweetener and other ingredients added) contains:
- 270 calories
- 17 grams of fat
- 10 grams of saturated fat

Semisweet chocolate adds around 3 grams of fiber per 2 ounces, while milk chocolate typically contributes zero. The mostly insoluble fiber in cocoa comes from the seed coat on the unprocessed cocoa bean.

All of this brings us to Health, Chocolate Rule of Thumb #3: For a better flavonoid-to-calorie ratio, choose cocoa powder whenever possible for baking and making hot chocolate.

Don't forget the calories
One thing most chocolate bars have in common is calories. An ounce of sweetened chocolate will cost you about 150 calories -- that's about six to seven chocolate kisses. Here's my take on it as a chocolate lover: Those six kisses are worth every calorie.

But here's a word of caution: The health benefits of chocolate may disappear if you are adding the calories above and beyond your regular intake. This could mean you're adding pounds along with the flavonoids.

Researchers from the University of California at Davis said it best in a scientific review on cocoa and chocolate flavonoids published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. They concluded that people may benefit from including a variety of flavonoid-rich foods as part of a healthful diet -- and dark chocolate, in moderate amounts, can be part of this plan.

New and improved chocolate products
Now that the word is out that chocolate may have health benefits, special chocolate products are hitting the shelves. Two examples are CocoaVia and Hershey's Cacao Reserve.

Cocoa 'Vitamin' Health Benefits Could Outshine Penicillin
In an article published in, Science Daily, “The health benefits of epicatechin, a compound found in cocoa, are so striking that it may rival penicillin and anaesthesia in terms of importance to public health, reports Marina Murphy in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI. Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told C&I that epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin.”

Contact Dr. Skip directly at http://www.uhealthri.com/contact_us.asp or under consulting at http://www.uhealthri.com/Consulting.htm  for specific information on personal counseling, nutrition, fitness or mental training programs/seminars/workshops.

HELP! UHRI has produced optimal health step by step programs designed to guide you through all the challenges of personal excellence and optimal health acquisition. Take the challenge and become the best that you can be, then teach others to do the same.

"Illness and disease are optional, choose not to participate" ~ Dr. Skip Hellen

Important understanding
It’s important to understand that optimal health can only be achieved and maintained when nutritional, physical, and mental requirements are met resulting in systemic biological balance (homeostasis).

The following are the cornerstones of success with anything in life, make these qualities an important part of your life strategy and you will achieve excellence in anything you do. 

   Personal responsibility encourages excellence,
character
requires personal excellence,
commitment
advances positive action,
discipline
strengthens personal power,
tenacity
promotes success ~ Dr. Skip Hellen 

OPTIMAL HEALTH ACTION STEPS
1. (Develop) a strong sense of self respect and discipline
2. (Pledge) Take the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledge
3. (Test) Complete the health assessment test (establish a personal health baseline)
4. (Decide) Set a goal to achieve personal health excellence (optimal health)
5. (Education) Learn health principles how to achieve optimum health
6. (Heath Compass) Buy a pH litmus test kit, start testing frequently – keep a test result log
7. (Manage/Adjust) Change behavior habits for best results
8. (Commitment) Stay the course until achieving personal health excellence
9. (Mentor) Help another achieve personal health excellence

Since behavior habits and nutrition are critical components of human health and longevity, denial, shortcuts and misguided beliefs can be very costly not only in terms of lost monetary wealth but in compromised health leading to rapid aging, illness, disease and death. DON’T TAKE YOUR HEALTH FOR GRANTED. IF YOU DON’T TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOUR HEALTH, WHO WILL?

The important thing to remember is consumptive habits (foods) will form the foundation of either optimal health or illness and disease. The old saying "you are what you eat" is absolutely true when it comes to health.

Developing strong personal character (respect, belief, knowledge, discipline, commitment) are the cornerstones of all personal excellence accomplishments. Taking the "Declaration of Health Independence" pledges and adopting the behavior principles solidifies a vital first step on the road to optimal health success. These pledge commitments not only help develop the skills required to accomplish the goal but better define the path to personal health excellence. The second step is purchasing a litmus test kit to accurately monitor health progress. (see below for event test kit sale)

Perhaps the hardest part of achieving optimal health is changing unhealthy behavior habits to healthy habits.

YOU provide the Courage, Dedication, Commitment and Action,
UHRI will provide the EDUCATION/KNOWLEDGE and DIRECTION

To get health help and learn more about “Mastering the Secrets of Ultimate Health” and achieve personal health excellence goals, log onto the web site below. UHRI is ready, willing, and able to help everyone achieve optimal health.

Litmus test kits are on sale for $10 (Events Only)
(A litmus test kit is an absolute must for those who are serious about ultimate health)

To learn more information on how to resolve health problems or achieve personal health excellence, refer to UHRI at www.uhealthri.com. Educational classes, programs, mentors and consultants are ready to help you achieve all your health goals including optimal health. Contact UHRI Office at - 714-969-1681

Live long, happy, ultimately health and wise

Dr. Skip Hellen


Danger!
"Death by Medicine"

The above study was conducted by a team of leading doctors. It revealed for the first time that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the USA. Click "Death by Medicine" above to read the study.

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ONLY YOU CAN CURE ILLNESS, DISEASE AND ACHIEVE ULTIMATE HEALTH
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