Archive for the ‘Cocoa’ Category

h1

How Cocoa Protects the Colon Against Cancer

July 17, 2012
Study Shows That Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Protects the Colon

Study Shows That Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Protects the Colon

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths annually, a statistic that remains constant despite increased awareness of the deadly disease. Researchers from the Science and Technology Institute of Food and Nutrition in Spain have published the result of a study in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research detailing the potent anti-carcinogenic effect of the natural chocolate compound, cocoa.

Scientists determined for the first time that regular consumption of cocoa negates the inflammatory effect of digestive oxidative stress that results in intestinal complaints and is a precursor to the genesis of colon cancer. Cocoa is now considered a ‘superfood’ as it has been shown to improve blood lipids and help prevent cardiovascular disease in past research. The result of this current study demonstrates that a daily dose of the compound can help prevent colon cancer progression.

Cocoa Polyphenols from Dark Chocolate Significantly Lower Colon Cancer Risk

Cocoa is a Powerful Antioxidant That Shields the Colon

Cocoa is a Powerful Antioxidant That Shields the Colon

Researchers studied rats that had been fed a cocoa-rich diet consisting of twelve percent cocoa, as compared to a control group that received the same diet with the chocolate compound enrichment. Both groups were exposed to a chemical known to induce colon cancer. Animals such as mice and rats have been used for decades to conduct this type of research because they exhibit a similar line of carcinogenesis that is comparable to humans.

The study leader, Dr. Maria Angeles Martin Arribas notedBeing exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and pro-carcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies… foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease.” After a period of eight weeks, the scientists were able to confirm the protective effect of cocoa polyphenols in protecting against this insidious form of digestive cancer.

Cocoa is a Potent Antioxidant Shown to Neutralize the Effect of Dietary Carcinogens

Dark Chocolate Must Have a 70% or Higher Cocoa Content for Optimal Benefit

Dark Chocolate Must Have a 70% or Higher Cocoa Content for Optimal Benefit

The study results showed a marked decrease in the number of pre-malignant neoplastic crypts in the lining of the colon in the cocoa treated group as compared to the control animals. Further, the researchers found a rise in antioxidant defenses in the supplemented rats and a decrease in oxidative stress biomarkers that are known to be protective against chemical exposure and the prevention of colorectal cancer.

The team concluded that the protective effect of the bioactive compounds in cocoa stopped cell-signaling pathways that typically promote cell proliferation and lead to tumor development. The treated animals also exhibited a much higher degree of apoptosis, or normal programmed cell death of potentially cancerous tissues. It is important to note that milk chocolate is not a good source of cocoa due to its low concentration of the polyphenol and high sugar content, known to promote cancer. Choose a dark chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa content to significantly lower the risk associated with colorectal cancer.

Advertisements
h1

Cacao From Dark Chocolate Lowers Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

February 13, 2012
Dark Chocolate is Shown to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Dark Chocolate is Shown to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Everybody likes chocolate, a fact supported by the annual increase in consumption documented by chocolate manufacturers around the globe. This may be good news for many chocolate consumers, but caution is advised to carefully monitor the quantity consumed and the cocoa content of the product purchased. We now have documented evidence to explain how dark chocolate consumption lowers stroke risk in women and slashes heart disease risk in adults.

Researchers publishing the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found high chocolate consumption correlates with a lower risk of stroke in women. Further proof of vascular benefits is documented in the British Medical Journal as scientists explain that chocolate consumption lowers heart disease risk by more than a third.

High Levels of Chocolate Consumption Dramatically Lower Heart Disease and Stroke Risks

Dark Chocolate has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties to Improve Heart Health

Dark Chocolate has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties to Improve Heart Health

A number of recent studies have shown that eating chocolate has a positive influence on human health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This includes reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity, a primary factor in diabetes development and progression in millions of at-risk children and adults. The World Health Organization predicts that nearly 24 million people will die from heart disease by the year 2030, yet proper diet and lifestyle could significantly lower the mortality rate.

In an effort to confirm past research efforts that suggest a connection between chocolate consumption and lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge in England analyzed the results of seven studies involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. Researchers compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against those with the lowest, taking into account differences in study design and quality of reporting.

Choose Dark Chocolate with a High Cocoa Content for Optimal Protection

Choose Dark Chocolate with a Minimum Cocoa Content of 75%

Choose Dark Chocolate with a Minimum Cocoa Content of 75%

Researchers performing a meta-analysis of all studies examined found a significant correlation between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events. They determined that the “highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels.” Although the final analysis did not distinguish between dark and milk chocolate consumption, nutritional experts recommend choosing dark chocolate with minimal added sugar and at least 75% cocoa content.

There are many documented lifestyle changes that have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of heart disease and stroke including vitamin D optimization, fish oil supplementation and potent antioxidants such as resveratrol. Chocolate eaten in small amounts several times a week can now be added to the list as research confirms the powerful human health benefits of cocoa.

h1

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Lower Risks from Heart Attack and Stroke

November 14, 2011
Cocoa Polyphenols Are a Potent Antioxidant to Help Prevent Vascular Disease

Cocoa Polyphenols Are a Potent Antioxidant to Help Prevent Vascular Disease

Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England have finally published solid evidence to demonstrate the consumption of chocolate is associated with improved heart and vascular health. Writing in the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal), Dr. Oscar Franco and his team determined several factors including diet, exercise, body weight control and lifestyle changes could help reduce the risk of heart disease, a condition expected to claim the lives of nearly 24 million people worldwide by the year 2030.

The study authors found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa from chocolate consumption could reduce heart disease risk by one-third and could also reduce the risk of sudden death from a heart attack and stroke incidence.

Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Improves Cardiac Risk Markers

Dark Chocolate Consumption Can Lower Heart Attack Risk by 37%

Dark Chocolate Consumption Can Lower Heart Attack Risk by 37%

The study included an analysis of seven detailed research bodies that included more than 114,000 participants. All studies independently pointed to the conclusion that different levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardio-metabolic disorders. Researchers found that the flavonoids passed to chocolate from the cocoa bean have a positive impact on health and were found to regulate insulin sensitivity and maintain blood pressure in the normal range.

Researchers ranked chocolate consumption among participants in the seven studies from highest to lowest to determine the effect of the cocoa flavanols on human health risk factors. Five of the seven studies showed that eating the highest amount of chocolate significantly reduced the number of cardiac events. In particular they found those who ate the most chocolate had a 37% lower risk of having a cardiovascular incident compared to those who ate the least.

Chocolate Consumption Lowers Risk of Stroke by Nearly Thirty Percent

Stroke Incidence Reduced by 29% With Chocolate Consumption

Stroke Incidence Reduced by 29% With Chocolate Consumption

When assessing other risk factors, the study authors found that the highest chocolate consumers had a 29% lower incidence of stroke compared to the lowest chocolate eaters. Interestingly the researchers found that high levels of chocolate consumption specifically lowered the risk of a cardiac or stroke event but did not impact heart failure, another very serious form of heart disease and death. The studies examined did not differentiate between milk and dark chocolate, and included chocolate desserts, biscuits, chocolate bars and drinks. Prior research has indicated maximum benefit from eating dark, bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content.

The authors did provide a word of caution regarding excess consumption of chocolate particularly because commercially available chocolate is very caloric and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease. They concluded, “Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardio-metabolic disorders.” Individuals looking to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate may want to use a cacao bean extract supplement (25 to 50 mg per day) to reap the cardiovascular and stroke risk reduction benefits.

h1

Green Tea and Cocoa Supplements Lower Diabetes Risk

August 29, 2011
Natural Flavonoids Lower Risk of Developing Diabetes

Natural Flavonoids Lower Risk of Developing Diabetes

New research published in the Journal of Nutrition provides evidence that potent epicatechin flavonoids from extracts of green tea and cocoa lower the destructive effects of high blood sugar. This can effectively prevent damage that ravages the major organs and especially the coronary arteries lining the heart muscle. Diabetes is a disease that is growing at an epidemic rate and decreases life expectancy by as much as eight years.

Death occurs as a result of complications from multiple chronic conditions. Scientists found that epicatechin flavonoids inhibit the cellular damage caused by rising blood sugar levels and can prevent damage to the heart and liver. Regular supplementation can improve life expectancy by halting organ damage leading to chronic illness.

Green Tea Extracts Shown to Lower Diabetes Risk in Later Life

Green Tea Consumption Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Green Tea Consumption Improves Insulin Sensitivity

This body of research was conducted using five-week old diabetic mice known to present similar metabolic characteristics to humans. Mice were provided drinking water containing .25% epicatechin flavonoids for a period of 15 weeks. This group was compared with lean mice acting as a control. At the end of the study, half of the non-diabetic control mice had died compared with only 8.4% of the diabetic mice provided the epicatechin-supplemented drink. Both groups received the same diet and there was no difference in body weight as the study concluded.

Treatment with the epicatechin-infused water resulted in a significant reduction in deterioration of the aortic vessel of the heart and the liver. Additionally less fat was found to accumulate in the liver of the treated mice, an important factor known to cause progression of metabolic diseases including diabetes and lipid abnormalities. One of the most striking findings in the supplemented animals was a reduced level of systemic inflammation caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).

Cocoa and Green Tea Flavonoids Demonstrate Anti-Aging Properties

Cocoa is a Potent Antioxidant that Lowers Diabetes Risk

Cocoa is a Potent Antioxidant that Lowers Diabetes Risk

Many prior studies have demonstrated that sustained high levels of IGF-1 in the circulating blood are consistent with chronic disease and shortened life span. Because of the effect exerted by epicatechin compounds extracted from green tea and cocoa products, the study authors determined that the data derived “further suggests that epicatechin may be a food-derived, anti-aging compound given the important role of IGF-1 in regulating the life span of organisms.”

The potent health-inducing nature of green tea has been in evidence for more than 5,000 years as countless Asian generations have cultivated the plant for medicinal purposes. Nutrition advisors recommend taking 2 to 4 cups of fresh brewed green tea each day or supplementing with 250 to 500 mg of the EGCG active compound found in green tea to lower disease risk and increase healthy lifespan.

h1

Blueberries, Cocoa and Resveratrol Help Weight Loss

August 22, 2011
Natural Compounds From Fruits and Chocolate Assist Weight Loss Efforts

Natural Compounds From Fruits and Chocolate Assist Weight Loss Efforts

A wealth of new scientific evidence shines a critical light on the importance of natural foods and nutritional compounds in the fight against overweight, obesity and weight maintenance. Virtually all alternative health experts agree the current epidemic of weight control issues plaguing western society are the result of excess consumption of highly processed convenience foods that have replaced vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in the diet.

Three independent studies conclude that blueberries, resveratrol from red grapes and cocoa flavanols exert a potent effect on fat cell formation that can aid in weight loss and management goals when included as part of your daily diet.

Blueberries Inhibit the Formation of New Baby Fat Cells

Blueberries Inhibit Formation of New Fat Cells for Storage

Blueberries Inhibit Formation of New Fat Cells for Storage

Blueberries have been well documented for their cognitive and cardio-protective benefits, due in large part to the potent complex of anthocyanins that give the berry its deep blue color. Researchers reporting the results of a study to the Experimental Biology 2011 conference have found that blueberries may hold the key to resolving one of the largest threats to human health this century: overweight and obesity.

Scientists determined that extracts of the berry compound inhibited the formation of new baby fat cells (adipocytes) in a dose-dependent manner. Less adipocytes means there are fewer `containers` to store triglycerides from the blood, and ultimately a powerful mechanism to lower or help maintain body weight. Not only did blueberry extract supplementation reduce the number of adipocytes up to 73 percent, but the compound was also found to assist in the breakdown of lipids and fats for removal from the body.

Cocoa Polyphenols Slow the Breakdown of Carbohydrates to Fuel Weight Loss

Cocoa From Dark Chocolate Cuts Carbohydrate Brreakdown to Help Weight Maintenance

Cocoa From Dark Chocolate Cuts Carbohydrate Brreakdown to Help Weight Maintenance

Polyphenols from the cocoa plant have been shown to promote cardiovascular, skin and brain health in recent studies. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry provide evidence that extracts of the cacao bean, particularly the flavanol epicatechin is a potent inhibitor of enzymes that break down carbohydrates during digestion.

Study authors determined the compound exerted an effect in a dose-dependent fashion, noting “the more consumed, the greater the effect.” They were also careful to conclude that chocolate and cocoa are two very different terms with the distinction that cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor, and the carbohydrate-inhibiting effect is not seen when sugar-infused milk chocolate sources are used. A minimum cocoa content of 55% is necessary for health and weight management concerns.

Resveratrol, the bioactive compound found most commonly in the skins of red grapes is shown to reduce body fat formation by preventing the formation of fat tissue in a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. The compound is known to positively affect cognitive functions and extend natural lifespan by regulating the longevity gene SIRT1. Researchers explain that ingesting resveratrol at supplemental doses (50 mg per day) for a period of six weeks caused a significant reduction in the activity of enzymes linked to fat production in the body.

Effective weight loss and management requires a combination of lifestyle and dietary modifications. Natural foods and dietary nutrients such as blueberries, resveratrol and cocoa compounds provide a safe and powerful mechanism to achieve long-term weight reduction goals.

h1

Dark Chocolate from Cocoa Improves Vision and Cognition

August 20, 2011
Cocoa Polyphenols Improve Vision and Mental Fatigue

Cocoa Polyphenols Improve Vision and Mental Fatigue

Potent cacao flavanols from dark chocolate have proven effective in lowering the risk from heart disease and sudden heart attack in recent studies. Writing in the journal Physiology and Behavior, researchers demonstrate that antioxidants released by consumption of cocoa products can improve multiple aspects of eyesight and cognitive performance.

Scientists from the University of Reading found that improvements in visual function were evident for two and a half hours after ingesting foods high in cocoa flavanols (CF) and certain cognitive brain functions were enhanced. Small amounts of unsweetened dark chocolate can aid visual acuity and boost memory performance.

Cacao Consumption from Dark Chocolate Improves Visual Acuity

Cocoa Shown to Improve Visual Acuity

Cocoa Shown to Improve Visual Acuity

Prior research studies have shown that the consumption of CF have improved markers of blood hemodynamics, increasing both central and peripheral blood flow. Increased blood flow is an important factor in cerebral health and function and is also essential to the heart and enhanced eyesight.

The study involved 30 healthy adults aged 18 to 25 that were fed either 35 grams of dark chocolate or an equal amount of white chocolate at one week intervals. Visual acuity of the subjects was tested two hours after ingesting each form of the chocolate and set to determine the effect eating a high cocoa flavanol load (dark chocolate) compared with the low CF condition (white chocolate).

Visual sensitivity was tested by reading numbers that became progressively more similar to the background. Motion sensitivity was determined by detecting moving signal dots against a random motion background. Additionally, cognitive function was assessed by determining the reaction time required to engage processes of attention and inhibition.

The researchers found that participants ingesting the highest amount of cocoa flavanols improved visual contrast sensitivity, and reduced the amount of time needed to detect random motion. The study authors noted of their findings “A reduction in the time required to integrate visual motion could be beneficial in time critical everyday tasks, such as driving. The effect on the simpler early phase of the choice reaction time task suggests that CF can increase response speed in simple tasks.”

Cocoa Flavanols Improve Cognitive Function and Mental Fatigue

Dark Chocolate Can Improve Stress-Related Mental Fatigue

Dark Chocolate Can Improve Stress-Related Mental Fatigue

An independent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology examined the effect of cocoa flavanols on sustained levels of cognitive function and mental fatigue. 30 healthy adults consumed drinks containing 520 mg, 994 mg or a control placebo and were tested with a Cognitive Demand Battery to determine memory and ability to accomplish new tasks. Participants were also asked to self-rate themselves on a standard `mental fatigue` scale.

Scientists found that those subjects consuming the CF drinks experienced significant improvement in all cognitive ability tests performed. Mental fatigue was `significantly attenuated` by consumption of the drink containing 520 mg of CF. Natural flavanols have been shown to exert powerful effects on many aspects of health, and cocoa flavanols taken before periods of cognitive demand prove beneficial to memory, learning and fatigue reduction.