Posts Tagged ‘flavonoids’

Dark Chocolate Lowers Risks of Heart Attack, Stroke

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

AustraliaThe research keeps coming in and getting better on the health benefits of dark chocolate. Researchers in Australia collected data over 2,000 people who had metabolic syndrome—which is a cluster of medical issues that includes high blood pressure, a large waist and low levels of “good” cholesterol—and used mathematical equations to predict how eating a dose of dark chocolate daily could affect the number of strokes and heart attacks the group would be expected to have. And they found that eating dark chocolate every day may lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for people at higher risk of these conditions.

Based on their results, the researchers calculated that for every 10,000 people with metabolic syndrome who ate 3.5 ounces (100g) of dark chocolate every day for 10 years, 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes, could be prevented.

In the past studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered over the short-term by eating compounds called flavonoids, which are abundant in dark chocolate. Flavonoids are known to have antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory effects, which relieve pressures on the heart.

The new study suggests that eating dark chocolate is a cost-efficient way to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes. The researchers noted that the study only looked at strokes and heart attacks, so how dark chocolate might affect the risks of other cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, must still be assessed.

Sanofi AventisThe study was published on May 31st 2001 in the British Medical Journal, and was funded by the Australian Research Council and the drug company Sanofi-Aventis Australia.

Q-91ChefSecret: Let people with higher risk of heart attack or stroke know that adding dark chocolate, like Choclatique Q-91, to their daily diet may reduce health-related risks.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

If you’re like most women, you’re totally smitten with chocolate. People have been obsessing over this comfort food for thousands of years (the Mayans considered cacao a cure-all and the Aztecs used it as money). And all that obsessing has yielded some pretty surprising studies–and findings. Here are five things you need to know about your favorite indulgence.

1. It Can Boost Your Workout
Skip the expensive sports drinks and protein shakes. Research shows chocolate milk is just as effective a recovery aid.

A study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism compared the effects of a recovery drink and chocolate milk on endurance athletes’ ability to recover after a series of bike sprints followed by an endurance ride the next day. They found that chocolate milk was just as effective at relieving muscle soreness after the sprints, and preparing the athletes to perform in the endurance test the next day. Better yet, everyone preferred the taste of chocolate milk.

2. Your Period Doesn’t Make You Crave It
Half of American women experience chocolate cravings. Of those who do, about half crave it right around “that” time of the month.

And while it’s nice to have your menstrual cycle to blame when you find yourself noshing on half a package of chocolate chip cookies, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that menstrual hormones aren’t the culprit. They compared the cravings of pre- and post-menopausal women and didn’t find any change. They did, however, find a higher prevalence of cravings among women who suffer from PMS.

Why? Annmarie Kostyk, a chocolate expert who studied at the Professional School of Chocolate Arts, Ecole Chocolat, in Canada, says this has a lot to do with the psychology behind comfort foods. “Chocolate is sociologically considered a comfort food, and people crave comfort foods when they feel terrible,” she says.

3. It Won’t Wake You Up
It’s a common misconception that chocolate is packed with caffeine, says Kostyk. In reality, the amount of caffeine in chocolate is miniscule compared to what’s in your other daily pick-me-ups.

An ounce of dark chocolate contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine, while an ounce of milk chocolate contains about 5 milligrams–the same as an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee. In comparison, a cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams and a cup of tea contains about 50 milligrams of caffeine.

4. It Contains Flavonoids
Flavowhats? Flavonoids are a type of phytochemical, or plant chemical, that are found naturally in chocolate. Due to their unique chemical structures, flavonoids can exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cell-protective effects, says Giana Angelo, Ph.D., a research associate who specializes in micronutrient research at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Consuming foods rich in flavonoids has also been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

To reap the benefits, stick to dark chocolate. The average commercial dark chocolate contains about 60 percent cocao and has been found to contain 536 milligrams of flavonoids per 1.4-ounce serving. Research has shown that as few as 80 milligrams of flavonoids a day can lower blood pressure.

5. It’s Not All Bad for Your Teeth
How could a food that’s long been touted as a cavity-causer actually have teeth-protecting properties? It turns out that theobromine, an organic molecule that occurs naturally in cocoa, can help strengthen tooth enamel, according to research from Tulane University.

In fact, it takes 142 times less cocao extract to have about twice the protective benefits of fluoride, according to the American Dental Association. Unfortunately, theobromine isn’t too beneficial in chocolate bars, where the sugar and milk counteract the dental benefits. Enter Theodent, a fluoride-free mint toothpaste that packs a punch of theobromine.

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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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