processed

  1. The right way to get your chocolate fix

    I always cringe when I read a news report on the health benefits of cocoa -- the takeaway is almost always "eat more chocolate."

    Sure, go ahead and eat more chocolate -- if you want to kill yourself.

    But if you want the health benefits, you'll need to stick to pure cocoa and get it the same way I do: so raw you have to steal it from a monkey.

    What's the difference? Glad you asked.

    Chocolate is a candy loaded with sugar, soy, and an alphabet soup of chemicals -- and if that's not bad enough, the cocoa used to make it has been treated, processed, and roasted until all the health benefits are literally baked right out of it.

    Any antioxidants that manage to survive this torture are purely accidental.

    Raw cocoa, on the other hand, is fermented and dried -- a process that preserves all the nutrients and gives the cocoa bean (which is actually a seed) 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries and 120 times the power of bananas.

    It's a nutritional superfood that can protect your heart and arteries, boost your immune system, fight cancer, and prevent diabetes. It's also a great natural libido-booster used as an aphrodisiac for centuries by the indigenous Indians of Central America.

    Now, I'm sure all that has you hungry for some raw cocoa of your own. The good news is that this stuff is easier to find than ever -- you can get whole beans, nibs (chopped up beans), or raw cocoa powder.

    The bad news is that this is definitely not chocolate as you've ever tasted it before. It's got a depth and complexity that rivals wine, and can be an acquired taste for those raised on Hershey bars.

    Some people never acquire it.

    If that's you, don't give up -- try blending raw cocoa powder into your coffee and smoothies for that familiar chocolate taste with none of the added sugars or soy.

    It's so good you won't believe it's not bad for you.

  2. Taking a second look at nutrition labels

    Taking a second look at nutrition labels

    The children's obesity crisis has reached epidemic proportions here in the U.S. - and with all the marketing gimmicks out there, it's not hard to figure out why.

    A new study out of Britain reveals that nine out of 10 regular food items produced specifically for kids have incredibly poor nutritional content. Here's the kicker, though - 62 percent of the foods with horrifically bad nutritional quality had the nerve to put a nutritional claim on the front of the package.

    Of all of the 367 products studied, only 11 percent of them - that's just about 40 of products - actually provided good nutritional value as defined by the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

    According to the CSPI, a healthy food is one that derives no more than 35 percent of its calories from fat (not counting nuts and seed and nut butters), and that has no more than 35 percent added sugar by weight. Other parts of CSPI's nutritional standards govern sodium content of foods as well.

    But Big Junk Food - like Big Pharma - can't be given an inch, or they'll take a round- the-world trip. The study actually found that 23 percent of the foods with poor nutritional quality made ludicrous nutritional claims that stretched the truth nearly past the breaking point. A product that mixed peanut butter and chocolate claimed to be "a source of six essential nutrients," while a pizza product had packaging that said it was - get this - a "source of calcium."

    Bottom line: Anything processed and packaged shouldn't even make its way into your grocery cart. You can't rely on package claims of nutrition. It's up to America's parents to stay vigilant and help teach kids the right things to eat. That starts at home - not on the shelves of the grocery store.

    The best-kept secret to keeping an active sex life

    Researchers in Finland have discovered that older men who have more sex experience fewer erection problems.

    Imagine how much fun it must've been for the patients involved in that study!

    It seems like this is a sort of chicken or egg statement, doesn't it? After all, don't you have to have an erection in the first place in order to have more sex? But the researchers studied 989 men aged 55 to 75 and found that men who had sex less than once a week had twice the risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction as men who had sex at least once a week.

    Here's how the numbers played out: 79 of 1,000 men who had sex less than once a week experienced erection issues compared with 32 of 1,000 who had sex at least once a week. The real winners (in more ways than one) were the men who had sex THREE times a week (lucky fellas), of whom just 16 of 1,000 experienced erectile dysfunction.

    The study concluded that doctors should advise their patients to follow what's probably the best doctor's advice a man will ever hear: stay as sexually active as possible.

    When it comes to a healthy sex life, it seems the law of "use it or lose it" has been proven.

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