Posts Tagged ‘flavanols’

Health Benefit Detected In White Chocolate

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

White Chocolate BlockI am always surprised at how many five and ten pound blocks of white chocolate we sell at Choclatique. Of course, I think our Snowy White Chocolate is the best white chocolate in the marketplace and I have to suppose that many of our customers feel that way too based upon our sales history.

Cardiovascular HealthOver the last several years independent studies have proven dark chocolate has heart, skin and even brain health benefits which are linked to the flavanol content. Dark chocolate can even reduce the growth of caries which cause tooth decay. White chocolate, which does not contain the beneficial flavanols found in dark chocolate still provides cardiovascular benefits, which researchers at Molecular Nutrition & Food Research have reported. The study found benefits in dark, milk and white chocolate, and found improved platelet function among men who consumed both the white and the dark chocolate. However, women seem to have better results with dark chocolate only.

For the last several years the research on the benefits relating to chocolate has grown. Montezuma must have known that not only was chocolate a great aphrodisiac, but the Holy Grail when it comes to health. Always do as the ChocolateDoctor recommends: Take two truffles and call me in the morning.

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Great News for Chocoholics!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

How Eating Chocolate Can ‘Slow Down the Aging Process’

The Picture of Dorian GrayLet’s just say I am closer to 60 than I am to 50. I still don’t have any gray hair and I’m pretty free of wrinkles. I move a lot faster than most of the people around me half my age. I exercise at least 5 days a week and I don’t smoke, I don’t drink much and I have never done drugs. My partner Joan swears I’ve made a pact with the devil to stay looking so young.

We had a conversation this week where Joan was teasing me about promising my soul to the devil in order to live a life of perpetual youth and not have to worry about bodily decay and dissipation as in the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Now I can’t categorically prove that I don’t have a contract with Lucifer, but I can tell you that I do have access to lots of really great dark chocolate and the latest research claims that the absorption of cocoa flavanols—molecules contained in chocolate—improve skin oxygenation reducing the affects of external aging.

FlavanolsNow this is the great news older chocolate lovers the world over have been waiting to hear. Chocolate really is the latest super-food that scientists claim can slow down the aging process. Researchers based in Cambridge have made a scientific research breakthrough where they claim an ingredient transforms chocolate into an anti-aging wonder drug. Scientists at biotechnology specialist Lycotec have modified chocolate with an ingredient they have developed called Coco-Lycosome. This boosts the power of cocoa flavanols by up to 20 times compared to unmodified chocolate. A small chunk of modified chocolate has the same anti-aging benefits as two bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk, according to the researchers.

Lycotec founder Dr. Ivan Petyaev told The Grocer magazine: ‘Two bars a day may be good news for chocoholics but not everyone loves chocolate that much. But now, everyone can benefit from the intrinsic values of cocoa flavanols without compromising their health and habits.’ Dr. Petyaev added that the technology had no impact on the taste or texture of chocolate and that the ingredient was safe and accepted by the food industry.

Elephant ChocolateAt Choclatique we’re definitely on the right track with our Private Reserve (64%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) dark chocolates. Even if flavanols are clunky molecules and have some problems with absorption, eating 100g bar a day of our chocolate should keep you looking young and beautiful—just like me.

But before you get too excited, remember to always balance the benefits with any possible detrimental effects. If you are looking at increased consumption of chocolate, you will see an increase in calories and fat as well.

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Cocoa Flavanol Bring Even More Cardiovascular Benefits

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

There is so much more to learn about the food of the gods—CHOCOLATE. Some of the largest chocolate companies (Mars, Hershey, Nestle, Kraft) are working with independent researchers, private laboratories, universities and the USDA to unlock even more of the secrets of cacao.

According to Mars, Inc.’s recent study of the health benefits of cocoa, we have now learned that cocoa flavanols’ cardiovascular benefits might be independent of any antioxidant properties. Absorption and metabolism play a significant role in how flavanols provide circulatory and cardiovascular benefits, while earlier research suggested flavanols exerted their benefits through an antioxidant mechanism.

1This chocolate supplier’s study shows the extensive metabolism of epicatechin following consumption of a flavanol-containing cocoa drink. The company says that because in vitro studies using un-metabolized cocoa flavanols do not consider metabolism, they are not able to accurately reflect what is happening in the body.

Dr. Hagen Schroeter (University of California at Davis), the study’s author and director of fundamental health and nutrition research for Mars, explains: “The study provides a critical step towards a more complete understanding of flavanols and their benefits and, ultimately, towards the translation of this knowledge into innovative flavanol-rich food products and concrete health recommendations.”

Choclatique Drinking ChocolateMuch of these benefits can be derived from a cup of Choclatique chocolate a day. Choclatique makes 3 award-winning Chocolate Drinking MixesDark Chocolate, Cinnamon Chocolate and Peanut Butter Swirl. Each are blends of our select crushed dark chocolate and select cocoa powders for preparing rich, hot (and cold) chocolate beverages. Simply add your favorite Chocolate Drinking Mix to cold milk, whisk and heat for a steamy, cold-weather chocolate treat for a totally sinful chocolaty indulgence.

1The research has been published in the international journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine and at http://www.sciencedirect.com.

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Just a Spoonful of Medicine or a Chunk of Chocolate

Friday, July 9th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This is just the news I have been waiting for. According to Dr. Karin Ried, a researcher at Adelaide University, “Just a chunk of chocolate a day could have the same effect on high blood pressure as half an hour of exercise.”

As it turns out, while people have been looking for the fountain of youth, the silver bullet or Holy Grail has been right there on the shelf in the candy aisle of your favorite supermarket or confection store all along.

We now know for certain that chocolate—and especially dark chocolate—contains chemicals known as flavanols which naturally open up blood vessels in the body. That means blood flows more easily and blood pressure drops.

The study showed that for those suffering from high blood pressure the effect of chocolate was so dramatic it could reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke by 20% over five years. Hey, I’ve been eating chocolate for over 50 years. I’m going to live forever!

“You don’t always need medication to reduce blood pressure,” said Dr. Ried who carried out the research. “This [study] shows that there are some [functional] foods that can help.”

Millions of people around the world suffer from high blood pressure–also known as hypertension; around half of them undiagnosed. About one in 10 patients cannot control the condition with medication or cannot tolerate the drugs, leaving them at greater risk. Hundreds of millions face a lifetime on medication to reduce the risk of suffering heart disease, strokes or even kidney failure.

For the latest research, Dr. Ried and her team of doctors and medical researchers combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people. They found that for people with hypertension, eating chocolate could reduce the blood pressure by up to five per cent. For those with normal pressure it had no effect. “This is a significant finding,” said Dr Ried.

“We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure, but not for people with normal blood pressure.”

She said it will take more research to determine the optimal amount of chocolate that was needed to make the most difference. Any volunteers who want to eat massive amounts of chocolate are welcome to sign up here.

She said the studies varied from just one chunk (6g) to a whole bar (100g) a day. People with high blood pressure are seen to have it consistently higher than 140mm Hg systolic or 90mm Hg diastolic. Normal is 90/60. The results showed that chocolate would make it drop 5mm in systolic pressure which is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking or swimming.

Chocolate has been found to have health giving benefits in the past. Research published earlier this year showed that people who eat just one bar a week are 22% less likely to suffer a stroke. Choclatique’s Q-91 may be just the answer to your functional chocolate needs. Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet premium chocolate high in cacao mass. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds including alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the body, and have been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain.

Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can not only lower blood pressure, but prevent tooth decay as well. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its additional health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and reduce the effects of aging. However, the health giving benefits have to be weighed against their contribution to weight gain.

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Can Choclatique’s Q-91 be a Cure for What Ails You?

Monday, April 19th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This week, Spanish medical researchers reported that chocolate may be good medicine for patients with severe liver disease. Those Spaniards must have known something very early on know since they’re the ones who first brought chocolate to Europe from the New World in the Americas.

Dr. Mark ThurszReuters of London was all abuzz about comments made by Dr. Mark Thursz, a professor of hepatology at London’s Imperial College, when he said, “This new study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and (lower) portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients with chocolate.” Cocoa, rich in dark chocolate and low in sugar, could be prescribed for people with liver cirrhosis in the future. This is yet another new study among a body of research to demonstrate the amazing potential health benefits of chocolate.

The Spanish researchers said that eating dark chocolate capped the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term damage. It is caused by various factors, including hepatitis infection and alcohol abuse.

Found in cocoa, antioxidants called flavanols are believed to be the reason why chocolate is so good for the control of blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen.

A study of 21 patients with end-stage liver disease found that those given a meal containing 85% cacao dark chocolate had a markedly smaller rise in blood pressure in the liver—or portal hypertension—than those given white chocolate.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna and follow a number of earlier scientific studies suggesting that dark chocolate also promotes heart health.

Q-91At Choclatique, we have developed a great-tasting chocolate low in sugar and high in antioxidants, called Q-91. Choclatique’s Q-91 is a uniquely complex blend of several different cacao beans from each of the major cacao growing regions around the world. With the first taste, you will discover that the rich, natural flavors of ripe cherry and deep chocolate foreshadow complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and nutty notes held up by a solid chocolate base.

Even though Choclatique’s Q-91 tastes great, it still contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the mind and health benefits for the body. Dark chocolate like Q-91 has been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain because it includes a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and lessen the effects of many diseases and aging.

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Make the Chubbies Go Away

Thursday, February 18th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I have always been a little on the chubby side and in order to keep my weight in check I try to eat well and exercise every day. Joan and I drive by the doughnut store every morning on the way to the Chocolate Studios and I will frequently call her on her cell phone asking her if it’s a “doughnut day.” The usual answer from her is a ‘NO!” Well, that’s the way it comes across, but what she politely says is, “if you really need a doughnut this morning and want to go off you diet then go ahead.” It comes across as a resounding “No, you fat guy, you don’t need another doughnut you’re going to be tasting chocolate all day.”

So this morning I tried a different approach and asked Joan, “Wouldn’t be great if broccoli was bad for you and doughnuts made you thinner and you never had to diet or exercise? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all indulgent foods were really a cure-all?

Dr. LiWell, in recently completed research chocolate may may have been found to be that ambrosia of the gods and companion to wine. The research presented chocolate and red wine are thought to be potent medicines for killing cancer. Red grapes and dark chocolate join blueberries, garlic, soy, and teas as ingredients that starve cancer while feeding bodies according to the Angiogenesis Foundation headed William Li (presented at the prestigious TED Conference). The Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing chemicals that evidently choke-off blood supplies to tumors, starving them to death. “We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities,” Li said. “What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day.” “There is a medical revolution happening all around us,” Li said. “If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies.”

About a dozen drugs are already in use to deprive tumors of blood supplies in a treatment tactic called “anti-angiogenesis.” The foundation pitted some foods against approved drugs and found that soy, parsley, red grapes, berries and other comestibles were either as effective or more potent in battling cancer cells. Eaten together, the foods were even more effective in fighting cancer.

Dr. Li explained that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features. For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatments may be the only solution because not everyone can afford expensive cancer drugs. And why shouldn’t they be for everyone if great tasting foods can get the job done better?

The foundation also discovered that the anti-angiogenesis properties of foods melt away fat, which relies heavily on blood flow to sustain itself. Tests showed that mice genetically prone to be chubby could be trimmed to average mouse size using this approach.

Q-91At Choclatique we make a variety of these high anti-oxidant chocolate offerings from which to choose starting with our Private Reserve Dark (64%), Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%) and Q-91 (91%). All of these dark chocolates provide a “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds that 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.

Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Our dark chocolates are low in sugar and rich in flavanols which now even more physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily dark chocolate habit.

So the next time you feel the need for a doughnut, chocolate chip cookie, or hot fudge nut trifle, don’t feel deprived, satiate your cravings with a piece of a great tasting dark Choclatique chocolate bar.

Update: For additional information check out: http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/index.cfm/do/monsanto.article/articleId/392.cfm

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Great News from the Island of Kuna

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

PMCAMost of the trade shows that Joan and I attend are where we are in our own booth serving samples so that people can have an opportunity to try our great, artisan chocolate. This week I am attending the PMCA’s (Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners’ Association) 63rd Annual Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The conference is being held at the Hershey Lodge—just across the street from the factory famed as the home of American chocolate. Yes, this is the place that Milton Hershey planned, financed and built, so it is definitely a place befitting of hosting a conference on, what else, CHOCOLATE.

There is a great roster of speakers covering everything from the health benefits of cocoa to the basic, as well as break-through, chemistry in making chocolate. I tasted cocoa and chocolate in all the basic forms. I sampled raw cacao beans right out of the pod. I had bites of chocolate that included raw, under-fermented, over-fermented, heavy roast, light roast, and even chocolate where the beans had gotten moldy. Yuck! So much for my usual comment that chocolate is like sex… never bad, just some of it IS better than others.

 

I also tasted some really great chocolate. These perfect specimens were made from Criollo, Forastero, Trinitario and, my favorite, the raw, but delicious Porcelana. I’ve known for a long time what I like, but it was a great validation of the efforts of all the people who work for Choclatique that we have gotten it right with the species and treatment of the beans that we buy.

Some of the best news of the conference however, was delivered by several rather savvy doctors, including Dr. Amy Griel, Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe and Dr. Thomas Parady, who spoke on the health aspects of cocoa butter and fats, flavanols and cardiovascular health, and soluble fibers, respectively. So here are some of the “tasty” highlights of what I heard:

  • There are alkaloids in chocolate, so you can replace your morning cup of coffee with a hot steaming cup of chocolate… Choclatique Drinking Chocolate, I hope.
  • The Flavonoids (or Procyonis) found in chocolate are similar to what you find in healthful portions of wine, grapes, green tea and apples.  I guess that means that a piece of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away!

The new studies (of 34,000 participants) proved that chocolate has the ability to solve or ease numerous heath issues:

  • Stomach irritation
  • Angina
  • Fatigue
  • Energy (lack of)
  • Inflammation
  • Longevity
  • Blood pressure related problem

In short, chocolate has more health benefits that even a glass of red wine.

Another study was done on the island of Kuna (off the coast of Panama) where the islanders do not suffer from any aging diseases—hyper-tension, high cholesterol, even baldness. These native Kunaians have a diet very rich in cocoa.  Their culture teaches all to, “Use cocoa every day—from before you were born (pre-natal I suppose) until the day you die and you shall live a long and healthful life.” They eat about 900mg of cocoa a day, but the studies show that just a simple inclusion of 6.4g of good, low sugar-content chocolate per day will do the same job. That’s just two Q-91 wafers per day! I know that’s a shameless plug for our 91% high in cacao mass chocolate, but something has to pay the bills.

Actually, a diet rich in chocolate and nuts (almonds, walnuts and peanuts) is a positive addition to your diet. So remember what mom always used to say, “Everything in moderation.” These studies are evidence that a diet with a moderate amount of chocolate, nuts, fresh fruits and red wine, that is low in trans-fats and saturated-fats and a moderate exercise can reverse the negative effects of aging. Hey, don’t tell anyone, but you just discovered the chocolate fountain of youth.

Special note: Much of the chocolate research to date has been funded by chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars.  These triple-blind studies are always supervised by major universities whose results are independently published.

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