Cocoa and dark chocolate have been shown to benefit the circulatory system and may have beneficial effects that include anticancer, brain stimulator, cough prevention, and some antidiarrheal effects. Epicatechins in cocoa and dark chocolate possess a significant antioxidant action, protecting against LDL oxidation. The theobromine ingredient was found to be almost one-third more effective than codeine in treating coughs, and the chocolate also appears to soothe and moisten the throat. Flavonoids, the water-soluble plant pigments that make berries colorful and dark chocolate have gotten a lot of positive press lately. They can inhibit the development of diarrhea, suggesting an antidiarrheal effect for chocolate. Flavonoids from cocoa were associated with a 4% improvement in blood flow and with average reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 5.88 and 3.3 mmHg, respectively. You’d need to consume about 1.75 ounces (about 50 grams) of dark chocolate daily to see such benefits, so you need to also take into account the fat (about 25 grams) and calories (about 250 kcal) in chocolate.
It is a challenge to keep all these chemicals straight, but concentrating on a diet high in vegetables and fruits can do your body good without breaking out a textbook at every meal. ” While an overall diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many cancers and other diseases, you cannot make up for a poor diet simply by taking pills.”
Valentine’s Day — More Chocolate and Raisins
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that, worldwide, approximately one billion valentines are sent each year, and that, women purchase approximately 85 percent of all of them. While chocolate is regularly eaten for pleasure and an aphrodisiac effect is as yet unproven, a gift of chocolate is a familiar courtship ritual and a most welcome valentine.
Since 1971 the United States has celebrated Washington’s Birthday on the fourth Monday in February. This year that falls on February 16, and is preceded closely by Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12. Just a few short weeks after the inauguration of our 44th President, we will again honor our First and Sixteenth Presidents — George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. So February is a great time to plan one or two of those very patriotic — red, white and blue celebrations, to commemorate our auspicious past.
Along with flags; tall red, white and blue hats; and bunting galore, this is an opportunity to feature favorite foods of those Presidents’ and do a little Education through sampling, as Valerie Waters suggests, by encouraging your kids to try some foods that they might not otherwise.
Lincoln’s Birthday and Bicentennial
On February 12, the nation will mark the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s Birthday when President Barack Obama will join other renowned dignitaries in presenting wreaths at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the people of the United States and other organizations.
Lincoln’s favorite foods may be served at banquets and luncheons to commemorate the occasion, too. When those preferences are mentioned, fricasseed chicken comes up quite often, and fruit salad, cheese and crackers are mentioned frequently. He avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals, even for food. At 6 foot 4 inches, he was taller than George Washington, but weighed in at only 170 pounds before he assumed the Presidency, but lost weight while in the White House. Perhaps, he should have partaken of California Raisins’ Fricassee of Chicken Casserole with Bourbon and Raisins, once in awhile. A Warm Party Brie when they entertained dignitaries, might also have been one of his favorites. We would like to believe that an Apple Raisin Compote, California Raisin-Apple Salad, or Coleslaw with Raisins and Peanuts took him back to his roots in Illinois while he served in the White House.
If you have ever wondered what George Washington listed as his favorite foods, it probably was not cherries, even though he may never have chopped down the tree. His preferences are sometimes listed as ice cream and fish; other times string beans with mushrooms, cream of peanut butter soup, and mashed sweet potatoes with coconut make the list while others make a point of his breakfast preference for hoe cakes topped with butter and honey.
We do know that he understood how to entertain those who dined at the executive residence and once referred to Mount Vernon as a “well-resorted tavern” noting that he and Mrs. Washington seldom dined alone. As a gentleman farmer employing cooks and servants of all kinds, we can imagine that Washington may have from time to time served a version of our Recipe of the Month, Skirt Steak “Bourbon Street Style”.
These are just a few of the great recipes to be found at LoveYourRaisins.com. Wherever you go, whatever you do, California Raisins can add to the fun and enjoyment. From snacks to soups and sauces to special desserts, they are the Wise Choice for better eating, every time!
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