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Discovering New Foods Wednesday

6 health benefits of dark chocolate

Chocolate comes from cacao, one of the most important gifts from Mexico to the world. Cacao is originally from Mesoamerica. Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs were the first civilizations who used cacao to prepare drinks. Cacao beans were very important for these cultures. It was used as currency to buy and sell products.

The origin of the word chocolate comes from “Xocolatl” (Nahuatl language, native of the Aztec civilization before the Spanish conquest). Aztecs used to prepare a traditional drink made with cacao beans, water, and spices. It was very different of what we consume nowadays because natives didn’t add sugar or milk.

6 health benefits of dark chocolate:

  1. Flavonoids: Chemical substances that are beneficial for our health. Flavonoids protect the heart and can prevent some types of cancer, are potent antioxidants, and analgesics.
  2. Percentage of cacao: The higher the better. Enjoy chocolate with 70% of more of cacao and avoid the sugary ones. Eat small portions (1-2 squares no more than 3 times a week).
  3. Stress control: Small amounts of dark chocolate can decrease stress levels in women.
  4.  Diabetes prevention: 1 ounce of dark chocolate for 15 days could decrease insulin resistance by 50%.
  5. Natural sunburn protection: Polyphenols are substances we can find in dark chocolate. Polyphenols facilitate blood to flow closer to the skin, protecting the contact with ultraviolet rays.
  6. Theobromine: Natural antitussive. Theobromine can block the activity of the vagus nerve and thus stop coughing.

Now that you know Shahzad Memon don’t forget to include small portions of dark chocolate in your regular diet to enjoy an amazing flavor and obtain the benefits.

What You Need to Know about Grass Fed Beef

We know what you are probably thinking: beef is not a new food. While it is true that beef is not a new food, paying attention to the importance of what the cattle we get our beef from eats is a newer phenomenon. Studies are showing that it is not only important to make healthy food choices about what we eat, it is also crucial for the animals we use as food sources to be fed healthy dietary choices. Read on to find out why you want the cows that are used for your burgers and steaks to dine only on grass!

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What You Need to Know about Kombucha

Probiotics dominate the supplement market place these days, but did you know you can actually get probiotics naturally from fermented foods and drinks? Yes, before the days of high heat ultra pasteurization our ancestors got plenty of the beneficial bacteria contained in probiotics through their diets alone. Today you can still get probiotics without through your diet by choosing to eat foods like kefir, some yogurts, and lacto fermented sauerkraut and pickles. In addition to these food options, you can also sip your way to more beneficial cut bacteria through a drink called kombucha. Teeming with probiotic cultures, kombucha is one drink worth giving a try!

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What You Need to Know about Plantains

 

Perhaps as you have wondered the produce section of the grocery store you’ve noticed a banana that doesn’t look quite right. It turns out the brownish, oversized banana that may have caught your eye is not actually a banana at all, but actually a cousin of the banana known as a plantain. If you’ve never tried one of these banana-looking plantains, now is the time to give this versatile food a try. Read on to find out why the plantain deserves a spot in your grocery cart and on your plate!

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Give It a Try: Bone Broth

The third part in our series on new foods you need to try isn’t a new food at all; it’s actually an ancient staple that is now increasingly being recognized for its astounding nutritional benefits. What is this wonder food, you may be wondering. The answer? Bone broth. Yes, bone broth’s use can be traced back as far back as early Chinese civilizations who used it for its healing properties. In more recent history, your grandmother and great grandmother before her likely prepared bone broth to utilize every part of the beef or poultry they prepared for dinner.

Fast forward to today and the ease and convenience of picking up a can or carton of broth means many of us have never made bone broth. But, with so many remarkable health and nutritional advantages, many people are once again making bone broth a kitchen staple. Read on to find out why this is and how you can make your own today!

Benefits:

  • Collagen. Without question the collagen in bone broth is one of bone broth’s greatest health advantages. The collagen is healing to your gut and aids in the absorption of the other nutrients in the broth.
  • Trace Minerals. Minerals help support your body functioning properly and a cup of bone broth gives you a rich supply of important ones such as calcium.
  • Protein Source. Cook grains in bone broth instead of water to instantly add extra protein.
  • Hydrating. Consuming bone broth is a great way to add more liquids to your day without having to drink yet another bottle of water.
  • Amino Acids. Bone broth offers various key amino acids, including those that help with joint health and immune system function.

A How-To Guide: Making Your Own Bone Broth.   

In addition to being a super food, bone broth is also super easy to make because proportions and cook times do not have to be precise. Just remember, low heat and slow cook time are sure to yield great broth making success!

  1. Cover meat bones and joints with water. You’ll need roughly four quarts of water to cover one chicken carcass.
  2. Add Apple Cider Vinegar. A couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar will help the nutrients to be released from the bones.
  3. Add Veggies and Seasonings. This step is optional, but will add extra flavoring to your bone broth.
  4. Cook Low and Slow. Cook your broth on a low heating on your slow cooker for a minimum of 6 hours or as long as 24 hours.

Give It a Try: Salad for Breakfast

Salad has traditionally earned its keep by being a go-to choice for lunch or dinner, but it has generally not been part of the scene on the breakfast table.  We are here to tell you, if you have been limiting salad to the latter part of the day, it’s time you give this healthy and versatile meal a prominent place on your breakfast regime! Need convincing? Here’s why a salad just may be the perfect breakfast choice:

  1. Super Easy. Traditional breakfast items like eggs and meats lend themselves beautifully to quickly and easily being tossed on a salad—no recipe required! Chop a boiled egg (or try topping it with a fried egg!), slice some avocado, and dice your favorite breakfast meat (or any leftover meat you may have around), and you instantly have a healthy and filling breakfast.
  2. Green Smoothie Alternative.  Despite their popularity and health advantages, green smoothies just don’t appeal to everyone. Others may enjoy green smoothies, but wish to have a little more variety in their breakfast menu. Either way, a salad at breakfast is a terrific alternative to get spinach, kale, and other greens into your body first thing in the morning—no straw required!
  3. Gives You a Little “Insurance” When the Day Gets Hectic. Even with the best of intentions, the day can sometimes get away from us, leaving us short on getting in as many veggies as we need for the day. By starting your day with greens topped with other veggies, you give yourself a head start on your nutrient intake and a little added insurance on getting in all the veggies you need each day.
  4. Versatile and Customizable. Another benefit of creating a yummy salad for breakfast is that you don’t have to follow any specific recipe or stock a long list of particular ingredients. Start with your greens, add a protein, toss in additional veggies and/or fruits, and a healthy fat and you’re set to go to make a breakfast as unique as you are.
  5. Impressive. It may be hard to believe with as simple as they are, but making a large breakfast salad is quite an impressive dish to make for the next brunch you host. The vibrant colors of different fruits and veggies makes for a beautiful presentation, the ingredients are perfect to make in large quantities, and the nature of the recipe makes it easy to individualize with the addition or subtraction of particular ingredients based on people’s food allergies or preferences.