Raw Cacao an Amazing Nitric Oxide Booster

Raw Cacao an Amazing Nitric Oxide Booster

[Original Article]


Have you ever wondered if chocolate has any health benefits? Turns out that it does! But this is true for raw cacao as opposed to regular cocoa. Raw cacao is an amazing nitric oxide booster that also contains many nutrients and antioxidants.

What is raw cacao?

Raw cacao is the unprocessed material from which cocoa and chocolate are made. Raw cacao is produced from the bean of the cacao tree also known as theobroma cacao whose origin is the Amazon region. However, most cacao today is grown in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Brazil and Indonesia. Cacao has been used as a food, an aphrodisiac or medicine for about 3,000 years.

But, while it is the source of cocoa, raw cacao is different from ordinary cocoa in that raw cacao is unprocessed while cocoa is processed using heat. Processing robs cocoa of some of the nutrients and other health enriching properties like phytochemicals, sulfur and magnesium such that compared to raw cacao, cocoa has minimal healthy properties.

In its raw or semi-processed form, cacao is a rich source of important nutrients like magnesium, selenium, potassium and copper. It also contains antioxidant phytochemicals that are beneficial to health, especially blood circulation by increasing production of nitric oxide.

Benefits of cacao for men

By boosting nitric oxide production, raw cacao greatly enhances men’s health in various ways including the following:

Helps in weight management and bowel movement

Raw cacao is rich in fiber which is necessary for a healthy weight and good bowel movement. By eating fiber-rich food regularly, you end up feeling full for longer so that you don’t have the urge to keep snacking. This can help you lose excess weight. Note, however, that chocolate and regular cocoa contain less fiber. They also contain sugar and milk and therefore cannot help in weight management. It is also worth to note that losing excess weight is important for both your overall health and sexual health in particular. Excess weight, especially around the abdomen besides endangering your cardiovascular health.

Raw cacao improves nervous and muscular functions

Cacao is rich in magnesium and potassium, minerals that are important for proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system among many other functions. Cacao also contains other properties that support muscle and nerve functions. Studies have found that cacao has positive effects on muscles and nerves.

Prevents anemia

Because cacao is rich in iron, its regular consumption can help prevent anemia. Anemia is a condition whereby blood is deficient in red blood cells which are necessary for transport of oxygen throughout the body. This leads to issues like fatigue and malaise and may also affect sexual ability. Be sure to also eat fruits rich in vitamin C for better iron absorption.

Reduces risks of heart disease and other circulatory problems

Raw cacao is a rich source of phytonutrients and antioxidants that are believed to help neutralize free radicals within the body. This reduces the damaging effects of oxidation leading to improved blood circulation. It also reduces the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Reduces chronic fatigue syndrome

Regular consumption of cacao can help reduce the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition in which a patient suffers from chronic syndrome such that he is unable to function normally. This may include poor sex drive and low energy. A study found that when patients consumed 15 grams of polyphenol-rich cocoa three times per day for eight weeks their chronic fatigue conditions improved.

Helps Relieves depression

Raw cacao contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has mood enhancing properties besides helping the body to produce the feel-good hormone known as serotonin. These compounds are responsible for better sleep and relief from depression.

Nutrition contents of Cacao

Raw cacao is a highly nutritious food. It contains carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber. It also contains a number of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus. Raw cacao is also rich in antioxidant phytonutrients.

Here is a list of the nutrition contents of cacao courtesy of the USDA: Calories 228 kcal  – Total carbohydrate 9 g – Sugars 8 g – Total fat 7 g – Protein 6 g – Fiber 2 g

Vitamins: Vitamin E 1 mg – Caffeine 230 mg – Theobromine 2057 mg -Vitamin K 5 mcg -Niacin 2 mg – Riboflavin 2 mg -Thiamin 1 mg -Vitamin B6 1 mg -Pantothenic acid 3 mg – Folate 32 mcg – Choline 0 mg

Minerals: Potassium 1524 mg – Phosphorus 734 mg – Magnesium 499 mg – Calcium 128 mg – Sodium 21 mg  – Iron 9 mg – Zinc 8 mg -Manganese 8 mg -Copper 8 mg – Selenium 3 mcg

According to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), based on a 2000 calorie daily diet, 100 grams of raw cacao provides 39% daily value (DV) of protein, 21% DV of total fat, 125% DV of magnesium, 77% DV of iron, 189% DV of copper, 192% DV of manganese, 20% DV of selenium and 133% DV of dietary fiber.

How to use raw cacao

You can use cacao in various ways to enhance your virility, energy and general health. Note that only raw and minimally processed cacao contains all the nutritional benefits of theobroma cacao.

Here are a few ways to use raw cacao:

  • Add one or two tablespoons of raw cacao powder to smoothies.
  • Add cacao nibs, also known as cacao chips, to smoothies or trail mixes.
  • Blend a tablespoon of cacao powder in a cup of cold or warm coconut or nut milk to make a great anti-oxidant drink. You may add some honey, maple syrup, stevia or vanilla for flavor.
  • Eat a piece of minimally processed bar of raw cacao to get its maximum benefits.


5 Inflammation-Causing Foods To Avoid

5 Inflammation-Causing Foods To Avoid

[Original Article]


We all know that eating healthfully is important. However, one thing that few people talk about is the risks associated with foods that cause inflammation. While this is well-known to people suffering from arthritis (inflammation of the joints), inflammation has also been linked to many other diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.

Food is medicine and fuel for the body. And just as using poor quality fuel can negatively impact your vehicle, your body is no different. So it’s important to be aware of which foods cause inflammation – some may seem obvious, while others you may find surprising.  Here’s what to avoid:

1. Sugar

sugar causes inflammationIt may be hard to avoid, but sugar is one of the leading causes of inflammation. Sugar causes the release of inflammatory proteins known as cytokines. While these proteins are important in fighting against inflammation, there are both pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and sugar releases the pro-inflammation variety.

2. Saturated Fats

Studies show that saturated fats trigger inflammation of fat tissue. This has a negative effect on arthritis and is also an indicator for heart disease.  Saturated fats are most often found in cheese, red meat, fast food, and high fat dairy products.

3. Processed / Refined Carbohydrates

refined carbs, processed carbohydratesWhite flour such as bread is the main culprit here, with fried foods, and white rice included as well. These foods contribute to the production of advanced glycation end products which triggers inflammation in the body. There is also evidence to suggest that refined carbohydrates may be worse than fats in contributing to obesity.

4. Additives & Artificial Sweeteners

Your body cannot process artificial ingredients well, so substances such as aspartame and mono-sodium glutamate may trigger an immune response.  Aspartame is a neurotoxin that the body frequently “attacks” therefore causing inflammation.  Artificial ingredients are often hidden in processed food, condiments, and spice mixes.  Aspartame in particular is commonly found in soft drinks, especially “diet” or “healthier” beverages.

Another familiar additive is MSG (which you may be used to associating with Chinese food).  But you may be surprised to know that this well-known flavor enhancer is also commonly found in a large number of canned and prepared foods, fast food, and deli meats. In addition to contributing to chronic inflammation, MSG has been shown to negatively impact the liver.

5. Gluten

One of the most common sensitivities and allergic reactions that people have is to the gluten protein in grains and processed foods, which can cause inflammation of the intestinal tract.  Symptoms and reactions may vary between individuals, but a new study links the protein found in wheat (amylase-trypsin inhibitors or ATIs) to inflammation even beyond the gut.  The evidence suggests that ATIs can cause inflammation in the “lymph nodes, kidneys, spleen and brain” and can “worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, lupus and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”


Symptoms such as chronic fatigue, muscle or joint pain, rashes, weight gain, digestive issues, and high blood pressure may be signs of inflammation.  So be aware of your body’s responses to certain foods and when in doubt, consult your physician to determine the best recourse for controlling the symptoms you are experiencing.

Controversy does surround some foods, such as diary, which many people suggest avoiding due to the sensitivity and allergic reactions people can have to the lactose or casein in dairy products.  However, studies actually show that there isn’t enough evidence to draw conclusive determinations as to the detriment versus benefit of dairy on inflammation bio‑markers.  In general, experts agree that a well-balanced diet focusing on plant-based nutrition is always a good choice for reducing inflammation and living a healthy life.

New Splenda Studies Confirm Its Dangers

New Splenda Studies Confirm Its Dangers

[Original Story]

Story at-a-glance

  • The artificial sweetener industry has defended the safety of sucralose (Splenda), stating that it rapidly passes unmetabolized through your body and therefore has no biological effects
  • Recent research reveals sucralose is in fact metabolized and that it accumulates in your fat cells. The study found two new metabolites that have not previously been identified
  • As these findings were not part of the original regulatory decision process for sucralose, the researchers are calling for a review of its safety and regulatory status
  • Other recent research found sucralose causes definite changes in the liver of treated rats, suggesting toxic effects. According to the researchers, sucralose should be used with caution to avoid liver damage
  • Previous research found sucralose reduces gut bacteria by 50 percent, preferentially targeting bacteria known to have important human health benefits

By Dr. Mercola

Sucralose (sold under the brand name Splenda) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 as a tabletop sweetener and for use in products such as baked goods, nonalcoholic beverages, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices and gelatins.

It's also permitted as a general-purpose sweetener for processed foods. (In the European Union, sucralose is known under the additive code E955.) The approval was given after the FDA supposedly reviewed more than 110 animal and human safety studies, but of these 110 studies, only two were done on humans, and the longest one lasted just four days.

I knew the approval of sucralose was a nearly identical mistake that the FDA made with aspartame, which is why I wrote my book, "Sweet Deception," in 2006, despite the fact Johnson & Johnson threatened to sue me if I published it. It is certainly vindicating to see the studies confirm what I wrote about in my book over 12 years ago. And the video I made above was shot over seven years ago.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose may have zero calories, but your body isn't fooled. When hit with a "sweet" taste, your body expects calories to follow, and when this doesn't happen, it causes biochemical distortions that can result in weight gain, metabolic dysfunction and other health problems.

Sucralose Decimates Your Gut Microbiome

Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies detailing harmful effects ranging from brain damage to preterm delivery. Sucralose, meanwhile, has been found to be particularly damaging to your gut. Research1 published in 2008 found sucralose:

  • Reduces gut bacteria by 50 percent, preferentially targeting bacteria known to have important human health benefits (consuming as few as seven little Splenda packages is enough to have a detrimental effect on your microbiome)
  • Increases the pH level in your intestines
  • Is absorbed into and accumulates in fat tissue

In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement:2

"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."

New Study Finds Sucralose Is Metabolized and Stored in Your Body

Needless to say, the industry has vehemently defended sucralose (and all other chemical sweeteners), stating that it rapidly passes unmetabolized through your body and therefore has no biological effects. Alas, recent research has punched yet another giant hole in the argument that sucralose is a biologically inert chemical, showing it is in fact metabolized and that it accumulates in fat cells.

The study3,4 in question was published in the online version of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health August 21, 2018. An interview with the authors can be found on Inverse.5

Ten rats were given an average dose of 80.4 milligrams (mg) of sucralose per kilo per day (k/day) for 40 days. According to the researchers, this dosage is "within the range utilized in historical toxicology studies submitted for regulatory approval in North America, Europe and Asia."

Urine and feces were collected daily from each rat, and were analyzed using ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS), which "revealed two new biotransformation products that have not previously been reported."

Research Calls for New Safety Review of Sucralose

The two metabolites are acetylated forms of sucralose that are lipophilic, meaning they dissolve in and combine with fats. Sucralose itself is far less lipophilic, which has been part of the safety argument. According to the authors:

"These metabolites were present in urine and feces throughout the sucralose dosing period and still detected at low levels in the urine 11 days after discontinuation of sucralose administration and six days after sucralose was no longer detected in the urine or feces.

The finding of acetylated sucralose metabolites in urine and feces do not support early metabolism studies, on which regulatory approval was based, that claimed ingested sucralose is excreted unchanged (i.e., not metabolized).

The historical metabolic studies apparently failed to detect these metabolites in part because investigators used a methanol fraction from feces for analysis along with thin layer chromatography and a low-resolution linear radioactivity analyzer.

Further, sucralose was found in adipose tissue in rats two weeks after cessation of the 40-day feeding period even though this compound had disappeared from the urine and feces."

So, not only is sucralose metabolized, these metabolites accumulate in your fat tissues, where they remain for "an extended period of time" after you stop consuming sucralose. In all, these findings led the authors to conclude:

"These new findings of metabolism of sucralose in the gastrointestinal tract and its accumulation in adipose tissue were not part of the original regulatory decision process for this agent and indicate that it now may be time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of this organochlorine artificial sweetener."

Sucralose Is Not an Inert Compound

Previous research has also noted that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound, as claimed. In the 2013 paper,6 "Sucralose, a Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues," the authors state, in part:

"Sucralose and one of its hydrolysis products were found to be mutagenic at elevated concentrations in several testing methods … Both human and rodent studies demonstrated that sucralose may alter glucose, and glucagon-like peptide 1 levels. Taken together, these findings indicate that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound."

Importantly, the study also notes that "Cooking with sucralose at high temperatures … generates chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds." Yet, Splenda is frequently recommended for cooking and baking,7 and is often used in processed foods in which high heat was involved.

Chloropropanols, which are still poorly understood, are thought to have adverse effects on your kidneys and may have carcinogenic effects.8 However, it's worth noting that chloropropanols are part of a class of toxins known as dioxins, and dioxins are known to cause cancer and endocrine disruption.

Sucralose May Cause Liver Damage With Regular Use, and More

Another study9 published online August 2, 2018, in the journal Morphologie, found sucralose caused "definite changes" in the liver of treated rats, "indicating toxic effects on regular ingestion." According to these researchers, their findings suggest "sucralose would be taken with caution to avoid hepatic damage."

In other words, regularly using Splenda could damage your liver. Here, adult rats were given a much higher (yet nonlethal) oral dose of sucralose — 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) per kilo body mass per day for 30 days, after which the animals' livers were dissected and compared to the livers of unexposed controls. According to the authors:

"Experimental rats showed features of patchy degeneration of hepatocytes along with Kupffer cells hyperplasia, lymphocytic infiltration, sinusoidal dilatation and fibrosis indicating a definite hepatic damage on regular ingestion of sucralose. Sinusoidal width was also found to be increased in experimental animals as compared to controls."

Studies have also linked sucralose consumption to:

Genotoxicity (DNA damage) and potentially adverse epigenetic effects.10 According to this paper, the acceptable daily intake set for sucralose may in fact be hundreds of times too high to ensure safety

Shrinkage of the thymus, up to 40 percent11,12

Enlargement of the liver and kidneys13,14

Calcification of the kidneys15,16

Increased leukocyte populations (immune system cells) in the thymus and lymph nodes17


Altered glucose, and glucagon-like peptide-1 levels and responses,19 which raises your risk for Type 2 diabetes.


Alterations in P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels, which could result in medications used in chemotherapy, AIDS treatment and treatments for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines, rather than being absorbed by your body21

Commonly Reported Side Effects of Splenda

If you start searching for adverse events reports, you'll find scores of people reporting a variety of side effects from using Splenda. The following are common symptoms, usually noticed within a 24-hour period following consumption of a Splenda product:

Skin — Redness, itching, swelling, blistering, weeping, crusting, rash, eruptions or hives (itchy bumps or welts)

Lungs — Wheezing, tightness, cough or shortness of breath

Head — Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue or throat; headaches and migraines (severe headaches)

Nose — Stuffy nose, runny nose (clear, thin discharge), sneezing

Eyes — Red (bloodshot), itchy, swollen or watery

Stomach — Bloating, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea

Heart — Palpitations or fluttering

Joints — Joint pains or aches

NeurologicalAnxiety, dizziness, spaced-out sensation, depression

Are You Having a Reaction to Splenda?

To determine if you're having a reaction to artificial sweeteners — be it Splenda, aspartame or any of the others — take the following steps:

  1. Eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks
  2. After two weeks, reintroduce your artificial sweetener of choice in a significant quantity (about three servings daily)
  3. Avoid other artificial sweeteners during this period
  4. Do this for one to three days and take notice of how you feel, especially as compared to when you were abstaining from artificial sweeteners
  5. If you don't notice a difference in how you feel after reintroducing your primary artificial sweetener for a few days, it's a safe bet you're able to tolerate it acutely, meaning your body doesn't have an immediate, adverse response. Just know that this doesn't mean your health won't be damaged in the long run
  6. If you've been consuming more than one type of artificial sweetener, repeat steps 2 through 4 with the next sweetener on your list

If you do experience side effects from an artificial sweetener (or any other food additive for that matter), please report it to the FDA (if you live in the U.S.). It's easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state and make a call to report your reaction.

Keep in mind that some medications may contain sucralose as well, even if it's not listed on the label. If you continue to experience any of the symptoms above even though you're avoiding Splenda and other artificial sweeteners, then it may be worth investigating whether any of the medications you're taking contain artificial sweeteners.

Splenda Has Never Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption

The FDA claims they reviewed over 100 studies conducted on Splenda. What they don't tell you is that: a) only six of these studies were human trials — and only two of them were published before the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption — and b) the remaining animal studies actually revealed potential health problems, including:22

  • Decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia) at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
  • Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
  • Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
  • A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group

What's more, the two human trials had a grand total of 36 subjects, only 23 of whom were actually given sucralose, and the longest of these trials lasted just four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance.23

Even more shocking, the absorption of Splenda into the human body was studied on a grand total of six men. Based on that study,24 the FDA allowed the findings to be generalized as being representative of the entire human population, including women, children, the elderly and those with any chronic illness — none of whom were ever examined.

Healthier Sugar Substitutes

Two of the best sugar substitutes are from the plant kingdom: Stevia and Lo Han Kuo (also spelled Luo Han Guo). Stevia, a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, is sold as a supplement. It's completely safe in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks.

Lo Han Kuo is similar to Stevia, but it's a bit more expensive and harder to find. In China, the Lo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries, and it's about 200 times sweeter than sugar. A third alternative is to use pure glucose, also known as dextrose.

Dextrose is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you'll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than regular sugar. Still, it's well worth it for your health as it does not contain any fructose whatsoever. Contrary to fructose, glucose can be used directly by every cell in your body and as such is a far safer sugar alternative.