Chocolate is healthy – Yes, we know that sounds counterintuitive, but as consumers of vast amounts of chocolate, we are well placed to judge. Melt has turned to leading scientific research to support this claim. The following is based both on consuming huge amounts of chocolate and looking at the latest scientific research.
Does Chocolate make you smart. We think there is a direct correlation between consumption of dark chocolate and Nobel prize winners. (If your smart you will probably tell us that that’s because smart people just love chocolate. We would of course agree with you.)
Researchers have identified the specific ingredient in chocolate that may be most responsible for its newly recognized weight loss and anti-diabetes benefits. (The American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry)
Scientists have known for some time that cocoa leads the pack when it comes to flavanol-rich foods, with the potential to boost heart health, lower blood sugar, and decrease body fat.
Chocolate has 4x more Anti-Oxidants than red wine and as many flavonoids as six apples. Dark Chocolate has the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbtion Capacity) 20,816 of any food. Researchers have discovered that anti-oxidants can rejuvenate inactive senescent cells. Cells both looked and behaved like younger cells. Within hours of treatment, older cells had started to divide and had longer telomeres, which are the ‘caps’ on the chromosomes which shorten as we age. One of the reasons we become more susceptible to disease as we age is that our tissues accumulate senescent cells which are alive but do not grow or function as they should.
Chocolate contains 4 essential ingredients that make it one of the best foods for health
1. Magnesium: For the heart to be at its peak performance, it requires two minerals more than any other, magnesium and potassium. Cacao, of course, is a fantastic food source of heart-supporting magnesium.
2. Antioxidants: According to research, cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food.
3. Phenylethylamine (PEA): PEA is a chemical in cacao that increases the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in parts of the brain that control our ability to pay attention and stay alert.
4. Anti-Depressant Properties of Cacao: Cacao is also a great source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine, three well-studied neurotransmitters, which help alleviate depression. Cacao also contains anandamide which delivers blissful feelings and B vitamins, which are associated with brain health. Cacao is a natural prozac!
Chocolate lowers your blood pressure, which, quite literally, takes the pressure off your heart. The flavonoids in cocoa, which are approximately 4x that of Red Wine, are thought to help the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and preventing blood clots. Researchers found that flavonoids reduced blood pressure and improved blood flow. Decreasing the unhealthy LDL cholesterol and increasing the healthy HDL cholesterol. “Chocolate has the same effect as aspirin therapy” noted Kris-Etherton “but without the negative gastro-intestinal side effects.”
Chocolate makes you smart. Chocolate packs a powerful cocktail of stimulants for the brain. Chocolate produces euphoria as it contains tryptophans, stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine which produce the feelings of euphoria, calm and pleasure:
The three main chemicals are:
– Theobromine, which is chemically very similar to caffeine and is a powerful stimulant.
– Anandamide, a cannabinoid, affects the same structures of the brain as THC (the active ingredient in cannabis).
– Phenylethylamine is a chemical which stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres and which is released when we fall in love. The food that contains the highest concentrations of phenylethylamine? Is obviously chocolate. This is why chocolate is called the ‘love drug’ and the ‘happiness drug’.
Chocolate is a slow food and should be savoured like a fine wine. It is one of the most complex foods known with many more flavour compounds than Wine. Over 1500 flavour components have been identified in chocolate- from floral, citrus notes to smoky and nutty. Chocolate has the unique quality of melting at body temperature. The reason for our name – Melt Chocolates and the reason the melting chocolate in your mouth is so pleasurable.
Good for the memory Flavanoids, that are found in raw cacao beans, can help boost brain power and memory. The beneficial brain effects appear to stem from flavanoids’ impact on the blood system. In essence, the chemicals stimulate an increase of blood flow to the brain. But experts caution that chocolate usually loses its flavanoids during processing. So if you want to increase your alertness and concentration, try swapping your regular caffeine drink in the morning for a nice cup of hot chocolate – made with unprocessed and unsweetened cacao powder
Beneficial to the heart. No single food will confer immunity from illness, but both tea and chocolate, which are plant foods, can be components of a healthy diet
Recent research at the University of California, has found that chocolate carries high levels of chemicals known as phenolics, some of which may help lower the risk of heart disease. Plants such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and others contain high levels of phenolics.
The babies born to mothers who had eaten chocolate daily during pregnancy rated more positively the temperament of their infants. The babies of stressed mothers who had regularly eaten chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who had not consumed chocolate. The researchers speculated that the happy behaviour observed in the babies might result from chemicals in chocolate, which are associated with positive mood, being passed on to the baby in the womb
Chocolate consumption has a positive impact on the human immune system. Research has shown that eating dark chocolate increases T-Cell activation and cellular immune responses. Phenolic compounds can strengthen the defenses of our immune system and help our body’s resistance. Cocoa is a food relatively rich in polyphenols, which makes it a potent antioxidant. It is well known to improve our blood circulation, another important factor in immune response. Chocolate has long been considered a superfood, and a good security and survival food. Something our military know well. It is high in energy, packed with vitamins and minerals and super long-lasting.
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