29 Aug Why Real Chocolate is a Health Food
Chocaholics around the world can take heart from new research which shows that the health benefits of epicatechin, a compound found in cocoa, are so striking that it may rival penicillin in importance to public health.
In fact, researchers from Harvard Medical School say that epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin. Professor Norman Hollenberg has spent years studying the benefits of cocoa drinking on the Kuna people in Panama. He found that the risk of 4 of the 5 most common killer diseases: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, is reduced to less than 10% in the Kuna, who drink up to 40 cups of cocoa a week. Natural cocoa has high levels of epicatechin.
“If these observations predict the future, then we can say without blushing that they are among the most important observations in the history of medicine,” said Hollenberg. “We all agree that penicillin and anaesthesia are enormously important. But epicatechin could potentially get rid of 4 of the 5 most common diseases in the western world.”
The researchers also think the cacao plant, from which chocolate and cocoa is derived, may restrict the formation of the type of cholesterol which damages the heart as well as boosting the immune system.
Quite amazing don’t you think? But reasons to choose the tasty, dark stuff don’t end here.
Unlike money, chocolate really does grow on trees. Raw cocoa powder produced directly from the fruit of the cacao tree is a pure substance. It contains no additives and is high in antioxidants. A Cornell University study cites findings that it has two times the antioxidants of red wine. Raw chocolate is high in tryptophan. The human body uses tryptophan to help manufacture serotonin, a biogenic amine or neurotransmitter that prevents depression, so if you`ve heard that chocolate is an anti-depressant, there is indeed truth to that.
There seems to be a positive link between raw chocolate and cardiovascular health. Early findings demonstrate that risk of blood clots, strokes and heart attacks is lessened in those people who regularly eat raw chocolate. One of the minerals needed for good heart function is magnesium (Mg). It is needed only in trace amounts, but in the majority of heart attack sufferers, the body`s Mg content is subnormal. Raw chocolate is an excellent source of Mg.
Raw chocolate contains oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fat that early research findings show helps raise the good cholesterol or HDL.
According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. And as you must know by now, anti-oxidants are the best weapon against aging and disease causing free radicals!
But please note – chocolate in assorted candies or bars has been processed. It has been fermented and sweetened with unhealthy sugars. It has preservatives and other added chemicals. It isn`t good for you at all, unlike raw, dark, healthy chocolate, so if you are going to jump on the latest health band wagon, do make sure you have picked the right cart.
We’ve selected some of our favourite ways of increasing your intake of this superfood – fun hey!
- O’Natural Raw Chocolate Bar – Mint
- Monate Chocolate 78% Raw Cacao Bar
- Superfoods Raw Organic Cacao Powder
- Taka Golden Cacao Hot Chocolate
- Trace the Taste – Organic Raw Cacao Nibs
- Health Connection Organic Cacao Butter
But please do check out our full selection of chocolate here. From hot drinks; to eating chocolates by the slab or by adding cacao to smoothies and cereals, the ways to boost your health with cacao are thankfully endless.