Are Cocoa Flavanols (Chocolate Extract) Good For You?

By October 15, 2015 Extracts No Comments

Chocolate’s good for you – Hoorah!

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the consumption of cocoa (found in chocolate.) It’s bad for you and yet it’s good for you. Which one is the truth?

Here’s some basic truth. Coca contains a substance called flavonoids. Flavonoids has antioxidants (responsible for slowing aging and making you look younger) and even reduces inflammation.

The consumption of chocolate has a deep history. Historians are now unearthing how the ancient people have eaten chocolate to treat all sorts of remedies. There are references of chocolate throughout many civilizations. It has been used to treat cancer, fever, heart disease, libido and so many other problems that people faced during that time.

Perhaps, these ancient civilizations knew something that we didn’t. As more scientific research is being done on coca we have probably found the answer.

The reason why chocolate is good for you is because of the flavonoids. The coca inside chocolate has lots and lots of flavonoids. No other substance has as much flavonoids that cocoa has.

There’s more evidence over the years showing the numerous benefits that flavonoids provide to the human body. It’s interesting to see the evidence catching up to what ancient people believed long ago.

Cocoa Flavanols (Flavonoids)

Food substances that contain flavonoids are coca, tea, and berries. Here’s an interesting bit of info: the reason why plants and fruit have a wide variety of colors is because of the flavonoids.

People who study food label flavonoids to be something called phytonutrients. This means that chemicals that are found naturally within plants. This is in contrast to artificial chemicals that are created by man. There are all sorts of phytonutrients like resveratrol or quercetin.

Phytonutrients assist plants with their survival. They are most effective when fighting off bacteria and viruses. This piece of information is relevant because what if the properties of phytonutrients can also be of help to humans? Can we also absorb the benefits phytonutrients have on plants for our bodies?

The answer isn’t definitive yet. Research is being currently done on this topic as there’s a lot of interest if humans can integrate phytonutrients into their bodies.

The reason why there’s such intensive interest is primarily because of its abilities to fight off bacteria, the rich presence of antioxidants, and anti-inflammation properties.

There are thousands of phytonutrients out there for scientists to study. We’ll see the answers to these burning questions within a few years.

Cocoa has two flavonoids called catechin and epicatechin. These cocoa flavanols found within the dark chocolate have a variety of benefits that can be applicable to the human body. That being its ability to reduce the possibility of heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve the cognitive abilities of the brain. (1) (2)

Do flavonoids help with blood pressure?

The flavonoids that are present in chocolate have been proven to reduce high blood pressure. (3) This explains why diabetics commonly carry around chocolate bars. It’s ironic because it’s commonly used to raise blood pressure not lower it.

Do flavanols help with your heart?

The combination of benefits that cocoa flavonoids produce lead to a combined result of improving the health of your benefit. The fact that the flavonoids minimizes inflammation, has antioxidants, relaxes your muscles, and improves blood health all work together to help your heart.

Lot of research is being done on how these flavonoids can assist with reducing and treating heart disease. It’s only natural since the leading cause of death in the world is because of heart disease.

Do cocoa flavanols help with your brain?

Yes. The increased blood flow that is created by flavonoids also increase blood flow to your brain as well. The brain benefits from flavonoids because more blood flow can actually improve memory and learning.

The reasoning used by scientists is that flavonoids can clear up contaminants within the oxygen supply of the body. The brain consumes a huge amount of calories (approximately 30-40% of the oxygen that you consume.) The flavonoids purify the oxygen and your brain benefits as a result. (6)

A scientific study was conducted that confirmed the conclusion that was made in the above paragraph. However, this only applies to old people. It’s relevant for old people as the elderly have more issues with their cognitive performance then compared to the young.

You can make the same conclusion that by through the consumption of cocoa, people will experience increased cognition as a result. When people drank cocoa their cognitive performance increased dramatically. (7)

The study is a small sample size so there’s caution to be expressed here. It’s a good indicator that is what flavonoids can do for the human brain. Approximately, 60 elderly people were given cups of cocoa to drink each day. They were also instructed to not consume any chocolate as that could skew the study significantly.

The metrics that were used in this study is how fast blood flow went to the brain and how the subjects responded to cognitive tasks such as puzzles and memory recall games.

The results of the experiment showed that the ones who drank the cocoa did better on the brain tests then compared to the sample that did not. Scientists know with reasonable certainty that it was because of the flavonoids since that was the only factor that did increase blood flow to the brain.

The results of this study shows a lot of promise for treating the elderly that are afflicted with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses that affect the brain in a drastic way.

Conclusion

Don’t be guilty of eating chocolate. The flavonoids that are present in cocoa offer a wide variety of health benefits for humans. The more bitter the cocoa is the more juicy flavonoids that it has.

Research has definitely confirmed that the consumption of cocoa flavanols can assist with your heart as that’s where all the money is going in terms of funding for the research.

Lot of research will be done in the future to show if there are even more health benefits then we know as of now. Take advantage of the health benefits and grab some expensive chocolate that has lots of cocoa. Sorry Hershey won’t cut it.

REFERENCES

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11790962

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15678717

3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/chocolate/evidence/HRB-20058898

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820048/

5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820048/

6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200307/flavonoids-antioxidants-help-the-mind

7. http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2013/08/07/WNL.0b013e3182a351aa.abstract

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