Chocolate generates anti-inflammatory nutrients in your gut



Thursday, April 03, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A team of researchers from Louisiana State University has made a fascinating new discovery with regard to the health benefits of chocolate. Announcing their findings at the recent 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, the group explained how beneficial bacteria in the gut actually convert chocolate compounds into anti-inflammatory nutrients that help protect against stroke and heart disease.

Using three different types of cocoa powder for their experiments, the scientists tested the effects of chocolate consumption using a model digestive tract made of test tubes. The tubes were filled with typical bacteria colonies found in a healthy human digestive tract and exposed to chocolate for the purpose of initiating the anaerobic fermentation process, which is what converts food into digestible nutrients.

Cocoa powder, in case you were unaware, contains a variety of polyphenolic antioxidant compounds as well as dietary fiber, both of which are poorly digested and absorbed during the initial stages of consumption. But when these substances eventually reach the colon, they are apparently broken down by special bacteria that convert them into different compounds that the body can actually use.

“In our study we found that the fiber is fermented and the large polyphenolic polymers are metabolized to smaller molecules, which are more easily absorbed,” stated John Finley, Ph.D., lead author of the study, during his presentation of the study. “These smaller polymers exhibit anti-inflammatory activity.”

Gut probiotics: your body’s natural food processors

Specific probiotics in the gut, the team discovered, literally consume ingested chocolate before it is fully metabolized in order to transform it into more basic nutrients that the body can use for health maintenance. In other words, beneficial gut bacteria act as microscopic food processors during the digestive process, converting whole foods into their many nutritional metabolites.

“The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” stated Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers, at the meeting. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.”

Dr. Finley agrees, having observed that not only does the gut take charge in converting chocolate into what can only be described as anti-inflammatory medicine, but it also works with the prebiotic fibers found naturally in chocolate to accomplish this. It is these fibers, which the human body is unable to process on its own, that feed probiotic bacteria and lead to their multiplication and spread, which in turn boosts immunity and protects against disease.

“When you ingest prebiotics, the beneficial gut microbial population increases and outcompetes any undesirable microbes in the gut, like those that cause stomach problems,” he added.

Stick with all-natural cacao for maximum health benefits

Though the research team used cocoa powder for its experiments, the best way to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate is to consume cacao, and preferably raw cacao. Many cocoa powders and chocolate products contain cocoa that has been treated with alkali, an agent that reduces its antioxidant potential. Many conventional chocolate products are also loaded with processed sugars and genetically modified (GM) soy lecithin, which can cause other health problems.

Besides containing the natural prebiotic fiber necessary for the activation of nutrient-producing probiotics in the gut — processed chocolate lacks this fiber — all-natural cacao is an excellent source of bioavailable magnesium, as well as mood-enhancing nutrients like phenylethylamine (PEA), anandamide and theobromine. Cacao is also highly neuroprotective, which means it can help protect against cognitive decline.

To learn more about the health benefits of cacao, check out this piece on cacao nibs published by The Huffington Post:

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Arthritis Relieved Using This Cheap Supplement



Posted by: ShellyManning

People who suffer from the extreme pain caused by arthritis are willing to try anything if it can only provide slightest hope of relief!

And the snake oil salesmen are everywhere with expensive, ineffective products.

But how about an inexpensive, readily-available supplement (in most supermarkets) that has actually been proven to provide relief in several studies?

There are different remedies and supplements suggested for arthritis and the results are varied. While some provide relief, others are not recommended as their effectiveness and safety are questionable.

But there is one supplement that is inexpensive and good for overall health, including the joints. It is omega 3 fatty acids, found abundantly in walnuts, soybean oil and cold water fish like tuna and salmon.

The best sources are flax seed and fish oils and supplements can be easily found at drug stores and most supermarkets.

The recommended quantity of the flax seed oil supplement is just 3 – 10 grams daily. It is particularly effective to take supplements that contain both DHA and EPA, both of which are types of omega 3 fatty acids.

The omega 3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They stimulate production of certain chemicals that control inflammation in joints, blood and tissues.

Several studies have proved that fish oil is definitely effective for improvement in morning stiffness and joint tenderness, when taken regularly. Best of all, they are effective for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

With recent studies pointing out the serious side-effects caused by prescription drugs for arthritis like Vioxx and Celebrex, it has become more important than ever before to find natural ways to cure the disease.

A recent research has identified substances in DHA and EPA which can provide relief from arthritis pain without any harmful effect. These substances have been appropriately named ‘resolvins’ and ‘protectins’.

One scientific study investigated the effect of intravenous injections of omega 3 fatty acids in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Just one dose a day, along with prescription medications resulted in a remarkable improvement in symptoms.

Another study based in Brazil, showed that patients who took 3 grams of omega 3 fatty acids for 3 months showed marked improvement in pain intensity, grip strength and fatigue.

All studies point to the fact that consuming flax seed or fish oil on a regular basis is just what arthritis patients need to cut down on the medications with all the nasty side effects.

And it’s not just us, even cats get relief form osteoarthritis with fish oil supplements according to a Netherlands-based study.

9 Foods That Tackle Inflammation

9 Foods That Tackle Inflammation







Posted by: Jodi Knapp


The majority of serious progressive diseases hassling the western world are in one way or another caused by chronic inflammation. This includes Arthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more.

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to manage chronic inflammation just through diet and small lifestyle changes. And when inflammation is dealt with, it reverses the progressive illnesses caused by it.

That’s why today we’re going to present to you 9 of the most powerful ant inflammation foods you can find in your local supermarket.

Fatty fish – Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. A 2009 study proved that eating baked or boiled fatty fish cuts down the risk of developing heart disease by 23 percent. If you don’t like eating fish, consider taking fish oil supplements.

Whole grains – They are a good source of fiber and are low in sugar and are ideal for reducing inflammation. In fact, at the molecular level, fibers help reduce the levels of C-reactive proteins. (C-reactive proteins are agents that stimulate inflammation.)

Green leafy vegetables – Spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli are already praised for their health benefits. The high Vitamin E content in them helps protect the body from inflammation-causing substances like cytokines. They are also rich in other vitamins as well as minerals and are highly recommended.

Nuts – Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are packed full of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Almonds contain high levels of Vitamin E, calcium and fiber, while walnuts are rich in a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid. The antioxidants in nuts are useful for repairing any damage in the body caused by inflammation.

Soy – Soy and soy products are a rich source of isoflavones, which lower the levels of C-reactive proteins in the body and thus reduce the chances of inflammation. Avoid processed soy as the additives and preservatives in it will destroy the benefits. Consume tofu, soy milk and edamame (boiled soya beans), for maximum benefits. Just make sure you choose organic, non GMO soy products.

Beetroot – Beetroots are packed full of fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants and are known for its blood pressure-lowering properties as well as reducing inflammation.

Onion – Onions are not just remarkably great at boosting the flavor of food, it is also very good for keeping inflammation at bay. Onions contain several anti-inflammatory substances like quercetin and allicin that break down to form sulfenic acid that, in turn, fight free radicals.

Garlic – It might have a strong smell, but that’s no reason to stay away from this healthy vegetable! Garlic has many compounds that work in the same way as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and shuts down the inflammation molecular pathway.

Berries – Almost all types of berries are good for fighting inflammation, especially the bright red-colored berries like raspberries and strawberries which contain anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanin. Raspberry extract has been shown to prevent arthritis in animals, while blueberries prevent intestinal inflammation and ulcerative colitis.

Anti-Anxiety and Sleeping Pills Increase Risk of Death, New Study Reports

A new report says patients who take drugs like Xanax, Valium, and Ambien have a higher risk of dying. What does this mean for the 40 million U.S. adults suffering from anxiety disorders?
Anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills significantly increase your chance of dying, according to new research from the UK published in the BMJ.The findings are especially important for the U.S., where anxiety disorders (like panic disorder or social phobia)—the most common mental illness in the country, affecting 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population—are increasingly treated with prescription drugs.For seven and a half years, researchers there followed 34,727 patients in primary care who were prescribed anxiolytic drugs like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin, and sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta. They found more than 3.3 times as many patients, prescribed anti-anxiety or sleeping pills, died in the follow-up period. Hazard ratios were largest for benzodiazepines—the most commonly prescribed drug class.

“Researchers found more than 3.3 times as many patients, prescribed anti-anxiety or sleeping pills, died in the follow-up period.”

Researchers controlled for factors linked with early deaths including age, smoking and drinking habits, other prescriptions and socioeconomic status, and most importantly, sleep disorders and anxiety itself.

The BMJ study is just the latest in a line of research suggesting that these drugs can have dangerous, possibly permanent side effects. Not only are they addictive, studies have shown they are associated with cognitive and psychomotor impairments, falls, and unintentional injuries. 

“That’s not to say that they cannot be effective,” Scott Weich, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Warwick said in the study’s release. “But particularly due to their addictive potential we need to make sure that we help patients to spend as little time on them as possible and that we consider other options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help them to overcome anxiety or sleep problems.”

Use of anti-anxiety drugs can also quickly build a tolerance—in as little as two weeks—that renders them ineffective.

This Common Vitamin Lowers Bad Cholesterol Level

This Common Vitamin Lowers Bad Cholesterol LevelPosted by: Scott Davis

Having been diagnosed with high cholesterol your doctor is probably pushing you for dangerous medications with a list of side effects that extend longer than the listings in a phone book.

Now if he/she is good, you may also have received recommendations of some basic diet and lifestyle changes (oftentimes impossible to follow).

But how about taking one vitamin, available in every health food store… and even better, one you can get for free in most places?

And this vitamin was proven in a new study from Women’s Health Initiative to significantly lower bad cholesterol and raise good.

Vitamin D is well-known for treating weak bones, but now it has been identified that it can help control the level of cholesterol as well.

In the study published in the journal, Menopause, the researchers focused on a group of 576 women, all of whom were postmenopausal. They were divided into two groups: one group was administered a daily dose of 400 units of Vitamin D along with 1000 milligrams of calcium while the other group was given a placebo.

The women were followed-up for a period of three years. The researchers took into account the various habits of the women including initial Vitamin D level in serum, smoking and drinking habits.

At the end of the study period, it was found through blood tests that there was a significant rise in the level of Vitamin D in the serum. This included a corresponding small but significant drop in the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and a rise in the ‘good’ HDL.

It was also discovered that the supplements were especially helpful in raising Vitamin D levels in older women. Also the Vitamin D level rose at a higher level in those women who did not smoke or consume alcohol.

While the researchers emphasize that Vitamin D cannot be directly correlated to cardiovascular health, they recommend that Vitamin D is included as much as possible in the daily diet, because this vitamin plays many regulatory roles in the body and is essential for overall health.

A small amount of Vitamin D is found in fatty fish like mackerel, herring, tuna and sardines. Many dairy products, cereals and juices are fortified with Vitamin D.

However, the best way to get your daily requirement of Vitamin D is to go and get some sunlight! 15-30 minutes of daily sunlight is all you need.

Corn: Potential Health Problem


Dr. Peter Osborne (Gluten Free Society)

Many gluten free products use corn as an assumed safe grain substitute. Are you buying into this myth?



Gluten Free Society’s Stance

Corn is a grain. Corn has gluten.

Many believe that corn gluten does not induce damage the same way that wheat, barley, and rye do. The fact of the matter is, gluten has not been studied adequately. Most of what we know about celiac disease and gluten have to do with gliadin (the gluten found in wheat only).

As a nutritionist with over 10 years of experience guiding those with gluten sensitivity, I have seen corn be a severe problem for the majority of gluten intolerant patients.

Many claim that they don’t react to corn and feel fine after eating it. The same can be said of those with silent celiac disease. Remember that a lack of symptoms does not mean that internal damage is not occurring. All of that being said, we should not make assumptions. Common sense and intelligent thought should be used as a basis for our dietary decisions.

Gluten aside, consider the following about corn:

It is the second most commonly genetically modified food on the planet (soy is #1)

  • Genetic modification of foods continues to kill animals in scientific studies. 
  • It is an incomplete protein. 
  • It is difficult for humans to digest (ever see corn in your stool?) 
  • It is high in calories and low in nutrient value 
  • It is a new food to the human genome. 
  • It is being used as a staple food for our cattle, fish, chicken, and cars. 
  • Cows and fish are not designed to eat grain. (Have you ever seen a fish jump out of a lake into a corn field for supper?) 
  • When animals eat corn as a staple they have shorter life spans. 
  • Corn fed beef is linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Grass fed beef is not. 
  • Fructose derived from corn is toxic to the liver and contributes to severe health issues. 
  • Corn syrup has mercury in it. 
  • The list can go on and on and on… 


Many consumers bow to the alter of “Gluten Free” packaged foods as if the label is a safety net. ”Gluten Free” on the package does not mean that the food is healthy.

Do not deny yourself the God given right to be healthy.

Remember, corn has gluten. The gluten in corn has not been adequately studied.

Many studies to date have shown that corn induces inflammatory damage in those with gluten sensitivity.

Almost half of all celiac patients don’t get better on a wheat, rye, and barley free diet. Is their a link between corn and refractory celiac disease?

At this point in time we do not know for sure, but 10 years of clinical experience with gluten intolerant patients reacting to corn is enough data for me.