This blog is about food, diet, lifestyle and health. I consider these the pillars to a happy life. Here I am sharing my own journey during this COVID-19 pandemic. After practicing medicine for over 37 years, I am just beginning to discover the wonders of a healthy life.
Hippocrates, the Greek founder of western medicine, was quoted often with the following statement: “Let food be thy medicine, and left medicine be thy food.”
Yet this quote cannot be found anywhere in Hippocrates‘ writings. The original oath of Hippocrates, literally translated, says: “I will apply dietetic and lifestyle measures to help the sick to my best ability and judgement, I will protect them from harm and injustice. “Another statement by Hippocrates about food, which reads: “In food, excellent medicine can be found, in food bad medicine can be found, good and bad are relative. “
Today’s food item is 99% organic cocoa powder. I am taking one and a half teaspoon each day, mixed with almond milk and ice, with about a quarter teaspoon of coconut blossom nectar to lessen the slightly bitter taste of the cocoa powder. I am enjoying it for the taste and the potential benefit for my health, especially during this trying time of COVID-19.
Cocoa originated from ancient Mayans, who mixed roasted cocoa beans with spices to form a bitter drink. Today we add cocoa with fat, sugar and milk to make chocolate. In fact, pure chocolate is nonfat cocoa solids plus cocoa butter. The flavonoid, a natural anti-oxidant, is contained in cocoa solid. Epi-catechin is the main ingredient. As such, it is only present in dark chocolate, and not white chocolate, as the latter has only cocoa butter and no non-fat cocoa solids. For unsweetened cocoa powder, it has 82% non-fat cocoa solids. For dark chocolate, 23 %, and for milk chocolate, only 6%. So, if one is aiming for health benefit, milk chocolate should not be included in one ‘s daily consumption.
A summary of the benefits of epi-catechin is listed here. It is important to understand the amount needed for the effects. I am using the minimal amount in all the studies that shows the benefit, as the higher amount is not practical in daily life, but used in studies to proof a point. My recommendation is only the starting point for your own consideration, and should not be viewed as a prescription. This is a food item with some health benefits after all.
- Decreases DNA damage and reactive oxygen species ROS. Reduction of oxidation and endoplasmic reticulum stress may lead to decrease in Advanced Glycation End Products AGEs, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increases in Serotonin with resultant calmness and contentment.
- Increases in Nitric Oxide production with decreases in blood pressure.
- Increases in adult stem cells for injury repair need.
- Decreases in risk of heart attack and stroke, due to decreases in NF-kB and adhesion molecules and cytokines.
- Decreases in oxidized LDL, decreases in triglyceride, increases HDL.
- Increases exercise tolerance, mitochondrial function, increases V02max.
Increases insulin sensitivity.