Thursday, May 25, 2006

Forget About Sex And Have Some Chocolate Instead

We all know chocolate tastes good, but did you know it has emotional and physical benefits as well?

Recently there have been many studies on the effects of chocolate and it has been shown that by liberating endorphins, chocolate can provide us with a sense of well being as well as energy and pleasure. It’s no wonder that some women surveyed stated that they preferred chocolate to sex!

Now I’m not talking about the junky chocolate bars you find in the candy counter. In order to get the benefits of chocolate you need to eat the good stuff - the kind that has at least 71 percent real cocoa. This is the gourmet chocolate that you probably never buy for yourself. But now that you know it’s good for you feel free to indulge, the extra money you spend will be well worth the health benefits and taste!

The rich texture and taste of this high quality chocolate acts as a pleasure for the senses. It can be an aphrodisiac and also can help energize you as it contains caffeine as well as serotonin which can lift your mood.

Even better than that, though is that eating chocolate also can benefit your health!

Dark chocolate contains phenols which promotes cardiovascular health. According to the British Medical Journal eating 100 grams of dark chocolate reduces blood pressure as well as cardiovascular incidents by 21 percent. And phenols are also loaded with antioxidants which help to battle free radicals that can cause disease.

The cocoa butter in chocolate has been used topically to heal scars and burns and chocolate is a good source of magnesium which is a mineral many of us do not get enough of. With all these things going for it, it’s no wonder there is ongoing researching using chocolate in the development of medicines that can fight diseases like cancer and osteoporosis.

But as well all know, chocolate is fattening. Your best bet is to eat the dark chocolate which has less sugar and also more phenols. Of course, you should eat it in moderation - scarfing down 3 chocolate bars in one sitting probably won’t have 3 times the health benefits and the extra sugar and fat can have a detrimental effect on your health.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find the type of chocolate that is good for your, however you may not be able to just pop down to the local grocery to pick it up. A trip to my local supermarket in search of chocolate with 71% cocoa was a bust. The closest I could find was an organic bar that had 70% cocoa. You may need to take a trip to an organic or chocolate specialty store. If you go with organic chocolate, you can be assured that they don’t contain organochlorine pesticides which are typically used in treating cocoa crops and are harmful to your health.

So take a trip down to your local organic food stores and pick up some great dark chocolate - it will be worth the trip and the expense to enjoy this healthy food guilt free!

Die Religion

Kinder, Gentler Chemotherapy

With the advent of technology brought to the U.S. from France, having to postpone, even stop, regular life activities to go to a chemo ward to receive chemotherapy treatments, may be a thing of the past. Utilizing a portable, computerized pump that can fit in a fanny pack, patients receive their chemotherapy at a time when it will be most effective and least toxic.

"Using a portable, computerized pump to deliver chemotherapy allows patients to participate in normal daily activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, and even sleeping while they are receiving their treatments," states cancer specialist Keith Block, MD, who brought this technology to the U.S, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer CAM Editorial Board. “This unique pump allows for a more specialized method of chemotherapy administration than just modifying the timing of the drug alone. This revolutionary delivery system has demonstrated in large randomized trials its potential to improve survival."

One patient, LisaAnn McConnell, used to go in-line skating along Lake Michigan wearing that special fanny pack. Little did anyone know that the fanny pack she wore was administering chemotherapy for her colon cancer.

"It allows for larger doses to be delivered more frequently, with higher efficacy and lower toxicity," said pioneering chronobiologist Dr. William Hrushesky, a senior clinical investigator at the Dorn VA Medical Center in South Carolina, one of just a handful of U.S. locations that offers chronotherapy. "It's kinder, gentler and at the same time, more aggressive and effective."

"Every drug has an optimal time when it is least toxic and most effective," says Dr. Block. "For cancer treatment, this is determined by several factors, including the biological uniqueness of the particular drug being given, the time when the specific type of cancer cells divide the most, when the normal healthy cells of the patient generally divide the least, the patient’s circadian clock and individual rest-activity cycles, and even the time zone the person resides in."

"We have found that often patients receiving their chemotherapy this way reduce what would have been recurring side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue," explained Dr. Block cofounder and Medical/Scientific Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care, and Director of Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. This is important because the debilitation caused by chemo can cause patients to reduce or even stop treatments that could otherwise help them win their battle with cancer." In fact, current research shows that up to 1/3 of chemotherapy patients abandon treatments prematurely due to the side effects.

According to Dr. Block, "Even after prior treatments have failed patients, using our specialized pumps to administer chronomodulated chemotherapy, we have been able to re-challenge these same patients with the identical drug regimen and this time around gotten successful results."

McConnell, who was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 46, is the third generation in her family to have been diagnosed with this form of cancer, and until now there have been no survivors. “I’m happy to say that my doctors now think that my cancer is 100% gone,” says McConnell, now 47.

The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care located in Evanston, Illinois, was founded in 1980 by Penny and Keith Block, M.D., committed to the unrelenting belief that no cancer patient should ever be given up on, and with a focus on treating the patient as a whole person, not simply treating the diagnosis. The Center's research-based treatment integrates an innovative approach to the best of conventional medicine with scientifically sound complementary therapies -- therapeutic nutrition, botanical and phytonutrient supplementation, prescriptive exercise, and systematic mind-body strategies, to enhance the recovery process. Block has pioneered this "middle ground" approach to cancer care and optimal health – designing a total treatment plan that is tailored to the precise needs of each patient, using a unique set of clinical and laboratory assessments.

The Block Center is breaking new ground with the creation and development of Cancer Rehab as an innovative treatment modality, and is currently the only private North American medical center using chronomodulated chemotherapy. Dr. Block is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board in Washington, D.C. While the Block Center is a full treatment clinic, it is also officially a CCOP site through the National Cancer Institute, and is engaged in clinical cancer research with the University of Illinois and other university facilities in the United States and Israel (

Hobbynutte Karin