Greetings fellow chocoholics. Are you still enjoying success after enjoying an Easter egg on the weekend? Please join me to see the health benefits of chocolate.
Chocolate contains flavonoids, substances known to have anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties that help eliminate disease-causing agents in the body. It is also full of the amino acid tryptophan, which is an essential ingredient in the neurotransmitter to feel good, serotonin. In addition to tryptophan, chocolate contains phenylethylamine. The body converts it into a neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps us experience pleasure.
The Maya regarded chocolate as sacred and credited dark things with medicinal qualities. The chocolate comes from the Theobroma Cacao tree. Theo means God in Greek and joke means food, so it is sometimes known as the “food of the gods”. From a health standpoint, cocoa is a key ingredient in chocolate. And flavonoids are found in the cocoa tree. As potent antioxidants, they protect cells and tissues from damage induced by “free radicals,” which have been implicated in the development of coronary heart disease and cancer.
A 1997 study by Harvard University researchers on the Kuna people was a key moment in accrediting cocoa with substantial health benefits. The Kuna, who live on the islands off the coast of Panama, have very low blood pressure, live longer, and have lower rates of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer than their counterparts in mainland Panama.
The researchers identified a significant difference between the inhabitants of Kuna Island and those living on the mainland: Kuna have a high consumption of cocoa and drink, on average, more than five cups of the material a day.
In addition to its cardiovascular benefits, cocoa flavonoids
it can also help improve muscle recovery afterwards
According to Liam Corr, a researcher in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, while cocoa beans in their natural form contain a large amount of antioxidant compounds, the processes involved in turning beans into a bar reduce the cocoa flavanoid content, the antioxidant properties of cocoa. Research shows that natural cocoa powder contains almost ten times more flavonoids than the cocoa that has gone through this process.
When it comes to Easter eggs, dark chocolate almost always contains a higher concentration of flavonoids than milk chocolate. For example, a 25 g high-percentage (more than 75%) serving of dark chocolate may contain more than 80 mg of cocoa flavonoids compared to about 10 mg or less per 25 g for a milk chocolate egg. So where does this leave us in terms of health benefits?
Research has found that chocolate and dark cocoa products that contain at least 200 mg of cocoa flavonoids can improve the ability of blood vessels to dilate or expand, which helps the body regulate blood pressure and blood flow to organs.
In addition to their cardiovascular benefits, cocoa flavonoids can also help improve muscle recovery after intense exercise, thanks to their potent anti-inflammatory benefits. A recent study found that a single high dose of 1,245 mg of cocoa flavonoids slightly improved muscle recovery.
A key challenge in making chocolate a healthy food is its energy, fat and sugar content that does not conform to the government’s dietary recommendations. And much of the research on the health benefits of chocolate and cocoa has been of poor quality, or potentially tainted by funding from the confectionery industry.
To counter this, a team of Australian researchers decided to examine the cost-effectiveness of eating dark chocolate as a way to prevent heart disease. At best, they estimated that 10,000 people should eat 100 g of dark chocolate a day for more than 10 years to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol enough to prevent 85 heart attacks and strokes.
I will let more numbered readers than I know how many Easter eggs are equivalent. In the meantime, don’t let this explosion of science let you enjoy the rest of your Easter egg reserve.
muirishouston.com, [email protected]