(this might be an ad for a certain brand of product but the info is interesting!) Is Dark Chocolate Healthy? Organic Chemical Compounds in Cacao Bean...

(this might be an ad for a certain brand of product but the info is interesting!) Is Dark Chocolate Healthy? Organic Chemical Compounds in Cacao Beans and Organic Dark Chocolate *LINK*
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Sunday, May 20, 2012 06:51 pm

It is important to understand that most of the scientific research on the cacao bean refers to organic cacao in its raw, unprocessed, and unadulterated form. Note that when the cacao beans are processed by roasting or heating, there will be a loss of some of the nutrient value, and treating the cocao with alkaline salts in the Dutch process will reduce the concentration of flavanols and reduce its high antioxidant value. So the levels of active nutrients and the health benefits discussed below may be not be fully applicable to all of the many kinds of commercially processed dark chocolate products marketed today.

So don't expect that eating ANY type of chocolate bar or chocolate candy is going to be good for your health. You need to know WHICH KINDS of chocolate actually provide the health benefits - and that will usually be the kinds of COCOA POWDER and DARK CHOCOLATE which are closer to the raw cocoa bean, undergo the least amount of processing, and have the least unhealthy additives like saturated fats and refined sugar.

In general, the healthiest kinds of chocolate (in order) are:

raw, organic, unprocessed cacao beans (called "nibs") or cocoa mass;
organic and unroasted cocoa powder not treated with alkalis;
organic dark chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa liquor or cocoa powder and the lowest percentage of refined sugar (bitter or semi-sweet dark chocolate).
Organically-grown cacao beans will not contain pesticide residues. Non-organic cacao may have some pesticide residues, but other than that, the same order as above will apply to non-organic cacao, cocao powder, and dark chocolate.

"Most chocolate, in fact, isn't flavanol-rich," says Norm Hollenberg, a radiology professor and flavanol expert at Harvard Medical School. "But all chocolate is rich in fat and calories." Hollenberg studied the Kuna Indians of Central America, island dwellers near Panama who grow their own flavanol-rich cacao beans.

The Kuna people drink a lot of cocoa, and they don't have high blood pressure or diabetes ...except for those who move to the mainland and start drinking flavanol-poor commercial cocoa. Hollenberg also fed cocoa with flavanols or cocoa without flavanols to a split study group in the United States, and discovered that flavanols in cocoa seemed to improve blood flow throughout the body.

Even when a chocolate product is made from organic cacao beans or nibs, this does not necessarily mean the finished product will have the same health benefits as the raw cocoa, if the way it is processed by the manufacturer has reduced the nutrient value of the cocoa beans, or if the addition of milk products limits the ability of the body to absorb all the natural antioxidants.

Also note that the CAFFEINE in the cacao fruit is found mainly in the shell or membrane which encloses the cacao beans. Most suppliers of cheaper cocoa powder grind up this outer membrane along with the beans, which helps to increase the yield and lower their cost of producing cocoa mass. But when the membrane is removed before shipping the raw cacao beans or grinding them into cocoa powder, the chocolate made from those more expensive beans will be of higher quality and essentially free of caffeine.

A List of Healthy Substances Found in Raw Chocolate (Theobroma Cacao)

Many of the natural chemical compounds in raw cocoa or cacao beans and in organic dark chocolate have been discussed in scientific literature as being pharmacologically significant to health. Here is a partial list of these active substances in natural organic chocolate (and more are discussed below).

Anandamide (a neurotransmitter known as "the bliss chemical")
Arginine (nature's aphrodisiac)
Dopamine (a neurotransmitter)
Epicatechins (antioxidants)
Magnesium (for healthy heart function)
Serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter)
Tryptophan (anti-depressant amino acid)
Phenylethylamine (PEA) (controls the ability to focus attention and stay alert)
Polyphenols (antioxidants)
Magnesium - the Mineral Your Heart Needs

Is dark chocolate good for your heart? Research by Dr. Bernard Jensen indicates that the heart muscle requires these two minerals more than any other minerals: Magnesium and Potassium. In the heart muscle Magnesium is concentrated eighteen times greater than in the bloodstream. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and the heartbeat.

The overall strength and vigor of the heart muscle and its ability to pump effectively is enhanced by the presence of Magnesium, and this important mineral also decreases blood coagulation and thus can lower blood pressure.

Magnesium also balances brain chemistry, and helps build strong bones.

When heart problems occur, Magnesium is the most likely mineral to be missing in the person's diet.

80% Americans are deficient in Magnesium. This deficiency is linked to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, and PMT.

Cocoa beans and organic dark chocolate are the #1 best food sources of this heart-supporting mineral, Magnesium. Can you see how a guilt-free daily dose of Magnesium-rich healthy chocolate could actually help lower your risk of heart disease?

Anti-Depressant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. These are three well-studied neurotransmitters which help alleviate depression and are associated with feelings of well-being.

Cocoa contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) which help improve our mood because they allow serotonin and dopamine to remain in the bloodstream longer without being broken down.

Cocoa also contains anandamide which stimulates blissful feelings. Cocoa also contains B vitamins, which are associated with brain health.

Vascular Health Promoting Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Nitric Oxide (NO)

One research study discovered that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (a chemical compound designated as NO, where N = 1 Nitrogen atom, and O = 1 Oxygen atom). Nitric oxide or NO is a critical component in healthy blood flow and blood pressure control.

Vascular diseases, including Erectile Dysfunction (ED) which is common in men over age 40, are connected to the inability of an artery to make the simple but fundamental chemical called nitric oxide (NO). It appears that flavanols help reverse that problem. Thus eating healthy chocolate might help men over 40 to enjoy a more active sex life without having to rely on expensive drugs like Viagra™ or Celebrex™ or those many herbal concoctions which are touted in millions of unwanted emails.

Another research study showed that a type of bioflavonoid called flavanols in cocoa prevent fatty substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and then clogging the arteries. Flavanols also make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause blood clots.

Researchers are excited by the potential of flavanols to ward off vascular disease, which can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and even dementia.

Antioxidant Properties of Cocoa and Healthy Dark Chocolate

Scientists have known for years that cocoa/cacao contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were in comparison to those found in two other healthy foods - red wine and green tea.

According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cocoa beans are super-rich in the type of flavonoid called flavanols (not flavOnols) which are very strong antioxidants. Cocoa/cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) of flavanol antioxidants per 100 grams - or an amazing 10% antioxidant concentration level!

Recent research has demonstrated that the antioxidants found in cacao beans are highly stable and easily available to the human metabolism. Of all known foods, cacao is also the ONLY food which does NOT lose its Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) over significant periods of time. This makes cocoa both the most POTENT source of antioxidants and a source of the most USABLE antioxidants found in any natural food.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and keep them from damaging the DNA and mitochondria of the body's cells, which is a major cause of many degenerative diseases, cancer tumors, heart disease, and premature aging. Cells with damaged DNA cannot reproduce healthy new cells, but will reproduce damaged or malignant cells.

Cornell University food scientists discovered that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.

Their findings were published in an article entitled "Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine", published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication.

The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, state the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids.

A class of flavonoids known as flavanols or flavan-3-ols includes: catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin. All three are found naturally in the cocoa bean. (Note that flavanols are NOT the same as another very similar-sounding class of flavonoids known as flavonols, which includes: myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.)

The Cornell researchers discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE.

By comparison, 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate delivers as many antioxidants as five ounces of red wine.

That makes cocoa one of the richest sources of antioxidants in any food!

Compare the raw cocoa bean's 10,000 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams to other forms of commercial chocolate...
Processed cocoa powder (defatted and roasted cocoa beans treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolate candy range in flavanol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams of flavanols per 100 grams of normal chocolate bars, to a concentration of 5,000 milligrams (5 grams) of flavanols per 100 grams of Cocoapro cocoa powder from the Mars Corporation.

Neither comes close to the high concentration of flavanol antioxidants in raw cocoa/cacao beans - 10 grams of flavanols per 100 grams.

ORAC Score - A Measure of Antioxidant Quality

The current standard for testing and measuring the antioxidant properties of various foods is called the ORAC Score. ORAC is an abbreviation for "Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity" - which is a measure of the amount of free radicals that can be neutralized by a certain mass of a food substance (usually cited as "per gram" or "per 100 grams" of the food substance).

The higher the ORAC score, the higher the concentration of antioxidants present in the food. (Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society.)

Free radicals are molecules that are missing one or more electrons and are therefore chemically imbalanced with a positive electrical charge. They are created in several kinds of chemical reactions which take place in our bodies, such as when we burn energy by working our muscles. To balance their charge, these radical molecules will seek to attract or "steal" electrons from other molecules - including the molecules which make up the DNA in your body's cells which is the blueprint for producing new cells, and the mitochondria in your cells which create the energy to sustain the cells.

Cells with damaged mitochondria are weak and have lower energy and less resistance to disease. When the DNA of a cell is damaged by the action of free radicals, the result is the creation of imperfect new cells - or even malignant new cells which form tumors and cancers.

Free radicals are the cause of most degenerative diseases, premature aging, and the creation of cancer cells.

Antioxidants are molecules which have one or more extra electrons and are chemically imbalanced with a negative electrical charge, so they can attract and "donate" an electron to a positively-charged free radical molecule, which balances its electrical charge and thus neutralizes it. So that "thieving" radical molecule which is now electrically balanced no longer needs to "steal" electrons from the molecules which form our body's cells.

Thus the more antioxidant molecules we have in our body, the more free radicals are neutralized, and the less damage is done to our cells. By preventing the damage to our DNA and mitochondria, antioxidants can stop and even reverse the aging process, and help prevent all kinds of degenerative diseases and cancers.

The ORAC value rates the capacity of the substance to prevent oxidation, i.e. its effectiveness as an antioxidant. It might help to compare the oxidation of molecules in our body to the oxidation of iron in an automobile - which we call "rusting". Oxidized or "rusted" iron becomes brittle and weak, and eventually breaks down into a reddish-brown dust known as iron oxide. You could say that our bodies are "rusting out" from oxidation by free radicals! Ashes to ashes, and rust to dust!

But our bodies can be protected from this rusting by the antioxidants we get from eating natural foods which have a high ORAC value. Many natural foods have been supplying human bodies with those protective antioxidants since we first evolved, but the problem today is that we are not eating many natural foods! We consume far too many processed foods and junk foods which have had the protective antioxidants proocessed out of them! So we suffer more and more from many diseases such as cancer and heart disease, which were relatively rare problems for our ancestors who were eating nothing but whole foods fresh from the farm.

It's very difficult today to avoid eating processed foods with inferior nutritional value, but we can at least try to eat enough whole foods (like cocoa or high-antioxidant fruits) or health supplements that supply us with enough antioxidants to protect us from degenerative diseases and the ravages of aging. We don't have to grow old before our time, or suffer painful ailments, or die from horrible diseases that could have been prevented.

While the general public may be aware that they need to eat more raw fruits to get a good supply of antioxidants, the fruits most commonly eaten by North Americans are fairly low on the ORAC scale. Cantaloupe, banana, apple, apricot, peach, pear, and watermelon all have an ORAC score of less than 251 per 100 grams. No wonder the average North American is not getting enough antioxidants in his or her daily diet.

Even milk chocolate with its ORAC score of 6,740 provides significantly more antioxidants per gram than most of the commonly consumed fruits and vegetables - and more than even the top scoring fruits like prunes (5,770), pomegranate (3,307), blueberries (2,400) and blackberries (2,036).

The daily diet of the average North American only scores 1,000 to 1,500 on the ORAC scale. Nutrition experts tell us that it should be at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC. Some say it should be even more than 5,000.

Eating healthy chocolate, with its super-high ORAC value, can be an efficient and enjoyable way to boost your daily dose of antioxidants and reduce the ravages of free radicals.

Be careful not to assume that ALL organic chocolate or dark chocolate products (or any processed food product) are "healthy" just because they claim to contain ingredients which are known to have a high ORAC score. It does NOT necessarily mean that the finished product you are consuming will have a high ORAC score too.

There are several factors that can affect the actual ORAC score of a finished food product such as dark chocolate:

(1) how it is processed (excessive heat can destroy flavanols and reduce the amount of available antioxidants, which lowers the ORAC value),
(2) how much of the high ORAC ingredients are actually in the product,
(3) how some ingredients affect the ORAC score of other ingredients (e.g. adding milk to cocoa lowers its effective ORAC score to a little more than half because dairy products tend to block the absorption of the antioxidant flavanols in the cocoa).

Only ONE company (which markets a variety of truly healthy chocolate products) actually dares to show you an independent laboratory's ORAC score per serving of its finished products right on their packaging (see "The Healthiest Chocolate" below) - so "what you see is what you get".

For the reasons given above, all other chocolate makers seem unwilling to let you know the actual ORAC score of the products they are selling you. One might wonder if their effective ORAC score is too low to really be considered a "healthy" chocolate product?

Table of ORAC Values for Common Foods

Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.

Unprocessed Raw Cacao - ORAC 28,000
Acai Berries* - ORAC 18,500
Dark Chocolate - ORAC 13,120
Milk Chocolate - ORAC 6,740
Prunes - 5,770
Wolfberry Juice - 3,472
Pomegranates - 3,307
Raisins - 2,830
Blueberries - 2,400
Blackberries - 2,036
Garlic - 1,939
Kale - 1,770
Cranberries - 1,750
Strawberries - 1,540
Tahitian Noni Juice - 1,506
Raw Spinach - 1,260
Raspberries - 1,220
Brussels Sprouts - 980
Plums - 949
Alfalfa Sprouts - 930
Steamed Spinach - 909
Broccoli - 890
Beets - 840
Avocado - 782
Oranges - 750
Red Grapes - 739
Red Bell Pepper - 710
Cherries - 670
Pink Grapefruit - 495
Kidney Beans - 460
Onion - 450
Corn - 400
Cauliflower - 385
Frozen Peas - 375
Potato - 300
Cabbage - 295
Banana - 210
Carrot - 200
Apple - 207
Tomato - 195
Peach - 170
Lima Beans - 136
Pear - 110
(*ORAC for Acai as determined by Brunswick Laboratories, USA.)

This will be important new information for millions of children and teenagers who hate the taste of brussel sprouts or broccoli. Now they can advise Mom that dark chocolate is a much healthier alternate source of antioxidants!

When comparing the antixodidant value (ORAC value) of foods you may actually be eating on a regular basis, another consideration is antioxidant value per calorie. What foods provide a healthy source of antioxidants without also providing too many calories from carbs and fats? Dark chocolate, in spite of the sweetener added to overcome the bitterness of raw cocoa, is actually one of the better providers of antioxidants per calorie!

One hundred grams of healthy dark chocolate (more than you would normally eat) provides 13,120 ORAC units of antioxidants and 552 calories of energy - which works out to 24 ORAC units per calorie.

That gives dark chocolate a better ORAC/calorie ratio than brussels sprouts (23), beets (20), plums (17), oranges (16), cauliflower (15), cherries (13), onions (12), cabbage (12), red grapes (10), tomato (9), head lettuce (9), string beans (6), potato (5), frozen peas (5), corn (5), carrot (5), apple (4), tofu (3), baked beans (3), pear (2), banana (2), or lima beans (1). In other words, if you are looking to increase your antioxidant intake from natural fruits and vegetables while consuming the least calories, eating a healthy dark chocolate is actually a lower-calorie source than all the common foods in this list!

And the ORAC per calorie ratio for dark chocolate (24) is about the SAME as two of the top antioxidant fruits - prunes (24) and raspberries (25). So it's not necessary to worry about getting too many calories when consuming healthy dark chocolate as`a supplemental source of antioxidants, because you don't need to eat very much dark chocolate`to absorb more antioxidants than you would get from many common fruits`and vegetables!

Prunes or chocolate? You can choose the chocolate!

Methylxanthines in Cocoa: Theobromine and Caffeine

Cocoa/cacao can substantially increase a person's energy level, since it contains two stimulating methylxanthines - a significant amount of theobromine and a small amount of caffeine.

Theobromine in Cocoa and Chocolate

Theobromine comprises between 1% and 2% of the cocoa bean. Its properties are: stimulating the central nervous system, relaxing smooth muscles, and dilating blood vessels. Compared to the other methylxanthine molecule, caffeine, the theobromine has about one-quarter the stimulating power.

Theobromine also acts as a mild diuretic (increases the rate of urination) and has been used as a medical drug in cases where a heart attack had resulted in too high an accumulation of body fluid. Theobromine is also a cardiac stimulant and has been used to treat high blood pressure.

One of the reasons why dogs should not eat cocoa or chocolate is because this food can cause cardiac arrest in dogs, since they simply lack the enzymes necessary to metabolize quantities of theobromine in excess of 100 to 150 mg per kilogram of the dog's body weight. The smaller the dog, the less cocoa or chocolate it would take to cause death.

Dogs LIKE to eat chocolate and will gorge themselves on all the chocolate they find, so do NOT leave chocolate candies or baking chocolate or chocolate chips where your pet dog can get at them! And do not feed chocolate candies to your dog, which just trains your dog to like the food that can kill your pet! Even the type of garden mulch which is made from shredded cocoa hulls (and can attract some dogs who will eat it) could contain enough theobromine to harm or kill a dog.

Caffeine in Cocoa and Chocolate

It generally agreed that cocoa and chocolate are poor sources of caffeine, though estimates of how much caffeine is present in cocoa may differ, depending on the source of the opinion. (Note that cocoa made from cacao beans which had the surrounding membrane removed before processing will contain almost no caffeine.) Various researchers have made the following estimates of the caffeine content in cocoa and chocolate...

A cup of hot chocolate usually contains about 4 to 5 milligrams of caffeine, which is about 5% of the caffeine found in a cup of regular perked coffee. Some types of high-quality organic cocoa powder which have the outer membrane removed from the bean will contain almost no caffeine, for most of the caffeine is found in this membrane (which is usually ground up with the whole bean to make a cheaper form of cocoa powder).

A cup of coffee may contain 50 to 175 milligrams of caffeine, a cup of tea may contain 25 to 100 milligrams, and a cup of cocoa beverage may contain zero to 25 milligrams of caffeine.

A 1.4 ounce piece of chocolate (40 grams) contains about the same amount of caffeine as one cup of decaffeinated coffee.

800 grams of milk chocolate (a lot of chocolate!) contains the equivalent amount of caffeine found in a cup of regular coffee.

A 50 gram piece of dark chocolate (the size of an average chocolate bar) will yield between 10 and 60 milligrams of caffeine; while an average 5-ounce cup of coffee can yield up to 175 milligrams of caffeine. (According to the Chocolate Information Center.)

An interesting experiment in the medical field of Homeopathy showed that a decoction of ground, roasted cocoa beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, and an excited state of circulation, demonstrated by an accelerated pulse. Yet when the same decoction was made with unroasted cocoa beans, neither effect was noticeable.

Can Chocolate Help You Be Happy?

We have all heard how chocolate can be a "comfort food" to help us cope with stress and depression and general unhappiness. There might actually be some connection between chocolate and happiness, when we look at certain chemicals which are found naturally in the cocoa/cacao bean and which can affect parts of the brain.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) in Cocoa

PEA is a chemical found in cocoa/cacao beans which increases the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in certain areas of the brain which control the ability to focus attention and stay alert. Elevated PEA levels occur naturally when we are captivated by a movie or good book, or are wholly focused on a project or task - when we lose track of time and are not consciously unaware of what is happening around us.

PEA is found in higher levels in the brains of happy people. Cocoa or dark chocolate has been found to contain up to 2.2 percent PEA (phenylethylamine).

Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical) in Cocoa

Anandamide (or n-arachidonoylethanolamine) is a neurotransmitter which has been isolated in cocoa in quantities which are significant enough to affect the brain. Anandamide is a cannabinoid naturally found in the human brain. Anandamide is a lipid (a fat) known as "the bliss chemical" because it is released when we are feeling good. (Anandamide is the English spelling; anandamine is the French spelling.)

It is true that anandamide has a similar effect to the compound THC in cannabis (marijuana), but it acts in a different way; acts only on certain groups of brain cells and not the whole brain; and thus creates blissful feelings with much less intensity.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) in Cocoa/Cacao

These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed, by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters such as anandamide, dopamine and others to circulate in the brain. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors facilitate anti-aging and rejuvenation.

MAO inhibitors make one feel younger when they allow more neurotransmitters to remain in the bloodstream. A primary phenomenon that differentiates children from adults is the level of neurotransmitters in the blood and bodies of children. In general, as one lives longer and longer the level of neurotransmitters decreases. This leads to less creativity, less joy, more physical rigidity - and more rapid aging!

Cocoa, with its supply of MAO inhibitors, helps keep plenty of neurotransmitters in circulation, and thus helps prevent this unhappy phenomenon from occurring. "Think young - you'll have more fun!"

Now that you have learned how cocoa contains PEA, Anandamide, and MAO Inhibitors, and learned about the happy effects these chemicals can produce, can you see how real chocolate might deserve to be called "the happiest food"?

Chocolate Myths

"Chocolate is a divine, celestial drink, the sweat of the stars, the vital seed, divine nectar, the drink of the gods, panacea and universal medicine."
- Geronimo Piperni

Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac

The peoples of Central American in the pre-Columbian era often spoke in metaphors composed of words or phrases which had a hidden meaning when uttered in sequence. This is common in many languages, including English. One of these ancient metaphors was yollotl, eztli, meaning "heart, blood," - a phrase which referred to cocoa. Chocolate is the heart's "blood" due to its magnesium, antioxidants, love chemicals and esoteric properties. Chocolate truly is "food for the heart".

Chocolate is a symbol of sensuality, pleasure, and sexuality. Some writers have claimed that 50 per cent of women actually prefer chocolate to sex! That percentage might even rise if the women were offerred real chocolate in the form of organic cocoa!

Chocolate is a favorite gift from a lover to the beloved one. Chocolates are always given as love offerings. A box of chocolates is one of the most popular gifts for Valentine's Day.

Cocoa, because it is natural and unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy than manufactured chocolate candy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange five cacao beans with each other.

Chocolate Misconceptions and Misinformation

Is White Chocolate a Healthy Chocolate?

White chocolate is not really a "chocolate". It is actually made from "cocoa butter", which is produced from the fat extracted from the bean. The health benefits of dark chocolate made from cocoa beans are NOT provided by white chocolate, and the antioxidants provided by dark chocolate are not able to be absorbed when dairy products are added to make milk chocolate. Thus you can only say that raw cocoa beans or dark chocolate with NO milk or dairy ingredients are the kind of healthy chocolate that is actually good for you. White chocolate and milk chocolate do not qualify as "healthy chocolate".

Does Chocolate Contain Caffeine? Not Much.

Chocolate is actually a poor source of caffeine. A 50 gram piece of dark chocolate (the size of an average chocolate bar) will yield between 10 and 60 milligrams of caffeine; while an average 5-ounce cup of coffee can yield up to 175 milligrams of caffeine. Basically, dark chocolate contains about as much caffeine as a cup of DE-caffeinated coffee. A cup of hot chocolate contains only about 5 percent as much caffeine as a cup of perked coffee.

The outer shell surrounding each set of two cacao beans contains most of the caffeine. It is usually ground up with the two beans inside to increase the yield and lower the cost of the cocoa mass. By removing this shell membrane before processing the cocoa beans, a higher quality cocoa can be produced which is essentially caffeine-free.

Does Chocolate Cause Migraine Headaches? No.

Migraines have long been associated with chocolate consumption, particularly among women. One study of 490 persons with migraines found that 19 percent reported that chocolate precipitated their headaches. But other research has demonstrated no relationship between chocolate and headaches. Moffet, Swash and Scott studied a group of 25 migraine sufferers, giving them a chocolate sample one week and then a placebo (carob, which tastes like chocolate) two weeks later. The test subjects completed questionnaires regarding their reactions within 48 hours of consumption of the chocolate or carob sample. The subjects could not tell if they were eating chocolate or carob. There was no difference in headache occurrence after either sample. In a second study, the researchers repeated the same procedure with 15 of the 25 subjects and again found no difference in reported headaches after consuming either sample.

Thus, as many reported headaches after eating chocolate as after NOT eating chocolate. You can draw your own conclusions.

Does Chocolate Cause Acne? No.

Your mother probably warned you that you could get a case of acne if you eat too much chocolate, but research by the U.S. Naval Academy concluded that there is no evidence that chocolate (or cocoa) causes or exacerbates (i.e. increases) acne. It is much more likely that the refined sugar added to chocolate candy is what increases the incidence of acne. (A yeast such as Candida feeds on sugars, and can be the cause of acne, eczema, and other skin infections. See Yeast Infections.)

Does Chocolate Cause Allergies? Not Likely.

A recent study showed that only 1 out of 500 people who believed they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive for an allergy to chocolate. The concept that chocolate is a common allergen has existed for a long time, but recent evidence suggests that allergy to real chocolate (cocoa) is actually quite rare. More often the person is in fact allergic to the milk and dairy products contained in many kinds of chocolate candy, such as "milk chocolate".

Healthy Chocolate

Natural dark chocolate truly is a "health food" - especially in its raw form as natural organic cocoa beans, or as dark chocolate made WITHOUT dairy products or refined sugar.

The problems so often associated with chocolate and the many chocolate candy products are not caused by the real cocoa in the chocolate, but by substances added to it - the refined sugar, dairy products, milk, bad fats, waxes, and chemical preservatives. With all the chocolate flavored-products available today, you could even buy some that contain little or even no true Theobroma Cacao.

And even when you find some apparently healthy chocolate that contains 70 percent or more real cacao the heat processing and/or the Dutch process (using alkalis) will have destroyed most of the flavanols which provide most of the health benefits.

The Healthiest Chocolate

The very best healthy, high-quality, dairy-free, organic chocolate made from the fruit of the Theobroma Cacao tree is Xocai™ chocolate from MXI Corp. headquartered in Reno, Nevada, USA (and with distribution centers in countries throughout the world, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines).

Xocai™ (pronounced like "SHOW-sigh") healthy chocolate products are produced with unprocessed, non-alkalized, non-lecithinized cacao powder, combined with acai ("ah-SIGH-hee") berries, blueberries, and low-glycemic natural sweeteners. Raw cacao has the greatest concentration of antioxidants, and acai berries the second greatest, among all of the natural foods.

Xocai is the world's ONLY source of chocolate made from cold-pressed raw cocoa that has NOT been heat-treated OR treated with alkaline chemicals (which destroy much of the antioxidant flavanols). Their Belgian gourmet chocolate is made by a much healthier patented process that no other chocolate manufacturer is able to duplicate.

For example, the Xoçai™ dark chocolate "X Power Squares" use raw cacao that is blanched, unfermented, sun-dried, non-roasted and cold-pressed - which means it contains eight times the levels of epicatechins and catechins, and four times the levels of procyandins than cacao produced with standard processing.

Just ONE 6-gram square of this Xoçai™ chocolate has an ORAC value of 3,582. That's more than the minimum U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) of 3,000 ORAC from fruits and vegetables.

Yet few North Americans ever eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables to obtain even the recommended minimum daily amount of antioxidants because they eat far too many processed foods.

The daily diet of the average North American only scores 1,000 to 1,500 on the ORAC scale. Eating that one little 6-gram Xoçai™ dark chocolate wafer provides more than twice the amount of antioxidants the average North American is getting per day.

Better yet, this healthy chocolate is caffeine-free and is low in fat and sugar!

Even diabetics can eat this amazingly delicious tasting gourmet chocolate.

And people have actually achieved some serious rapid weight loss by eating the Xocai chocolate 20 minutes before a meal! (It naturally reduces appetite, so you don't eat more food than you really need.))

The patented Xoçai™ chocolate products are likely the healthiest brand of chocolate you can buy.

And it's the only chocolate brand which can truly provide so many natural antioxidants in the form of flavanols and catechins that the certified ORAC score per serving is actually SHOWN on the packaging. Other dark chocolate manufacturers won't disclose the actual ORAC score of their chocolate products - and we wonder why. But MXI Corp. has truly earned their "bragging rights" and proudly displays the ORAC score of all its healthy chocolate products right on the label.

MXI Corp. sends samples of its Xoçai™ chocolate products to a well-known and highly-respected independent testing facility in the USA, Brunswick Laboratories, to measure their actual ORAC value, which is then printed on the label of each organic chocolate product. To date, no other chocolate maker has been willing to publicly disclose the independently-measured ORAC score of its chocolates.

The various Xoçai™ chocolate products with unprocessed cocoa include:

the dark chocolate X Power Squares™ (6 grams, ORAC 3,582);
the dark chocolate Nuggets (12 grams, 70 Calories, ORAC 3,120), individually wrapped in gold foil;
the Omega Bars™ (34 grams, 190 Calories, with 200 mg. Omega 3 Fatty Acids, ORAC 8,840);
the Xoçai™ Protein Bar "Ultimate Antioxidant Bar" (38 grams, 150 Calories, 10 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, ORAC 4,066);
the Activ™ high-antioxidant pure chocolate beverage (10 oz. bottle, fat-free, 30 calories per 1 fl.oz. serving, ORAC 4,275 per fl.oz.).
Buyer, be warned... once you have tasted TRUE chocolate like this, all others will seem like poor imitations!

See and Buy the Xocai Organic Chocolate products from MXI Corp.

Losing weight while consuming chocolate... imagine that! So go indulge yourself! This guilt-free healthy chocolate is good for you! More details at [ OLD LINK REMOVED ]

Antioxidants in Chocolate. wineserver.ucdavis.edu/chocolate/choc1.htm

Lee, KW, Kim, YJ, Lee, HJ, and Lee, CY. Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2003;51:7292–7295.

Keen Carl L. Chocolate: Food as Medicine/Medicine as Food. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2001;20:436–439S.

Serum Cholesterol. World Cocoa Foundation

The Good News About Chocolate. World Cocoa Foundation

Healthy Chocolate is ©2006 by Michael Star and others. E&OE.

The content of this page is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not review or test products classed as a "food supplement". The following statement is required by the U.S. FDA:
"This product line has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product line is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease."



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Specific Issues

  • Arthritis
  • Eye Health
  • Future of Food
  • What's Your Antioxidant Score?
  • Is Dark Chocolate Healthy?
  • The Truth About Chocolate


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Links to Wellness Info.

  • OrganicFoodee.com
    Great site for lovers of organic food and to find out about it's benefits
  • Celia Brooks Brown.
    Leading vegetarian food cook and writer, Celia also writes the new Urban Food Guide for the Times.
  • High Blood Pressure articles
    High blood pressure. Find out more here.
  • Fussels Rapeseed Oil
    50% saturated fats of olive oil. Up to 10 x higher in Omega 3 and 3 times the levels of Omega 6 than olive oil.
  • Somerset Organic
    Somerset is a good food county. Find out why here.
  • GRANDER Technology| Water revitalization treatment
    This is not just any water. Prepare to be amazed - I was.
  • NewsTarget.com Independent news on natural health, medicine, nutrition and more
    Really useful insights to provide a balanced view of health issues
  • Able & Cole Guide To Organic Food
    One of the most well informed sites on organic food.
  • Wheat & Dairy Free for Health
    Great site full of information and recipes

Pharmanex Science

  • Antioxidant Patented Technology
    the Biophotonic Scanner is cutting edge technology
  • Antioxidant Scanner Breakthrough
    Background to the Biophotonic Scanner, the world's first laser scanner to measure antioxidants at cellular level non-invasively.
  • Biophotonic Scanner Resources
    background information to the science behind the scanner
  • Biophotonic Scanner Video
    online video of the science behind the biophotonic scanner
  • Pharmanews Archive
    Clinical research papers
  • Pharmanex Background
    Company background
  • Pharmanex Scientists
    Scientific research at the centre of product development
  • Pharmanex Studies and Scientific References
    discover the Pharmanex difference
  • Research and Laboratories
    Pharmanex Research background
  • What Goes Into Supplements?
    Clinical Research into Nutritional Supplements

Healthy Reading


    Celia Brooks Brown: World Vegetarian Classics: Over 220 Essential International Recipes for the Modern Kitchen


    Robert Young: The PH Miracle
    Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health. Understand the need to alkalise the body.


    Charles Quest-Ritson: Olive Oil (Eyewitness Companion Guides)
    Get the facts behind the hype on buying Olive Oil


    Judy Ridgway: The Olive Oil Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide (Companion)


    Dr Joseph Mercola: Sweet Deception
    Why Splenda, Nutrasweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health


    Celia Brooks Brown & Adam Caplin: New Kitchen Garden: Organic Gardening with Herbs, Vegetables and Fruit


    Jason Vale: Slim 4 Life
    The relationship we have with food and the trap in our minds we need to break free of. (*****)


    Kevin Trudeau: Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know about
    At last someone prepared to expose the corruption in the food and drug industry. Supermarkets should worry. (*****)

Healthy Products

  • Natural Weight Management

News Items

  • YouTube - Gaza's Reality
  • Israel: winning the war, losing your friends (graphic content may be upsetting) - Ecademy
  • Seth Godin On How To Build And Lead Your Tribe.
  • Israel's Use of Illegal Weapons in Gaza
  • Apple's Steve Jobs not in a good way
  • American Empire Spending Its Way to Oblivion
  • Ageloc Medical Breathrough
  • Biophotonic Scanner
  • Growing Younger
  • Ethocyn Elastin restoration
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