Health & Cocao

Health & Medical Benefits of (sugar-free, fat-free) Chocolate

There is a positive health contribution from the consumption of cocoa. Studies have shown that consuming cocoa can result in a variety of health and medical benefits.

Health and Medical Benefits of (sugar-free, fat-free) Chocolate

Published studies

[0006] In recent years, various studies have shown that consumption of cocoa can result in decreases in the rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health problems (see Franco2013). A study published in Caries Research in 2015 reported that theobromine is as effective as fluorine in the remineralization of teeth and in fighting tooth decay (see Amae2013). Another study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2015 reported that cocoa intake, at least in rats, may delay progression of type 2 diabetes (see Fernan2015).

Another study published in 2008 reported that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people increase blood flow in the brain (see Sorond2008), with a 2014 study showing that a high cocoa diet improves cognition in older adults (see Brick2014).

Another study published in 2010 reported that theobromine-enriched cocoa lowered central systolic blood pressure (see Bogard2010). Levels of theobromine higher than natural in chocolate are known to act as a diet suppressant. Another study published in 2007 reported that regular consumption of dark chocolate that is rich in flavonols can lower arterial stiffness (see Vlach2007), while U.S. Patent 6,900,241 claims use of cocoa to treat atherosclerosis.

HDL "good cholesterol" benefits

Another study published in 2013 reported that theobromine seems to be the chemical in cocoa whose consumption leads to increases in serum-HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol) concentrations (see Neufin2013). Mars, the chocolate company, has patented the use of some cocoa extracts as anti-tumor agents (see U.S. patent 7,820,713).

Heart disease and cancer

Similarly, another chocolate company, Barry Callebaut, has patented the use of some cocoa extracts for treating prostate cancer (see U.S. patent 8,435,576). Also, recent studies have raised the question of whether people have too much added iron in their diets, and if this added iron is contributing to a variety of health problems such as heart disease and increased inflammation. Cocoa is known to decrease iron absorption while eating. In 2007, scientists in Panama studied the country’s Kuna Indians, who consume large amounts of cocoa, typically consuming, each day, approximately 900 milligrams of flavonols in cocoa, as well as much theobromine. The result of the study was that deaths due to heart disease and cancer dropped by a factor of ten, and deaths due to diabetes dropped by a factor of four (see Bayard2007).

While these effects cannot be solely attributed to the cocoa diet, there is a positive health contribution from this consumption of cocoa.

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