Tag Archives: Health

Chocolate

 

As we make our way toward the tail-end of this rather mild winter, you may find yourself celebrating Valentine’s Day. For different couples, this day has various associations. Perhaps it’s an excuse for a romantic getaway. Maybe it’s a vibrant bouquet of flowers to dispel the winter’s dreariness. Or, if you’re anything like me, it’s all about the chocolate. Is it any wonder that we give this delicious, unique, and versatile treat away as a sign of our affection? Let’s dig a bit deeper into the world of chocolate, using the resources available in the Ivy Tech Northeast Library, to help understand what makes this confection so special.

A world without chocolate sounds like a dark place, but depending on where your ancestors hail from, that may have been the case. Made from the seeds of the cacao tree, chocolate was known for centuries as a treat, usually in the form of a drink, to Central American civilizations such as the Maya and the Aztecs. While we have come to associate the food with chocolatiers from Switzerland or Belgium, chocolate didn’t hit European shores until the Spanish conquistador Cortés encountered it during his New World exploration in the 16th century. As this Modern Marvels segment, available from the Films on Demand database, points out, chocolate as we know really came to be in 1828 when Dutch chocolate maker C.J. Van Houten created a press that allowed for the processing of cacao seeds into a dry powder, which in turn allowed in to be pressed into bars or baked into all the delectable treats we know it for today.

Since this development, the uses for chocolate have become many and varied, from the simplest bite-sized chocolate bar to the most elaborate cakes and pastries. The book Chocolate Passion from Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty is chock-full of “choc”-full recipes that feature the ingredient in delightful ways. For something relatively simple, the “Pain au Chocolat” is the perfect treat. The light, flaky croissant crust is the perfect way to deliver a rich, melted chocolate filling. If you’re feeling a bit more daring, try the unique fusion of flavors in “Ganache-filled Fried Wontons with Ginger Ice Cream and Chocolate Sorbet.” This recipe teaches you how to make everything, from the ice cream itself made with fresh ginger, to the ganache filling with bittersweet chocolate and cognac. The “Asian-spiced Dipping Sauce,” with its cinnamon, cloves, and anise is a perfect example of the many flavors that can complement and enhance your chocolate eating experience.

If you’re looking for something solely chocolate-focused, try Lisa Yockelson’s “Chocolate Savannahs, Remodeled” from her appropriately Chocolate Chocolate. As Yockelson describes, “The intense flavor reaches a chocolatey plateau in the dough through use of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and chocolate chips in the dough.” I’ll take a dozen.

Are you a diagnosed chocaholic? Ok, that may be a made-up condition, but our curiosity about chocolate from a health standpoint is definitely real. From the MedlinePlus database, an article from the National Institutes of Health entitled “Claims about Cocoa: Can Chocolate Really Be Good for You?” explores the various health claims about chocolate and its place in our diet. It details an interesting study about the Kuna people off the coast of Panama whose low risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure was found to be inconsistent with their salt intake and weight. Could this be good genetics? Not likely. The article also states that “those who moved away from the Kuna islands developed high blood pressure and heart disease at typical rate.” One unique aspect of their diet that piqued the interest of researchers was the fact that, as Dr. Brent M. Egan said, the amount of cocoa they consume “was easily 10 times more than most of us would get in a typical day.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stock up on Hershey’s bars for daily consumption. The Kuna’s chocolate is much closer to the original way that humans consumed it, a drink made from crushed and dried cacao pods that we would probably find much too bitter. Some researchers have tried to find links between chocolate and preventing disease such as diabetes or cancer, but it’s difficult to determine correlation with something as complex as diet, and almost impossible to declare causation. Even if chocolate helps stave off diabetes, most of the chocolate we eat as Americans is delivered in a way that is high in sugar and fat, which almost certainly does more harm than good. Going with darker, less processed chocolates—ideally paired with healthy foods such as fruits and nuts—seems to be the way to go. This is because a compound called flavonols are thought to be responsible for the health benefits of chocolate. Often flavonols, along with the more bitter taste that accompanies them, are removed the more cocoa is processed. By the time that cocoa makes its way into your slice of triple chocolate cheesecake, you probably shouldn’t consider it a health food. We haven’t yet reached a consensus on exactly what the health benefits of chocolate are, but as long as you’re watching the sugar and fat that accompany it, you may very well be doing your body a favor.

Are you going to enjoy any chocolate this month? There’s no wrong way to do so, and with so many interesting flavor combinations, you’ll never run out of interesting and flavorful ways to try this delicious ingredient. If you need more ideas about how to get more chocolate in your life, make sure to stop by the Ivy Tech Northeast Library and get inspired. (By Library Clerk, David Winn)

Emergency Medical Technician – 27 DVDs

27-part Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) series features realistic scenarios and professional EMT’s who demonstrate treatment skills for various medical and trauma related emergencies. Clearly defined training objectives combined with high-quality video and 3-D graphics create powerful and engaging training tools that help meet national, state and local training requirements for EMS personnel.

These programs support current popular EMS text books and were developed using the most recent and accepted emergency care protocols, including the Department of Transportations’ National EMS Education Standards, NREMT skills and relevant OSHA and NFPA standards. Content and course oversight was also provided by a program committee of highly qualified Doctors, EMS educators, pre-hospital care providers.

All ATS on-line interactive EMT courses are CECBEMS (Continuing Education Coordinating Board for EMS) approved and accepted by the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT), as well as in most states.

Back From Madness – The Struggle For Sanity on DVD

Follows four psychiatric patients for one to two years, from the time they arrive at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, and contextualizes their present-day treatments with rare archival footage demonstrating how their conditions were treated in the past. On one level, the program examines what psychiatric treatment is like today at one of the world’s most famous hospitals. Beyond this, the program is about the patients themselves, and the inner strength that is required of them as they search for some relief from the severe mental illnesses they are coping with–schizophrenia, manic-depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suicidal depression.

New Video: Unseen Enemies

Beginning with mankind’s earliest recorded history, infectious disease has taken the lives of more humans than all wars, famines and natural disasters combined—not by a narrow margin but by an overwhelming landslide. Before the birth of modern science, losses to these unseen enemies were routinely blamed on the collective sins of man and the wrath of angry gods. Over the course of centuries, man’s ongoing inability to comprehend the microbial world profoundly influenced the development of world religions, societies and medicine, while frequently altering the outcome of human conflict and war.

Unseen Enemies examines the top eleven infectious disease killers in human history, as well as the men and women whose dedication and sacrifice helped to expose answers and cures for each of these runaway conditions. By looking back upon medical history, today’s students of science and medicine might better understand how their own careers may one day profoundly impact the course of human history and scientific achievement.

Celiac Awareness Month

October marks the observance of Celiac Awareness Month, an event to generate awareness about a serious and painful chronic condition that results from reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat. Conservative estimates show that at least 1 in 170 people have celiac disease, but it may also be under-diagnosed. Sufferers of celiac disease experience discomfort and pain in the digestive tract, diarrhea and chronic constipation, anemia, fatigue, and trouble properly absorbing nutrients through the intestines. The only real treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, a tough but manageable feat, at least here in the U.S. The article Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet through the Health and Wellness Resource Center is a good overview of other symptoms and dietary restrictions for those with celiac disease.

Gluten? That stuff is bad, right? Part of the reason for raising awareness is providing clarity for those who misunderstand the mechanisms of celiac and similar conditions, and it all boils down to that one little word. So, let’s talk about gluten.

Gluten is such a misunderstood term in America that some have even begun to poke fun at it. In the 2013 apocalyptic comedy film This Is the End, Seth Rogan and Jay Baruchel (playing themselves) are arguing about the benefits of a gluten-free diet. When Baruchel accuses Rogan of not even knowing what gluten is, Rogan responds, “Gluten is a vague term. It’s something that’s used to categorize things that are bad. You know, calories, that’s a gluten. Fat, that’s a gluten.” With the way that “gluten free” has been marketed as a buzzword, someone whose only exposure to the term from ad copy might conclude that it is a dangerous chemical that is being needlessly injected into food. Gluten is, in fact, a naturally occurring wheat protein that is so useful that we extract it and use it elsewhere in our foodstuffs for its ability to add structural integrity—chewiness, basically. So how does this naturally occurring chemical react so poorly with some people’s bodies?

Celiac disease is not just an extreme allergic reaction. In a gluten or wheat allergy (allergy to other proteins contained in wheat other than gluten), the body reacts in the same way as other food allergies. The symptoms, while painful, are a temporary result of the body’s immune system reacting against proteins that it has incorrectly deemed harmful to the body. Once the reactive food is no longer in the body and the immune response has subsided, there is no permanent damage to the body. In celiac disease, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase reacts with the tissue of the small intestine, creating histological changes in the cells of the digestive system, weakening them in a way that causes many of the disease’s painful symptoms well after the meal has passed through the digestive tract. You can read more about the mechanism in the article Celiac Disease from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology through Proquest. The reaction to the gluten, in the case of celiac sufferers, is literally changing the body chemistry of the person through continual reactions. Does that mean eating gluten will damage one’s digestive tract? Hopefully not. Celiac disease is a genetic condition, and we understand it to the point that we have identified the gene markers that determine celiac disease, and we can test for them to rule out other autoimmune and digestive conditions.

If one don’t have celiac disease or allergies to wheat or gluten, should one be eating wheat? The simple answer is, you’re probably fine, in moderation. However, there is some research that is starting to shed light on other problems of wheat consumption that, while intriguing, is incomplete. Let’s talk about the term “leaky gut,” more technically known as intestinal permeability. Technically this refers to the phenomenon where the gastrointestinal wall becomes more porous, allowing the absorption of molecules beyond the nutrients it is supposed to absorb. Gliadin, another wheat protein, can react with the zonulin in the gut wall in order to produce this effect. The sticking point seems to be under what conditions this effect actually takes place. One study (Possible Links between Intestinal Permeablity and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine) available through PubMed Central concluded that many conditions can result in increased intestinal permeability, but in trying to find an association between ingredients such as gluten and these conditions, the researchers concluded that “We have attempted to illustrate how alimentary compounds induced via modern cooking, food conservation and food processing methods may be associated with these pathologies when (intestinal permeability) is increased. These associations are certainly largely unrecognized and not necessarily easy to identify.” Studies like this seem to be turning up similar results: there is enough sporadic correlation between gluten and intestinal permeability to warrant study, but no one has been able to link causation in any meaningful way. In fact, another study (Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two glutenassociated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity) which compared the increase of intestinal permeability in celiac patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity found that gluten sensitivity “is not associated with increased intestinal permeability.” So why are gluten free diets so popular without conclusive proof that gluten is harmful for those who aren’t sensitive to gluten?

Never underestimate the allure of a new dieting fad. Many of the diets which include a gluten-free focus will help people lose weight. However, this probably has more to do with the elimination of carbs, not just gluten. Due to the health conditions that can be aggravated by gluten, many savvy salesman have been quick to try and correlate unwarranted health benefits to a gluten-free diet. Some diets that are good for your health will be gluten free; switching to a gluten-free diet will not automatically be good for your health. Let’s illustrate this by looking at one effect of eating wheat that can affect you, regardless of sensitivity: wheat’s effect on the glycemic index (GI), a way of measuring blood sugar increase after eating. In his book Wheat Belly , William Davis points out that “whole wheat bread has a GI of 72, while plain table sugar has a GI of 59. In contrast, kidney beans have a GI of 51, grapefruit comes in at 25, while noncarbohydrate foods such as salmon and walnuts have GIs of essentially zero.” Put simply, this shows that consumed food is converted into glucose, a sugar that, while necessary for providing energy, will be converted into fat if it’s not used up. Clearly, wheat has the potential to create excess fat. Here’s the rub: all starches do. If a GI of 72 sounds scary, consider for a moment white rice (GI or 89), corn flakes (GI of 93), or a baked russet potato (GI of 111). (Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods) Maybe gluten is not the worst, huh?

Coincidentally, the “albatross around all of our necks” may be the same reason it’s so difficult for those with celiac disease to find an appropriate meal in our current food climate. Because gluten is such a useful ingredient, we end up using it—a lot. It’s in sauces and soups, candy, processed meats and seitan, and many other products. Gluten provides structure, and makes for much more appealing products in everything from visual appeal to mouth feel. Unfortunately, we are paying the price if we’re not burning all of the glucose that results from it. Thus, we can all benefit from watching the amount of wheat (and other starches) in our diets, and a big part of this is shirking processed foods in favor of whole ingredients. For people with celiac disease, allergies, and intolerances, books like the Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook: 150 Gluten-free, Lactose-free Recipes, Many with Egg-free Variations  are an essential tool for maintaining health and not getting bored in the kitchen. For those who really want to cut their intake of carbs, try Real Life Paleo : 175 Gluten-free Recipes, Meal Ideas, and an Easy 3-phased Approach to Lose Weight & Gain Health. We should all be sympathetic to the lengths that people with conditions like celiac disease go to in order to ensure their meal is one they can eat, and perhaps we can take it as a cue that we should all put a little more thought into what we’re putting into our bodies.

If you think that you have celiac disease, see your doctor immediately. If you think you have allergies or sensitivities to gluten or anything else, consult your doctor. If you have concerns about gluten or anything else in food, certainly don’t take my word for it; ask the experts and look at good research. Scientists will continue to research the effects of gluten and all sorts of other food chemicals on the body, and one day we will know to a fuller extent the effects of wheat on the human body. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are some very vocal proponents out there who tout all grains as the cause of anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and many other conditions, but this goes against the medical consensus of those who readily admit that while reducing carbs can help with certain neurological disorders, it is quite a leap to conclude that they caused them in the first place. For the time being, though, barring any medical conditions that make wheat the wrong choice for you, you can have that sandwich on whole wheat bread every once in a while. Just make some time for exercise too.

(By Library Clerk, David Winn)

New on the Video Shelf

Taylor’s Guide to Clinical Nursing Skills
Tracking number: 823 H

 

With more than 12 hours of video footage, this updated series follows nursing students and their instructors as they perform a range of essential nursing procedures. The Third Edition includes brand new footage to reflect current best practices and to address changes in procedures and equipment, in addition to two new skills. From reinforcing nursing skills to troubleshooting clinical problems on the fly, this dynamic video series shows nursing students and their instructors engaged in realistic nurse-patient and student-instructor interactions. Ideal as a stand-alone learning tool or as a companion to textbooks in the Taylor suite, these engaging videos parallel the skills in the textbooks and are organized in topical modules for easy reference. Donated to the Library by Dean of School of Nursing, Jewel Diller.

New on the Video Shelf

Death investigation crisis, most famous autopsies with Dr. Michael Biden, dealing with dementia, mastering EKG and more…Watch trailers below

Progression of Dementia: Seeing Gems – Not Just Loss DVD
Call number: RC 521 .P7647 2011

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In “Progression of Dementia” Teepa explains
– how to tell apart different disease stages to better adapt your caregiving techniques
– why patients in later stages can’t relax their muscles and how to safely handle them to avoid bruising
– how to reduce the risk of falls
– how to safeguard your relationship with the patient as the disease progresses
– how to reduce unwanted behaviors by controlling the environment and effectively shifting their focus
– about appropriate activities (for an in depth activity program also see “Filling the Day with Meaning”)

Frontline: Post Mortem DVD
RA 1063.4 .P67 2011
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Every day nearly 7000 people die in America and the rate of autopsies the gold standard of death investigation has plummeted. As a result not only do murderers go free and innocent people go to jail but the crisis in death investigation in America is also a threat to public health. FRONTLINE reports the results of a joint investigation with ProPublica NPR and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley.

Autopsy: Postmortem with Dr. Michael Baden DVD
RA 1063.4 .A987 2008
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HBO Documentary Films Autopsy series lives on with Autopsy Postmortem, in which Dr. Baden, the acclaimed patriarch of forensic pathology, gives viewers exclusive insight into some of his most high-profile cases including John F. Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, the Romanovs and first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

EKG Interpretation and Response DVD
RC 683.5 .E5 E354 2015 (4 vols.)
This course provides a brief summary and overview of the heart’s components and functional properties as background for a discussion about EKG interpretation. It also provides guidance on calculating heart rate on the EKG. autonomic nervous system effects, and how to assess sinus rhythm. It includes the following categories: the heart’s electrophysiologic properties, the heart’s electrical conduction and mechanical response systems, interpreting normal EKG waveforms, how to calculate heart rate on the EKG, autonomic nervous system effects, and assessing normal sinus rhythm.
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