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Resveratrol Also Found in Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

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Hershey’s Center for Health and Nutrition has announced the publication of a study that shows resveratrol, a compound often associated with the health benefits of red wine, is also found in cocoa and dark chocolate products.

Scientists report that cocoa powder, baking chocolate and dark chocolate all have significant levels of resveratrol, a naturally occurring antioxidant.

Products from six categories were tested for the level of resveratrol and its sister compound, piceid. The six product categories included cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet baking chips, milk chocolate and chocolate syrup. Gram for gram, cocoa powder had the highest average amount of resveratrol and piceid, followed by baking chocolates, dark chocolates, semi-sweet chips, milk chocolate and then chocolate syrup.

The resveratrol levels of cocoa powders, baking chocolates and dark chocolate exceeded the levels for roasted peanuts and peanut butter per serving, but were less than California red wine.

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How Much Chocolate Should You Eat?

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According to researchers, 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day — a bit less than half a bar a week — represents the ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

The findings come from one of the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted in Europe. The study focused on the complex mechanism of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases ranging from myocardial infarction to stroke.

The study found that people having moderate amounts of dark chocolate regularly had significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood, which indicates that their inflammatory state was considerably reduced.

Those who ate dark chocolate regularly had a 17% average reduction in C-reactive protein — enough to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by one-third in women and one-fourth in men.

The findings apply to dark chocolate only. Milk chocolate does not have the same effect, since milk interferes with the absorption of polyphenols.

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Suppliments our body needs

Bee Propolis

Honey bee on Geraldton Wax Flower, NSW, AustraliaImage via Wikipedia

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Other name: Propolis
Definition:
Propolis is a resinous mixture that bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6.35 millimeters (0.3 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature. At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.

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Propolis is a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of some trees and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers. The bees gather propolis, sometimes called bee glue, and carry it home in their  pollen baskets.  They blend it with wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomens. Propolis is used to slickly line the interior of brood cells in preparation for the queen’s laying of eggs, a most important procedure.  With its antiseptic properties, this propolis lining insures a hospital-clean environment for the rearing of brood.

For centuries, beekeepers assumed that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Propolis as hive sealing Propolis is now believed to do the following:

1.To reinforce the structural stability of the hive.

2.To reduce vibration

3.To make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances

4.To prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive

5.To prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, found its way into the hive and died there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.

Composition
The composition of propolis will vary from hive to hive, district to district, and from season to season. Normally it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, and will gather what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that propolis chemical composition varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). Poplar resin is rich in flavanoids. “Typical” northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in additional to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators. Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones. In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs, and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis, and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented[8]. An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties[9]. Occasionally worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive, therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive’s propolis may be absent from another’s, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Side Effects
Propolis shouldn’t be applied to the eye area. Repeated use of propolis may make people more prone to developing allergies.

Other uses
Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis
http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsa1/a/Bee_propolis.htm

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Couples Fight Less Over Time

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Constantly fighting with your partner over the same thing? It might be worth hanging onto the relationship, with a recent survey finding couples argue less, and get better at resolving differences, with time.

The online survey, by New Zealand counselling firm Relationship Services, polled more than 1,500 couples in long-term relationships and found that 78% were having ongoing disagreements.

But the survey showed that people get better at handling disagreements, with those in relationships for three to seven years reporting a higher level of recurring disagreements than those in relationships lasting 21 years and more.

“People in longer relationships may have sorted out many of their differences, but it was also clear that they handle disagreements in ways that better support the relationship,” said Hilary Smith of Relationship Services on the company’s website.

“For a quarter of people, disagreements and how they dealt with them actually had a positive impact on how they felt about the relationship and their partner,” Smith said.

The survey listed the money and financial security as the issue couples argue about most — four out of 10 people, regardless of income levels.

Parenting and childcare caused 35% of disputes, the survey said, and added strain to a relationship, with 86% of people who have children at home saying they have recurring disagreements, compared with 68% for those without kids.

Other common causes of disagreement are work pressures (31%), time pressures (29%), housework (26%) and sex (25%).

Sources: The Times Of India

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Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure

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Dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure but over-indulgence in it can cause harm, suggests a new study by researchers in Germany. Chocolates are made from cocoa – the dried and partially fermented fatty seed of the cacao tree.

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Cocoa contains flavonoid, a type of chemical that researchers say has been shown to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Cologne studied 44 people with raised blood pressure, putting them into two groups. One ate six grams of dark chocolate daily, the other the same amount of white chocolate.

The people were between 56 to 73 years with either upper-range pre hypertension (blood pressure between 130/85 and 139/89) or stage 1 hypertension (blood pressure between 140/90 and 160/100).

None of those eating dark chocolate registered changes in body weight or their levels of glucose and lipids, the researchers wrote in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA).

Their systolic blood pressure – the upper reading which measures the force of blood as the heart beats – fell by 2.9 mm and their diastolic blood pressure – the lower figure taken as the heart relaxes – reduced by 1.9 mm.

The suggestion that cocoa is beneficial for health is not new and previous research had also suggested it could bring down blood pressure.

However, it had been thought that large quantities were needed to achieve the desired effect and that the benefits would then be offset by the consequences of consuming the high levels of fat and sugar associated with cocoa products.

But the researchers said they have now shown that benefits can be achieved with a small amount – 30 calories worth of chocolate.

They noted that the blood pressure reduction was small but stressed that the effects were clinically noteworthy.

A 3 mm reduction in blood pressure could “reduce the relative risk of stroke mortality by 8 percent, of coronary artery disease by 5 percent, and of all cause mortality by 4 percent,” the researchers said.

They also stressed that asking people to consume a couple of chunks of chocolate a day was far easier than encouraging “complex behavioural changes” to help them reduce their blood pressure.

However, the British Heart Foundation‘s nutritionist Sara Stanner warned that it was “important to remember that chocolate is also high in fat and calories so over-indulgence is not good for your heart.
Source:The Times Of India