As a food blogger and a writer it is very important for me to get educated on food, learn where does the food/ingredients I cook with comes from and learn what experts have to say about it.

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To better help us with the Q & A’s on this post I went to a wonderful resource, Best Food Facts. Best Food Facts gives you the opportunity to connect with food system experts around the country who have done the research, checked their work and want to share the results with all of us for our benefit. Awesome all the way!

Here are the top 5 questions I get asked the most. I must admit that I don’t know it all or have the precise answer for every food question I get, but I sure do know where to look and you have access to them to. Just go to the bottom of this post or the side bar and enter your food question. No question is too silly, trust me, BFF’s experts will search, re-search and find the best answer.

Balsamic Pepper Fig Chicken Wings / recipe by My Sweet ZepolBalsamic Pepper Fig Chicken Wings

 1. Is organic the best? Is organic food better than conventional foods?

The truth is, “there is very little evidence showing significant differences in nutritional value of organic and conventional foods”, according to Dr. Ruth MacDonald. She explains more about it. “Organic is actually a food production process that has been defined by the USDA based on the principles of reducing the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers and raising food animals without antibiotics and growth promotants. Producers who want to use the USDA organic label on their food must be certified and comply with federal regulations just as conventional producers do. Both organic and conventional foods are inspected and growers must follow rules for safe production practices. Both organic and conventional foods are regulated and monitored for safety when it comes to levels of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics”. Read more about it.

2. How do I know the chicken I am buying is the best one?

Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor; Brenda Roche helps us with this question. “Out of all the chicken options at the grocery store, the healthiest option is fresh chicken breast. The white meat (chicken breast) has slightly less cholesterol than the dark meat (legs and wings). It is definitely lower in saturated fats. In general, poultry is a heart-healthy protein. Usually, the less processed it is, the better. Be sure to remove the skin of the chicken, and you will have a really great source of lean protein.” Read more about it.

Now, keep in mind the meal you are preparing. Some recipes calls for dark meat while other call for the breast of the chicken. I love chicken breast whereas my girls loves drumsticks. I buy both. You should also know that budget wise the dark meat is less expensive than the chicken breast.

3. What about natural, organic, farm-raised, free-range, antibiotic-free, etc.? Is one healthier than the other?

Another question that Brenda Roche helps us with. “There are a lot of labels out there these days, so it’s important for consumers to understand what the labels mean. Labels like organic, natural, free-range and antibiotic-free are more of a personal preference for consumers. Some of these terms are regulated by the USDA, and others are not. There might be a difference in the taste or quality that the consumer might prefer with certain labels. However, just because it has one of those labels does not mean it is healthier.”

Grocery shopping can be stressful, specially when you want to feed your family with the best ingredients available and don’t have a clue what some words mean. Here’s a wonderful article about food labeling found on meat, poultry and processed egg products, that will help you as much as it has helped me.

 Gooey Salted Caramel Brownies / recipe by My Sweet ZepolGooey Salted Caramel Brownies

4. You have lots of recipes with chocolate, is there any health benefit in chocolate?

I have to say chocolate is my no. 1 weakness when it comes to food. I must confess…I don’t share. Yes, I said it. I am terrible when it comes to sharing, but I do share the recipe with you all. That makes it so much better. Now, to answer this question we have Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD. She agrees that chocolate is good for you. Yes and yes! “Chocolate is made from flavonoid-rich cocoa beans. Flavonoids are plant nutrients that help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. Luckily for us humans, we also benefit from the antioxidant power of flavonoids. The main type of flavonoid found in cocoa is flavonols. Flavonols not only have antioxidant qualities, but according to research, can also influence vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.” Read more about it.

Feel free to consume your favorite chocolate and enjoy it! My favorite is dark chocolate, divine!

Dark chocolate is higher in antioxidant power due to its higher cocoa content – that is why it is bitter. The higher the cocoa content, the more bitter the taste.

Milk chocolate tends to be the most popular despite having less antioxidant power than dark chocolate. Milk chocolate’s creamier texture and lighter brown color are due to the fact that it contains more milk and dairy fat than dark chocolate.

White chocolate…is not actually chocolate as it contains no dark cocoa powder but is rather a rich combination of sugar, milk solids and cocoa butter. White chocolate tends to be higher in calories than dark and milk chocolate.

Wine from The Hess Collection (sponsors at Food and Wine Conference 2015) / by My Sweet Zepol

5. Is red wine good for you?

I must admit I enjoy wine. With great company, specially on date nights with my husband. Typically they are at home while the girls are in bed. We look up some recorded shows (Once Upon a Time as of this days), get some cheese or fruits with a nice bottle of wine and enjoy the indoors date night. Very casual. I believe wine has healthy benefits, but to bring you a more accurate answer I went to Best Food Facts experts.

Dr. Tony Johnston explains it here; “Resveratrol is one of many compounds produced by plants in response to stress. It is found in the skins of grapes as well as other foods such as peanuts and berries. This particular compound is one of a class of compounds called “polyphenols” (based on their physical structure) noted for its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants in general are thought to protect the human body against oxidative damage that leads to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and diabetes. The logical argument is that consuming foods high in antioxidant compounds (including resveratrol) will protect a person against oxidative damage that is a factor in the development of these diseases.” Note from me: be wise when consuming alcohol, don’t drink and drive and drink with a conscious mind…no getting drunk.

Have you enjoyed learning some fabulous food facts?

Learn more about the food you consume or want to consume and are not sure about at Best Foods Facts, a non-profit organization that just cares for us to get educated providing direct contact with real scientists and researchers to answer all those burning questions we have about food.

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