Health Benefits Cacao – Cacao is the dried partly fermented fatty seed of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao of the family Sterculiaceae) used in making cocoa, chocolate and cocoa butter—called also cacao bean, cocoa bean.
ORAC is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods.
ORAC – HDL – LDL Cholesterol
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The biological relevance of this metric is questionable. Because it’s done in a test tube it may not have the same effect in OUR body. HDL stands for High Density Lipids. LDL stands for Low Density Lipids
In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period. Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect.
Yet another study showed that chocolate 5+ times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%
Health Benefits Cacao
These studies are observational studies. Provided is a biological mechanism – lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL. So it is plausible that regular consumption of dark chocolate can in fact reduce the risk of heart disease.
Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk for the people who consume the most chocolate
In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men.
It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol
Oxidised LDL means that the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals
It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidized LDL.
It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants. These make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage.
Cacao Health Benefits Cacao and The Body Youth Code
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO). This gas sends signals to the arteries to relax. This lowers resistance to blood flow and reduces blood pressure.
Many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. The effects are usually mild. However, one study in people with elevated blood pressure hows no effect, so may be not actually medicinal.
Our skin is an important barrier from external stressors such as environmental toxins and sun-induced DNA damage. Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage. [tweetthis]Studies show flavanols from cocoa improve blood flow & prevent sun-induced skin damage[/tweetthis]
Chocolate Health Benefits – Nutrition for Healthy Skin
Bioactive compounds in dark chocolate can account for our youthful skin complexion. At Susannah Makram Clinics we’re interested in bringing out the best in our body – and our skin is the largest organ! Flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage. They improve blood flow to skin, increasing skin density and skin hydration. Minimal erythemal dose (MED) – this is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin, 24 hours after exposure. In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks
Chocolate Health Benefits – Consider This COCOA
Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease.
Cocoa also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine. These might be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term
Nutrition is a science and your body is as unique as your DNA