Are Natural Juices Healthy?

Woman Chooses DrinksAre fruit juices better than sodas for preventing obesity and tooth decay?

Nope! Let’s look at some of the facts. What exactly is in carbonated drinks?  Carbonated soda contains large amounts of sugar. Some contain more than 11 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz can!  Additionally, carbonated drinks also contain acids that eat away at the enamel of the teeth.

What about diet sodas?
Aren’t diet sodas supposed to be good for us? Diet sodas still contain the same acids and do serious damage to tooth enamel.

Knudsen Grape JuiceAre organic or “all natural” juices better than other fruit juices?
Not necessarily.  It depends upon the acid and sugar content.  Tooth decay is caused the combination of bacteria and food in your mouth. Plaque, the sticky substance, contains bacteria and is always forming on your teeth and gums.  Fruit juices, even those labeled “ALL NATURAL,”  or “ORGANIC”, are high in sugars which have been shown to cause serious decay. Children who sleep with bottles of juice, natural or otherwise, will have decay problems at a very young age.

What do the labels tell us?
Let’s take a look at R. W. Knudsen’s Organic Concord Grape Juice and Welch’s Healthy Choice 100% Natural Grape Juice. One cup of organic grape juice contains 38 grams of sugar. One cup of Welch’s “natural” juice contains 36 grams of sugar. There is very little difference in the sugar.

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R. W. Knudsen’s
Organic Concord Grape Juice
Available Sizes (s) 8 FL OZ, 32 FL OZ
CONTAINS 100% JUICE

Nutritional Information
Serving Size 8 FL OZ (240 ml)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 150
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 250mg 7%
Carbohydrates 39g 13%
Sugars 38g
Vitamin C 8%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%

Not a significant source of other nutrients.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Welch’s Healthy Start
100% Grape Juice
Serving Size 8 FL OZ

Amount Per Serving
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Sodium 15mg 1%
Potassium 120mg 4%
Total Carb 38g 13%
Sugars 36g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 120%
Calcium 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


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Child GatoradeAre sports drinks healthier than sodas?
Sports drinks
might seem great because they are associated with healthy activities.  We see photos of muscular athletes drinking sports drinks and think that this is the key to health and fitness. We are also influenced by marketing ads that convince us that this is a necessary and effective means of hydrating ourselves.

Gatorade is regarded as a sports drink that is heavily tested and researched by a team of professionals.  These professionals claim that the electrolytes in the drink absorb quickly into the body for hydration making Gatorade essential to the rigorous athlete. Gatorade has a team that is continuously modifying and evaluating their product, especially since they have been under attack in recent years, for their ingredients. However, sports drinks, like natural and organic juices, do contain high levels of sugar. Gatorade and Powerade, for example, contain as much as two-thirds the sugar in carbonated sodas.   Organic acids in drinks are very erosive to dental enamel.

Gatorade and other similar power drinks and energy drinks designed for hydration, often contain ingredients that have been found to be less favorable for our health and well-being. Gatorade has water, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), sucrose syrup, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, modified food starch, red 40 and glycerol ester of rosin.

Sugars in sports drinks can vary. Some drinks contain about 11 grams of sugar per cup and others contain about 30 -40 grams of sugar. chemicals, food colorings, and food additives can be very destructive. Multiple research studies have shown the negative effects of these ingredients on the body.

BVO LabelPepsico Gatorade and other power drinks might contain brominated vegetable oil (BVO).  This is the same ingredient found in flame retardants that are put on children’s clothing and bedding.   When used in flame retardants, research has found that it can build up in both the body and breast milk. Studies link that the  buildup of BVO in the body can lead to neurological disorders, reduced fertility, hormonal changes,  and advanced puberty.

Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to short term health Skin rash from BVOproblems, including cramping, blurred vision, skin rashes, watery eyes, nausea and vomiting and cyanosis (turning the skin a bluish color), heart lesions, memory loss, birth defects and inhibiting growth.
CAREFULY CHECK the labels of your soft drinks to makes sure they do not include brominated vegetable oil.

Which drinks are more likely to cause obesity?
All drinks high in sugar cause obesity when used in excess regardless of whether it’s natural, organic, or filled with refined sugars, chemicals, food colorings and food additives.  Natural sugars found in fruits are better for us, but still contribute to obesity when over indulged.  People who drink fruit juices and eat fruit all day long are more likely to have weight problems than those who choose to drink plenty of water and supplement the diet with a moderate amount of natural sugar foods and drinks.

Tooth Decay from SodaWhich drinks destroy tooth enamel?
Studies have revealed that the enamel damage caused by non-carbonated drinks, canned lemonade, canned teas, and sports drinks was three to eleven times greater than carbonated sodas.   Energy drinks and bottled lemonades were shown to cause the most harm to dental enamel.

Which drink is the healthiest?
Woman drinking waterThe best choice is to drink plenty of WATER. Read labels. Always choose healthy, raw, and natural, don’t overdo with daily sugar and organic acid intake. Practice dental hygiene.  Try using a water pic. Brush and floss daily and get plenty of exercise. 🙂 ♥

Resources
Mayo Clinic – “Brominated Vegetable Oil: Why is BVO in My Drink?”
New York Times – “Drink Ingredient Gets a Look”
Web MD – “Energy Drinks: Bad for the Teeth?”
American Dental Association

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

20 Health Benefits of Chocolate

 

20 Benefits of Chocolate

Is Chocolate Beneficial to Me?
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can be beneficial to our health.  This is not the creamy milk chocolate commonly found in stores and in most commercial candy bars.   Healthy, dark chocolate is nearly black in color, does not have added sugar, and is bitter (for most sweet-seeking eaters) to taste.   It’s no secret that chocolate has lots of fat in it and calories and so does dark chocolate. But first let’s look at it’s good qualities.

Chocolate

The  Theobroma cacao also known as the cacao tree , or cocoa tree, is a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae.  It is  native to the deep tropical region of America.  Cocoa powder and chocolate are made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree.   Cocoa has long been known for it’s medicinal properties.  It was popular among Aztec and Mayan people.   The oldest known cultivation and use of cacao dates from about 1100 to 1400 BC.  Archaeologists reported finding evidence of Cacao beans being used for food, drink, and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Cocoa beans
What is the healthy ingredient in dark chocolate?
The Europeans added sugar to the cocoa to create the sweetened chocolate that we know today.  Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols, high in caffeine, and antioxidants.  Current research studies have shown flavanols to be effective in the following ways:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • lowering cholesterol
  • lifting the mood, curbing depression
  • providing anti-aging effects
  • serving  as a natural stimulant

    Chocolates

In the past the cocoa bean has been used as an elixir in the following ways:

  • to gain weight
  • to stimulate those who are exhausted or feeble
  • to improve digestion and elimination
  • to  stimulate kidneys
  • to improve bowel function.
  • to reduce or alleviate effects of anemia
  • to increase appetite
  • to eliminate mental fatigue
  • to increase breast milk production
  • to aid in the symptoms and discomfort of influenza, tuberculosis fever, gout, kidney stones
  • to increase sexual drive

    Chocolate dipped

Is there anything unhealthy  about dark chocolate?
Yes, chocolate is still high in fat and calories   Let’s first take a look at the fat.  First of all it’s important to note that there are good fats and bad fats.   Good fats are monounsaturated fats.   Not so good fats are   saturated fats.   Saturated fats, like full-fat dairy products and fatty animal proteins, have been shown in past research studies to increase risks of heart disease, high cholesterol and some cancers, including colon cancer.  There is currently a controversy about saturated fats, with recent research contradicting past studies.  More study may be needed.

When choosing fats, a safe choice is to pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat.  Really bad fats are trans fats.  Fried foods, packaged cookies, chips, candy and granola bars, and cooking oils, contain trans fats which can increase bad cholesterol and inflammation, and decrease good cholesterol in the body.


Chocolate factory

It’s a mixed issue with chocolate.
Monounsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats and helpful to us.  Cocoa butter is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fats, with less polyunsaturated fats. So about one-third of the fat in dark chocolate can be potentially bad for us. The good fats in dark chocolate are Oleic Acid and Stearic acid. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat. Stearic acid is a saturated fat, but it is neutral to cholesterol.  That is good.

Where People Get their FatsPalmitic acid is also in dark chocolate.   Palmitic acid is the bad fat.  It raises cholesterol and heart disease risk. So that fact is that one-third of the fat is not so good saturated fat, and about two-thirds of the fat is good or neutral saturated fat and good monounsaturated fat in dark chocolate.

Another issue is the caffeine.
Caffeine
is found in the coffee bean and cocoa bean. Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate, because it is more pure, and with less added ingredients. It is generally accepted that caffeine consumption that is kept under 200 mg per day does not result in illness However, intake of caffeine over 200 mg can create digestive problems. Pregnant women should not use high levels of caffeine. Difficulties in conceiving have been linked to regularly taking in 1,000 mg of caffeine per day. Other symptoms such as problems sleeping, nervousness, and rapid heart beat can be associated with high levels of caffeine. Caffeine in high doses has been known to trigger migraine headaches, although when taken in small amounts, it can be used to stop or reduce the effects of a painful migraine and also can be beneficial and helpful in stopping an asthma attack when an inhaler is not available.

Clean Teeth

What about tooth decay?
Surprise! Recent studies are showing chocolate can actually HELP tooth decay!   Researchers at Osaka University in Japan found that parts of the cocoa bean, the main ingredient of chocolate, stop mouth bacteria and tooth decay.  The milk in the milk chocolate helps to halt plaque. The cocoa bean husk  has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth.  It can fight effectively against dental plaque and other damaging agents.

 

What is the bottom line?
The bottom line is that dark chocolate can be beneficial if eaten in small quantities.  Never overindulge and remember to care for yourself.  Exercise, eat a well balanced diet, do things that make you happy, be persistent with achieving your goals, and get plenty of sleep.   When chocolate is eaten in excess, it can raise cholesterol, increase weight, increase risk of heart failure and heart disease, and trigger anxiety, stress, headache, nervousness, and  cause rapid heart beat.

Use the cocoa bean and chocolate wisely and draw upon the wisdom of our ancestors.

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.  All photos are copyright free from www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted.


Disclaimer:
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.