Skip to comments.What's In Chocolate, Cocoa That Might Benefit Brain Health?
Posted on 08/08/2013 7:17:43 PM PDT by Innovative
In the new study, the team from Harvard randomly assigned 60 elderly people to drink two cups of flavanol-rich or flavanol-poor cocoa every day for a month.
There weren't any overall differences between the high- and low-flavanol groups in terms of cognitive abilities, so the researchers looked a little deeper. They found that people who had compromised blood flow to the brain and white matter damage at the beginning of the study did show a difference after drinking the cocoa for a month: Blood flow in their brains improved by about 8%, and the time it took them to complete a working memory test dropped from 167 seconds to 116 seconds.
The problem is that not only do we not know exactly how cocoa does this, but we dont really even know what compound in it is responsible.
While the authors don't think cocoa's effects have to do with the flavanols, they do say that in the future, "regular cocoa consumption may be a strategy to minimize (perhaps even reverse) cerebral vascular pathology in neurodegenerative disorders, regardless of its flavanol content."
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
PS. This article is from Forbes magazine, so I think it deserves to be posted in News.
Does anyone remember Woody Allen’s “Sleeper?” Wasn’t the line something like “Here, have some chocolate and tobacco...”
hot cocoa for breakfast and night time
Yesterday, I was in coffee aisle of grocery and past coffee saw canister of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix without sugar, and I bought it. I’ll have a cup of that now.
The thing that jumps out at me is the cocoa butter.
Cocoa butter contains a high proportion of saturated fats, derived from stearic and palmitic acids.
Stearic acid occurs in many animal and vegetable fats and oils, but it is more abundant in animal fat (up to 30%) than vegetable fat (typically <5%). The important exceptions are cocoa butter and shea butter where the stearic acid content (as a triglyceride) is 2845%.
You can make guiltless sugar-free cocoa with stevia. Delicious.
I saw this thread and just had to get up and start some water heating... yum.
Beans are vegetables.
Cocoa comes from beans.
Chocolate is a vegetable!
However, I suspect the Mayans (royalty only were allowed chocolate) didn't use any milk - or Llama milk?
Cocoa is a stimulant, but I had not heard that it might improve brain function.
They mixed it with water, chilies, vanilla and cornmeal. They might have added in a bit of agave nectar.
“You can make guiltless sugar-free cocoa with stevia. Delicious.”
What I got is sugarless, and I did have a cup - the cup is larger than a usual cup.
Beans are legumes. Legumes are fruits. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume
Dark chocolate is now supposed to be good for the heart.
organic chocolate melted with “So Delicious Dairy free French Vanilla creamer” !!
Now there is heaven in a cup!
Yes, one scientist told another that people used to think that steak and hot fudge were bad. Her reply was, “Incredible!” That was a great movie with great music. I wish there have been a soundtrack.
Keep on eating that dark chocolate!
Finding out what does it would spoil the fun.
Forget the “dairy free” crap and use the real thing.
Its healthier and tasts better too.
Here’s the scene from Sleeper:
Another study, mentioned on Sunday Morning Health Call (FOX News), stated that dark chocolate also helps prevent strokes. So there is something in chocolate that helps the brain in more ways than one.
Best news I have heard all day!
True - but aren't/weren't the Mayans and llamss in Peru?
Stevia tastes like something cracked from old gasoline and flavored with sugar beets.
Which was what was the final straw for me in the last Indiana Jones movie.
Refrigerators protect you from atomic blasts? Ok.
Telepathic Russian agents? Sure.
Aliens? Why not.
Maya in Peru? What the....!
I love stevia in hot chocolate and coffee. After you’ve had it for awhile, real sugar tastes too sweet and cheap.
But I still like real sugar in peanut butter cookies. :)
However, I use less sugar than the recipe calls for.
And no thanks to sugar of any kind.
And no thanks to any artificial sweetener of any kind.
What’s wrong with cocoa without any sweetener?
Taste like saccharin t me. Bleeaaahh!
You really have to ask? Really?
What jumps out for me, and your cocoa butter idea is a good one, is the emotion involved in hot cocoa. It is an extremely pleasant, tasty, homey association with the past that could be such a good feeling that the feeling itself is what stimulates the brain.
Just a thought. It would be a mind over matter explanation and would account for the lack of success identifying a specific chemical compound.
Start raising kids where a beating or a severe lecture (Michelle Obama) is associated with drinking hot chocolate and the benefit might disappear in a couple decades.
I’d always assume a chemical, because there are so darned many of them that are biologically interactive with us.
To start with, cocoa is full of antioxidant-rich phytonutrients. ORAC is the acronym for “Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity”, and raw cocoa has the highest ORAC value of any food (which is why the researchers focus on it.
(I might also add this is why chemotherapy patients should never, ever drink cocoa or eat chocolate, because the intent of the chemo is to create oxygen radicals in the tumor.)
Cocoa has more flavonoids than any known food. Two flavonoids in particular, catechin and epicatchin, are found in extremely high amounts in cocoa powder and have copious amounts of research supporting their health benefits. These two flavonoids along with hundreds of other known phytochemicals in cocoa appear to prevent and even treat some of todays most devastating diseases. Interestingly, this myriad of flavonoids in cocoa appears to be absorbed intact into the human blood stream.
This is unusual because many flavonoids are destroyed during digestion, a reason that flavonoid supplement don’t seem to work as well as those within plant cells tissue.
Many Americans are deficient in the minerals copper and magnesium, both of which are found in cocoa. Cocoa contains about 0.8 mg of copper per 100 g and is therefore a great food source of copper. Copper has many uses in the body, including the oxygenation of red blood cells and aiding in cellular energy production. Cocoa also has the highest amount of magnesium of any known food source,approximately 131 mg per 100 g of cocoa. This mineral, which plays a significant role in cocoas health giving properties, is required by over 300 enzymes in the body and is crucial for cardiovascular health, optimal blood pressure and protein synthesis.
Other chemicals in cocoa cause euphoria, including phenyethlamine (PEA), serotonin, tyramine and anandamide. One of the most well-known is phenyethlamine (PEA) which helps the body release its own opium-like compounds, called endorphins, and also boosts levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Most people are deficient in the neurotransmitter serotonin and this is why many Americans are prescribed anti-depressants which boost serotonin levels. Anandamide binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as THC, the active constituent in marijuana.
The “dairy free” crap as you call it Mr E.S. is all this body can tolerate, and I disagree about better and healthier actually.. Coconut and it’s by products are some of the healthiest things you can consume.
I do not disagree with you as to Coconut, but many “dairy free” products contain harmful oils like soy, canola, and safflower.
Thanks. I had not heard that dark chocolate helps prevent strokes.
Soy is the GMO oil that will kill ya!
Coconuts are a great food source.. read ur labels!
I cut out sugars and all sweeteners over ten years ago. Needless to say, that means I haven't had cocoa or chocolate for at least ten years.
I have learned to drink my coffee without sugar (and without milk or cream; dairy is also unhealthy).
So I was wondering if it's possible (and convenient, as in not having to grind my own cocoa beans or something) to make hot chocolate without any kind of sweetener added.
Isn't coconut milk a laxative?
Next thing you know, there will be Puerto Ricans in NYC...