This morning was so glorious, clear skies, perfect sunrise over the sacred mountain and crystal clear air. We packed our guests here at El Meson in the van and took them to Chachimbiro Thermal Springs (picture below) and soaked in its mineralized waters.

Arco Iris Pools at Chachimbiro Thermes

Locals knew of pools of healing waters since prehispanic times, but the majority of these medicinal thermal waters began to flow after an earthquake in 1868. They come from a volcanic complex that has existed 10,000 years and flow at temperatures ranging from 92 F to 132 F.

Their chemical composition makes them among the best healing waters in the Americas as they contain chlorides, sulfides of iron, copper, fluorine, bromine and iodine. They act as a digestive, purgative regulator, stimulant of the cardiovascular system, diuretic and a central nervous system stimulant.

You can see the enormous beauty of the pools below. Plus there is one other beautiful fact. No one is ever there during the week. Plenty of groups and families come up for the weekends (there are overnight cabanas at less than $10) but we usually come on Monday or Tuesday when everything is ours to enjoy. Today perhaps due to the fact this is Friday and one loan couple was there. Glorious!

This is just one of the many features we enjoy in Cotacachi. We have now taken control of the hotel here and welcome you to come stay a week and enjoy the new “R & R Health Program” we are implementing. Soak in the thermal pools, have health walks and massages every day, enjoy an Andean purifying diet and cap off the week with a day at the Relais and Chateaux La Mirage spa. We have our own in house massage therapist who awaits you for one of the best massages we have ever had at $15. (one hour).

One important part of this health week is important. You can enjoy the superb organic Ecuadorian chocolate! This is the message I wish to leave you with to savor over the weekend. Chocolate is Good!

Chocolate often takes a bad health rap, but it is not the cocoa in chocolate bars that is bad. It is the fats and sweeteners that are added that reduce the benefits of this tasty food.

The real fact is that many health benefits can be gained from eating minimally processed cocoa.

First, chocolate contains bioflavonoids that are some of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is a measurement for antioxidant activity in food. Of all the healthy fruits and vegetables the USDA has tested, the highest ORAC values were found in prunes. Chocolate’s ORAC value is more than two times higher than prunes! (5,770 ORAC per 100gr. for prunes vs. a whopping 13,120 ORAC per 100 grams for chocolate.)

Dark chocolate has more flavonoids than red wine and green tea.

Chocolate is also high in potassium and magnesium and provides vitamins B1, B2, D, and E.

According to www.chocolate.org findings published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication says “Scientists have long known that cocoa contains antioxidants, but no one knew just how plentiful they were compared with those in red wine and green tea.

“The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. (Cy) Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N. Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids, indicating the presence of known antioxidants that can stave off cancer, heart disease and other ailments. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE.

“If I had made a prediction before conducting the tests, I would have picked green tea as having the most antioxidant activity,” said Lee. ‘When we compared one serving of each beverage, the cocoa turned out to be the highest in antioxidant activity, and that was surprising to me.’

“Phenolic compounds protect plants against insects and pathogens, and they remain active even after food processing. ‘A decade ago food scientists did not know that phenolics had an important role in human health,’ says Lee.

“Lee and his colleagues used two chemical tests that measured how well the cocoa compounds scavenge for free radicals — agents that cause cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

In the paper, the researchers discuss eating chocolate bars instead of drinking cocoa. ‘Although a bar of chocolate exhibits strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits are still controversial because of the saturated fats present,’ the researchers write.”

Pure organic minimally processed chocolate (such as Yachana Pure Jungle Chocolate) reduces this negative counterpoint in enjoying this rich, velvety food. See below how we can help you gain wealth as well as health from this chocolate.

In previous years, drinking a cup of hot cocoa in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and a glass of red wine in the evening might not have been considered good for one’s health. Research now suggests that this is a healthy combination.

There may be other health benefits in chocolate. A CNN article entitled, “Chocolate: A heart-healthy confection?” by Catherine Ann Rauch says: “Chocolate could be good for the heart in ways other than just by improving romance.

“New and yet-to-be-published studies are showing that antioxidants in chocolate — dark chocolate and cocoa powder — may increase ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels by as much as 10 percent, says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., a registered dietitian at Pennsylvania State University.

“In the studies, subjects ate 22 grams of cocoa powder and 16 grams of dark chocolate every day (one Hershey bar contains 45 grams of cocoa powder). The result: Their ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol was less susceptible to oxidation, a process that normally leads to artery-clogging plaques. While many people take vitamins and other antioxidants to help prevent plaque development, the study shows that cocoa could do the trick.”

Imagine grabbing a quick chocolate bar instead of popping a multivitamin! This is an attractive thought.

The article says more:

“Chocolate may be endowed with more than just antioxidants. Previous research by Kris-Etherton published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1997 showed that one of the fats in chocolate, called stearic acid, can boost HDL levels. Also, when people ate milk chocolate regularly, their levels of LDL didn’t increase as might have been expected from fat consumption.

“The message here is that chocolate’s not bad, and it may have some beneficial effects,” says Kris-Etherton, who will present her latest research at a San Diego, California, conference of experimental biologists in April. “People should not feel guilty about eating it.

“Plain dark chocolate products containing a minimum 70% or more cocoa solids is the healthiest and the best way to satisfy a craving for chocolate, without consuming too much sugar and saturated fat or HVO. Pure chocolate of this nature taken in moderate amounts will not make you fat, but can actually help you maintain a healthy weight.

“Pure organic chocolate quenches your desire for sweets. Enjoyed in moderation, up to 2oz per day of chocolate can be part of a healthy diet.

So, next time you are craving chocolate, your body may be well informed. Treat yourself to a pure organic chocolate and enjoyable way to enhance your health. We enjoy chocolate from the jungle…it has a deep satisfying taste without the fatty sweetness….delicious!

Even better come join us at Meson de las Flores for a week where you can really relax and improve. If you are interested send me a note at gary@garyascott.com and I’ll provide you with full details.

Until next message, have a great weekend!

Gary

P.S. Join Merri and me at our Import-Export Expedition in late March. We will feature Yacahna Chocolates and ideas on how to profit from exporting fair trade products from Ecuador at this course. DETAILS

Double your profit potential with the MultiCurrency Sandwich. Details on my Borrow Low – Deposit High service

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of Jyske Bank and me at our next International Business and Investing Made EZ course in North Carolina. Review where to invest and do business now and learn which markets and currencies may be strong in the year ahead. DETAILS