Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

From The ChocolateDoctor Dark Chocolate Consumption Reduces Stress and Inflammation

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

We have been detailing the benefits of incorporating a limited amount of premium dark chocolate—low in sugar, rich in flavanols and antioxidants—in one’s daily diet. There are over 300 beneficial chemical compounds in chocolate that have a wealth of health benefits according to Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. These new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation and now this research represents the first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions.

Findings from two studies presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.

Dr. Lee S. Berk, associate dean of research affairs, School of Allied Health Professions and a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science from Loma Linda University, served as principal investigator on both studies.

“For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content – the more sugar, the happier we are,” Berk said. “This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time and are encouraged by the findings. These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.”

The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health. The following results were presented during the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting:

  • Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) Effects Human Gene Expression
  • Cacao Regulates Cellular Immune Response, Neural Signaling, and Sensory Perception

This pilot feasibility experimental trial examined the impact of 70 percent cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression, with focus on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Study findings show cacao consumption up-regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception – the latter potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyper-plasticity.

Dark Chocolate (70% Organic Cacao) Increases Acute and Chronic EEG Power Spectral Density (μv2) Response of Gamma Frequency (25-40Hz) for Brain Health: Enhancement of Neuroplasticity, Neural Synchrony, Cognitive Processing, Learning, Memory, Recall, and Mindfulness Meditation.

This study assessed the electroencephalography (EEG) response to consuming 48 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after an acute period of time (30 mins) and after a chronic period of time (120 minutes), on modulating brain frequencies 0-40Hz, specifically beneficial gamma frequency (25-40Hz). Findings show that this superfood of 70 percent cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.

Berk said the studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations. Further research is in progress to elaborate on the mechanisms that may be involved in the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao at this high concentration.

Choclatique Premium Dark Chocolate Highest in Flavanols and Antioxidants

Choclatique Q-91—our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass. It is a unique and complex blend of 23 different premium beans from Central and South America and Asia. When you let Q-91 melt lightly in your mouth to release the essence of ripe cherry and deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes held up by a solid, silky chocolate base you are getting the benefits that only come from chocolate. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish.

Choclatique Q-91 contains alkaloids such as Theobromine and Phenylethylamine, which are now said to have positive physiological effects on the body, including increased serotonin. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation (half to one Choclatique Q-91 bar every day), can lower blood pressure and prevent tooth decay. Dark chocolate has substantial amounts of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals to reduce the effects of aging.

Choclatique Q-91 Features:

  • High in Cacao Mass – 91%
  • Great Tasting
  • Rich in Flavanols and Antioxidants
  • Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free
  • Never Brittle; Never Bitter
  • All Natural. No Preservatives, Artificial Colors or Flavors

One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.

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The ChocolateDoctor “Brain Blitz” Chocolate & Caffeine Can Improve Cognition

Friday, March 2nd, 2018
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

Don’t you wish there was a Red Bull for your brain? Now there is a safer solution—natural cocoa powder and caffeine.

It has been documented that energy drinks have many known and unknown dangers. That’s the reason why energy drinks get lots of bad press. These beverages are easy to get with quick access to minors. While most energy drinks don’t have as much caffeine as a cup of Starbucks’ coffee, many are heavily sweetened and easy to drink, which appeals more to a younger demographic. That’s why we are seeing increased incidents of those 18 and younger experiencing dangerous side effects from consuming too many energy drinks in a short period of time.

A recent government study showed that 18-40-year-olds who drank energy drinks had a significant increase in incidence of heart arrhythmia. Continued usage at high levels could lead to cardiac arrest. Too many energy drinks can lead to severe headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Increases in caffeine can also result in high anxiety, insomnia, type 2 diabetes, drug interaction, addiction, risky behavior, jitters, nervousness, allergic reactions, high blood pressure, niacin overdose (Vitamin B3).

Time a challenging for high school and college students who are bombarded with mid-term and final exams, papers to white, and thesis studies to document. At work, many of us have year-long projects to complete. Success depends on quick thinking. A recent small study sponsored by the Hershey Chocolate Company, suggest that there’s a tasty drink that could help clarify our thinking.

The research was a collaborative effort of Clarkson University, University of Wisconsin, and the Oregon Science University. The study measured the effects of “Brain Blitz” beverages that contained only caffeine, cocoa only and one that combined both cocoa and caffeine. The researchers found that the cocoa-caffeine cocktail significantly boosted cognitive performance and attention to task with less risk. The beverage study contained 70 mg of caffeine and 455 mg of flavanols. Sugar and dairy additives were excluded.

The study results suggest that a chocolate-caffeine beverage consumed 90 minutes before you need to put your brain power to the test increased cognitive performance and alertness.

You can brew your own version of this “Brain Blitz” by mixing about 3 to 4 ounces of “high test” coffee (Starbucks contains the necessary caffeine) with 1 tablespoon of natural, unsweetened cocoa powder (the cocoa will also contribute to the caffeine content.

Here is the “perfect” prescription from the ChocolateDoctor—1 tablespoon of Choclatique Unsweetened Natura Cocoa Powder and 1 cup of hot coffee. Our cocoa powder is the pure thing and has not been alkalized or dutched. This cocoa powder also has the required flavanol content for maximum benefit for this beverage to act on your brain. Simply sift the cocoa powder and gradually add hot coffee to the powder as you mix. Drink the “Brain Blitz” about an hour and a half before your brain calisthenics are due to begin. Refresh your drink and your brain as often as needed.

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Can Chocolate Prevent Diabetes? Cocoa Stimulates the Release of Insulin

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

As co-founders of Choclatique, Joan Vieweger and I are always interested in reading about both the history and latest research relating to chocolate. In studying the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, we find evidence of longevity and amazing energy levels among those who consumed great quantities of cacao-related foods and drinks. For those early people, chocolate wasn’t just a confection or treat, it was probably the earliest known dietary supplement.

Knowing that cacao contains many beneficial compounds, we created Choclatique Q-91 as a functional chocolate, low in sugar and loaded with all the energy releasing compounds that mimic what the pre-Columbians already knew—chocolate was one of the keys to a healthier you.

We’ve known from past research that there are over 300 naturally-occurring chemical compounds in chocolate that have health giving and healing properties. That is why the ancient Mesoamerican people indulged in large quantities of cacao. Now, new research suggests that chocolate, cocoa and cacao-related products might play a role in preventing diabetes:

  • Cocoa stimulates the release of insulin in your body… a compound in cocoa—epicatechin monomers—enhances insulin’s secretion.
  • Epicatechin monomers reduce obesity and help cope with high blood sugar
  • People may require large quantities of epicatechin monomers to see a benefit—that’s more chocolate for you and me
  • Cacao supplements may soon be available to aid in blood sugar management
  • These new supplements might be used to prevent or delay an onset type 2 diabetes

How was the research carried out?

Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) added onto the previous research done at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech scientists fed epicatechin monomers to animals on a high-fat diet. They found the compound reduced obesity and improved the animals’ ability to cope with high blood sugar levels. When the researchers from BYU assessed why this occurred, they discovered that epicatechin monomers enhance beta cells’ ability to secrete insulin. That protects the cells, increasing their ability to deal with oxidative stress levels. The epicatechin monomers are making the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger, which produces more ATP (a cell’s energy source), which then results in more insulin being released.

The study’s author, BYU Professor Jeffery Tessem, said, “You probably have to eat a lot of cocoa, and you probably don’t want it to have a lot of sugar in it. It’s the epicatechin monomer compound in cocoa you’re after.”

That makes Choclatique Q-91 and Choclatique Midnight (100%) Unsweetened Baking Pastilles ideal to test this theory out.

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Myth-Melting Study Finds: Chocolate Burns Belly Fat, Improves Cholesterol

Friday, July 8th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

To our loyal Choclatique blog followers: It isn’t too often that I forward a scientific study to our website. In this case I will make an exception. While I follow most of them, many are very boring, but this one caught my attention.  That said, I must point out that this was a pilot study with a very small sample size (just 15 people) and a very short duration (just 1 week).  The results and conclusions, while instructive, are not projectable to the population at large.

We have known for years that chocolate has over 300 beneficial chemical compounds. Now, a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has shown that chocolate can improve markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

When we originally formulated Choclatique Q-91, our functional chocolate, we knew that it was developed and formulated with many healthful benefits in mind.

  • Choclatique Q-91 is a premium dark chocolate rich in flavanols and antioxidants.
  • Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass.
  • One of the most pleasant effects of eating Choclatique Q-91 is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.
  • Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • Dark chocolate is a known to be a safe stimulant (and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac).
  • Choclatique Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

Now grab a piece of dark chocolate and read on to see what the researchers have to say about the potential benefits of chocolate.

Date: June 27, 2016

Natural Health, Natural Medicine

A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has revealed something quite counterintuitive about chocolate, one of the world’s most prized ‘high-fat’ foods. This strangely medicinal ‘sweat treat,’ which ironically you find in the candy aisle at the pharmacy, improved markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

Researchers from the Department of Neuroscience, Division of Human Nutrition, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, in a paper titled ‘Effects of dark chocolate in a population of Normal Weight Obese women: a pilot study,’ describe the effects of 100 gram of dark chocolate taken for one week (approximately a 3 ounce bar) in so-called ‘normal weight obese (NWO)’ syndrome subjects.

NWO syndrome is defined as ‘an excessive body fat associated with a normal body mass index and characterized by a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,’ and has been found to be associated with a 2.2 fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in women compared with those with low body fat.[1] Generally, those with NWO have 30% or more total body fat mass percentage and significantly higher values of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α.[2] [3] [4]

The study looked at the effects of dark chocolate consumption on the following:

  • Blood lipid profiles
  • Biochemical parameters (e.g. interleukins)
  • Blood pressure
  • Abdominal circumference (i.e. ‘belly fat’)

A modest sample size of 15 women with NWO syndrome, aged 20-40 years, were included in the study. They received 100 grams of dark chocolate (DC) containing 70% cocoa for 7-days. Dual energy-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure body composition. Blood pressure, anthropometric measurements, biochemical parameters and plasma levels of some cytokines were measured before and after DC consumption.

The results were described as follows:

After DC [dark chocolate] consumption, we observed a significant increase in the HDL cholesterol level (Delta% = +10.41±13,53; p ≤ 0.05), a significant decrease of total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta %= -11.45±7.03; p ≤ 0.05), LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta % = -11.70±8.91; p ≤ 0.05), and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) (Delta % = -32.99±3.84; p ≤ 0.05). In addition, a reduction in abdomen circumference was observed. We also found a positive correlation between changes in atherogenic indices, and IL-1Ra, abdomen reduction.

The authors concluded:

Our findings suggest that regular consumption of DC could be useful in maintaining a good atherogenic profile, due to the favorable effects on HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein ratios and inflammation markers.

Discussion

This study should debunk several myths regarding chocolate consumption, such as ‘it makes you fat,’ ‘it clogs your arteries,’ or ‘it is bad for blood sugar.’ While low-cocoa chocolate, which is often high in sugar and may contain cow’s milk products, preservatives and lower quality fats, may not translate into the benefits observed in this study, a high-quality, high-cocoa chocolate may go quite a long way in enhancing general health and well-being. This is especially so if one chooses organically-produced, fair-trade and preferably raw chocolate. The raw part is especially important as the potent antioxidant compounds in cocoa are found at much higher and physiologically relevant concentrations in the non-heated and unprocessed forms. Indeed, according to the authors of this study, “[the] health properties of cocoa consumption were mainly related [in previous research] to the antioxidant properties of polyphenolic compounds, among others monomeric flavanols, epicatechin, catechin and oligomeric, procyanidins.”

The specific sample of dark chocolate used in this study was assayed to contain the following compounds:

It is believed that one of the primary lipid-modulating, and HDL-raising compounds in high-quality chocolate is the saturated stearic acid found in the cocoa butter. This is also a counterintuitive finding since many decades of propaganda has convinced the mainstream that ‘saturated’ fats are bad and ‘unsaturated’ fats are good. As the researchers state:

Because of its high saturated fat content, chocolate is often postulated to have a hypercholesterolemic effect. However, the high content of stearic acid (~30% of fatty acids) is considered to be neutral with respect to total and LDL cholesterol, and positive on serum concentration of HDL.”

It is truly remarkable that the dark chocolate was capable of raising the so-called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol 10% within only 7 days. This is a feat pharmaceutical lipid-modulating drugs can not accomplish, unless we are talking about patented forms of niacin (Niaspan) or fish oil (Lovaza), which really don’t count since they are really just glorified dietary supplements.

Previously, we looked at how chocolate – believe it or not – could replace the need for the $29 billion dollar plus cholesterol-lowering statin drug industry, by addressing and remedying the underlying pathology of the blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction) that leads to atherosclerosis and eventual cardiac morbidity and mortality. We feel the research, if you would like to peruse it, is remarkably compelling: Chocolate Gives Statins A $29 Billion Run For Their Money

When it is all said and done, chocolate should not be viewed simply as a natural “medicine,’ to suppress bodily symptoms or clinical parameters, as anyone who ‘loves’ the way it makes them feel can plainly tell. As my friend Marc David pointed out in his recent article on Vitamin P[leasure], the experience of joy within the enjoyment of chocolate is itself a highly medicinal ‘nutritional fact’ that will never make it onto the label of a product, nor will be easily (if ever) comprehended through clinical trials. Let the research support what most of us already know: food can be medicine, yes, but the point is to use it in moderate, culinary doses so that mega-dose, heroic ‘medicine’ will never become necessary. [this is one of the basic principles of my project with Tania Melkonian called EATomology]

For additional research on the health benefits of chocolate and/or cocoa please visit our research page dedicated to the topic: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/chocolate

________________________________________

[1] ROMERO-CORRAL A, SOMERS VK, SIERRA-JOHNSON J, KORENFELDY, BOARIN S, KORINEK J, JENSEN MD, PARATI G, LOPEZJIMENEZ F. Normal weight obesity: a risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. Eur Heart J 2010; 31: 737-746.

[2] DI RENZO L, GLORIA-BOTTINI F, SACCUCCI P, BIGIONI M, ABENAVOLI L, GASBARRINI G, DE LORENZO A. Role of interleukin-15 receptor alpha polymorphisms in normal weight obese syndrome. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2009; 22: 105-113.

[3] DI RENZO L, GALVANO F, ORLANDI C, BIANCHI A, DI GIACOMO C, LA FAUCI L, ACQUAVIVA R, DE LORENZO A. Oxidative stress in normal-weight obese syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010; 18: 2125-2130.

[4] MEHRINFAR R, FRISHMAN WH. Flavanol-rich cocoa: a cardioprotective nutraceutical. Cardiol Rev 2008; 16: 109-115.

© June 27, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Need Chocolate… NOW!! Those Chocolate Cravings Are Real

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

While there are plenty of t-shirts, key chains, throw pillows and other tshotshkes that offer humorous axioms about our NEED for chocolate, the fact is there are some solid scientific and medical reasons that confirm that our cravings are real.

First, there are over 300 chemical compounds in dark chocolate some of which react within the human brain to affect and alter mood and reduce stress. For example, both sexes benefit when our brains release dopamine in response to the pleasurable experience of eating and enjoying chocolate. Additionally, research has shown that the flavanols in chocolate help us to react more effectively to stressful situations than when those flavanols are not present.

Consumption of cocoa increases nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies. Nitric oxide acts on small receptors in our blood vessels and prompts the vessels to dilate. This process lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with many types of heart disease including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is also associated with cognitive decline, dementia, and stroke.

For females, Nutritionist Lisa Eberly, RD, says there are physiological-based reasons why chocolate cravings may seem more intense during your period. Chocolate contains relatively high levels of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and potassium aids in proper muscle function. Eating chocolate therefore can help relieve muscle cramps, including pelvic that affects so many women during their periods. Magnesium and potassium can aid in relaxing the cramps and the pain associated with them.

Chocolate is also high in iron, and iron levels tend to fall during periods due to blood loss, resulting in fatigue. Chocolate consumption helps to boost iron levels which, in turn, help to improve energy levels. Further, chocolate contains caffeine which can provide an energy boost as well as reduce inflammation associated with pain and headaches.

And if all of the physical explanations are reason enough for you to nibble on a piece of luscious dark chocolate, well then, do it just for the taste! Choclatique’s 64% Private Reserve and our 76% Elephant Chocolate are sure to put a smile on your lips and a spring in your step!

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The ChocolateDoctor Could Chocolate Be Better for Your Teeth Than Fluoride?

Friday, February 13th, 2015
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I know many, if not all, of our US municipal water supplies are treated with fluoride. I remember having fluoride treatments in the dental office growing up—all this to prevent dental cavities. My dentist would put a little fluoride in a shot glass and carefully apply a light coating over each tooth with a Q-tip. Imagine my surprise when I read an article recently informing me that fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is a poison to your system even in small amounts.

One has to start to ask, are there not far better options for decreasing tooth decay than ingesting a harmful industrial pollutant or using a topical poison like fluoride? Chocolate to the rescue—new research suggests a chocolate extract would make a better alternative.

I don’t think moms and dads would have any trouble coaxing their little ones to brush two times a day with a chocolate toothpaste if it works better than fluoride. A recent study presented at the American Dental Association this year compared fluoride toothpaste to a new toothpaste containing the naturally-occurring cacao extract theobromine.

This test determined the theobromine toothpaste repaired and re-mineralized exposed dentin better than the fluoride. Exposed dentin is a leading cause of tooth hypersensitivity. The results showed that patients who brushed their teeth with the cacao-extract toothpaste twice a day for one week had 100 percent dental occlusion with their tooth dentin becoming re-mineralized or repaired.

According to a release: [PRNewswire October 31, 2013] “The comparison to toothpastes containing fluoride—one as much as 5,000 parts per million—validates what our research has shown all along: that Rennou (the cocoa extract)… is more effective and safer than fluoride.”

Past research has also shown that the chocolate ingredient theobromine works better than fluoride when treating lesions in artificial enamel. Remineralization occurred at a greater rate than when they were treated with fluoride. The study found that theobromine made teeth less vulnerable to bacterial acid erosion that could lead to cavities.

With potential alternatives like theobromine, which are not harmful when swallowed, it’s unfortunate that fluoride can still be found in a vast assortment of toothpastes, mouthwashes and professionally applied fluoride treatments.

The ChocolateDoctor suggests that using a tooth paste containing natural ingredients, like theobromine, appears to be more effective and safer than fluoride-containing toothpastes. Above all, don’t forget to practice good oral hygiene—brushing after meals and getting regular dental cleanings and check-ups, too.

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What’s Not To Love About Chocolate?

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In my book, Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, I compared chocolate to the food of the gods. Not only does chocolate make us feel good emotionally, according to a growing community of medical researchers and health professionals it also contributes positively to our physical well being.

As I have written before, eating chocolate improves physical health. A substantial amount of research shows that cocoa flavanols may help control blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health overall. Eating dark chocolate, low in sugar, may also help control blood sugar, and prevents the growth of 1caries which is the bacteria that causes dental cavities. And preliminary research suggests that cocoa flavanols may boost brain health and memory. Scientists aren’t sure how it happens, but surmise that cocoa flavanols may increase blood flow—and therefore oxygen—to the brain. Increasing blood to certain parts of the male anatomy also helps ones’ sex life. Chocolate may very well do for that part of the body what Viagra does, but for far less money.

It turns out that chocolate-lovers may even be more lovable and better lovers! A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that people who love sweets are likely to be more “sweet.” This may be caused by a change in brain chemistry. The consumption of chocolate floods the brain with dopamine which lights up the reward center of the brain and lifts mood. You can actually see it on a MRI.

The five words that we’ve chosen to identify with chocolate at Choclatique are Passion, Joy, Delight, Desire and Seduction. Following on the latter, one of the most seductive qualities of good chocolate is that it melts precisely at human body temperature, which provides a sensual experience unlike any other food.

Yes, chocolate may truly be the food of the gods.

1 Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is an infection, bacterial in origin, that causes demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth—enamel, dentin and cementum. It is a result of the production of acid by bacterial fermentation of food debris accumulated on the tooth surface. If demineralization exceeds saliva and other remineralization factors such as from calcium and fluoridated toothpastes, these once hard tissues progressively break down, producing dental caries or cavities. Today, caries remain one of the most common diseases throughout the world.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Prescription to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally with Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s the end of January—the holidays are behind us, yet the holiday bills lay before you. Vacations are over, the back-to-work grind is wearing on your patience, and two weeks into the New Year you’ve already failed on your resolutions, whatever they might be.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason these are the most depressing days of the year.

Here’s the solution? Eat more chocolate. I’m not kidding. There’s no better food to connect the dots between mind and body than the deliciously emotional, palpably physical response we all have to eating pure chocolate,” writes Will Cower, PhD, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist in his new book, Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. As gimmicky as it might sound, eating chocolate might be the best natural remedy for anxiety you’re not using and science has shown that it goes beyond the mere mood –elevating buzz you get from gobbling up a Crunch bar on the way home from work.

Cortisol and Cocoa
You’ve seen those awful weight-loss commercials. The part that is true is that stress prompts your body to produce cortisol. Research has shown that heavier women have higher levels of cortisol than women of normal weight. Cortisol also triggers the accumulation of abdominal, or visceral, fat, which builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke.

In a 2009 study it was reported that people who ate about an ounce of chocolate a day for two weeks saw decreases in cortisol in their systems compared to its levels at the start of the study. Another study a year later showed that, over the course of 30 days, people who ate cocoa daily had 10 percent lower levels of anxiety and considered themselves 10 percent calmer than they had been at the start of the study.

The key to success is prevention, not reaction. Studies finding that chocolate has a positive impact on mood and anxiety all looked at consumption over the course of 30 days, while studies looking at people who consume chocolate in response to stress found those people generally feel as depressed after their chocolate fix as they did before it. They experience a short “mood elevation” that lasts about three minutes, and then disappears. That’s just about long enough to reach for another chocolate bar.

Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight
There are over 300 positive chemical compounds in chocolate. Eating chocolate over time allows one’s body to build up levels of cocoa’s polyphenols, which are responsible for regulating stress hormones. The cocoa polyphenols don’t immediately boost mood, satisfaction, calmness or contentedness. This happens only when chocolate is eaten slowly and steadily over a period of time. In other words, a patient chocolate eater is a happy chocolate eater.

Eat It Right
You won’t reap the mood-boosting benefits of chocolate by reaching for that bag full of fun-size caramels and nougats, or even by eating a chocolate bar a day. If you want chocolate to truly make a difference and leave you happy and less stressed, your approach to eating it needs to be a little more nuanced.

Dark vs. Milk
Dark chocolate is less stressful than milk chocolate, for lots of reasons. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other additives, while also being devoid of most of cocoa’s healthier components. The milk in milk chocolate tends to blocks the body’s absorption of the antidepressant antioxidants. Studies analyzing the healthfulness of chocolate rely on dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cacao or even unsweetened 100-percent cocoa powder. Functional chocolates such as Choclatique Q-91 or Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76%) are perfect for this need.

Eat Small Amounts
Once you find a chocolate you like, take it in small doses. To battle stress and anxiety—take one ounce a day for at least eight weeks. But divide that one ounce into five portions a day. That will be roughly the size of the end joint on your thumb. Stick with an ounce a day. There isn’t any evidence that eating more is a benefit that will make you feel even better.

Eat It Slowly
Don’t chew, or even suck on, your chocolate pieces. Savor the flavor by letting the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt slowly. The added time you spend slowly tasting your chocolate is time you’re not popping more into your mouth. The flavor lingers and your brain thinks you’re eating the entire time so you’re less likely to overindulge.

Choclatique Dark Chocolates are low in sugar and high in cocoa mass. They are slowly-roasted all the way through. There in no “green” left in the bean. This leaves a very pleasant, fruity flavor in your mouth with cherry, berry, and fruit wine notes—it is never bitter or brittle. Even Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cacao), used primary for baking and cooking, has a tolerable flavor. But, if you’re not into dark chocolates, try using cocoa powder like Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. About half cup, or eight tablespoons, of 100 percent unsweetened cocoa powder will give you the same nutrients and mood lift as the one ounce of dark chocolate a day. Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, use a few teaspoons in your favorite vinaigrette, or cook with it. Avoid “Dutch” cocoa, which has been heavily processed which loses many of the benefits you are looking for.

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Chocolate and Your Skin

Friday, January 10th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was getting my haircut at Umberto in Beverly Hills. This is an ultra-chi-chi hair salon that is always in the forefront of “everything beautiful.” (Side note: I’m hardly beautiful and have very little hair left. I just go there because they make what I have look like so much more.) I digress! As I was getting ready to leave, everyone was going over to the make-up area because they had just received a shipment of coconut oil cosmetics. So I figured if you can do something that great for your skin with coconut derivatives, you should be able to do something with cacao, right?

I was particularly interested in cocoa butter as that is the closest to coconut oil. Cocoa butter is not a decadent chocolate spread you slather on a warm croissant, although the young ladies on the beaches in Santa Monica used to liberally apply it as a suntan lotion before we knew about such things as sun block.

Cocoa butter is from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on the cacao tree (pronounced ca-cow). The cocoa pod (pictured here with yours truly) is a large gourd-shaped fruit filled with cocoa beans. The beans are dried, roasted and when pressed, the cocoa butter or fat from the beans is released. Cocoa butter has many possible uses, one of which offers positive benefits to your skin. (Another side note: you do not get pimples from eating or applying chocolate to any part of your body.)

Cocoa butter is packed with antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals. Free radicals cause skin stress which can accelerate signs of skin aging (wrinkling and lines). Cocoa butter is widely known as a stretch mark eraser and is one of those secret mommy tips shared by pregnant woman around the world. Many women claimed that regular use of cocoa butter kept their stretch marks away. Many claim the cocoa butter also helps heal scars. Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply and has reportedly helped skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.

Cocoa butter is easy to find and inexpensive. While not offered on our website you can place a call or send an email and we can provide you with some from our secret stash.

Like chocolate, cocoa butter melts at body temperature (98.6º or so). Its texture is hard at lower temperatures and difficult to work with. When warmed it immediately starts to melt. This is why it is a perfect additive to products like lip balm. It helps keep it thick, but melts and deeply moisturizes upon contact with your lips.

We asked the ladies in the Chocolate Studio to take a shot at making an all-purpose body butter using both cocoa butter and coconut oils. It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Here are their fantastic results.

Ingredients:
1 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil

Wow, this sounds good enough to eat. It is so simple to make.

Directions:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter and oils until fully liquid.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together the melted mixture and set in the freezer to harden for about 20 minutes.
  3. When the mixture is solid again, but not too hard, whip it using an electric mixer or a food processor fitted with a whisk attachment; whisk until you have fluffy white peaks (it should look like whipped cream).
  4. Spoon it into a clean fancy jar. It will keep for months. Now just slather it on! The richness of this mixture makes it a great night-time moisturizer.

ChefSecret: Depending on where you live and what the climate is you may want to experiment with the ratio of cocoa butter and coconut oil to suit your texture preference.

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Stressed

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s nearly the end of the year… just a few short weeks from Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. You just got a cancellation notice on your health insurance and your expected year-end commission has been cut in half. Are you feeling stressed?

Stress is a normal part of life, but we also need to find ways to relieve it. Two squares of dark chocolate—Choclatique Elephant or Q-91 Chocolate—could be just the prescription the doctor ordered to change your attitude by lowering your stress hormone levels.

Why do I we get so wound up when feeling stressed? Going back to our caveman instincts, stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones in our brains that prepare us for action to either fight or flee. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stress is very damaging to our bodies and minds.

As recently reported in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a group of Swiss researchers tracked volunteers that were highly stressed. In this study, strong evidence indicated that daily consumption of only 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate—low in sugar—during a period of two weeks was sufficient to modify the metabolism of the healthy human volunteers. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

Now you may ask, won’t chocolate make people fat? That’s certainly possible, but scientists at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, point out other positive benefits… dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health overall and other substances in chocolate appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol along with other medical conditions.

So take this as free advice from the doctor—The ChocolateDoctor… take two chocolate squares and call me in the morning. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and stress-free chocolate wishes for the holidays!

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