Health Benefits of Cocoa Wipe Out Killer Diseases
Eating cocoa has the potential to prevent killer diseases.
It is believed that an antioxidant compound in unrefined cocoa, has health benefits that could even rival those of penicillin and anaesthesia.
Norman Hollenberg a professor at Harvard Medical School, has spent many years studying the Kuna people in Panama.
He discovered that the four biggest and most common killers..cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, affected fewer than one in ten of the Kuna.
The key to these health benefit claims are due to the high levels of epicatechin found in unrefined cocoa.
Hollenberg claims epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin.
Because there is a link between high epicatechin consumption and a decreased risk of killer diseases, is it fair to conclude that these common diseases could simply be down to epicatechin deficiency?
Epicatechin, a flavanol or antioxidant, is also found in tea, wine, chocolate and some fruits and vegetables.
Flavanols are inclined to have a bitter taste, and for that reason are removed from commercial cocoas.
Cocoa that does retain its flavanols, used to make dark, bitter chocolate, is believed to improve blood supply to the brain and could even boost short-term memory.
Research in Nottingham, UK has showed that consuming flavanol-rich cocoa, boosted blood flow for up to 2 or 3 hours.
It is now being researched further for enhancing brain function for mature adults, or other people who could be cognitively impaired by way of fatigue or sleep deprivation.
Here are some interesting cocoa facts...
The Olmec Indians (around 1500 BC) were the first people believed to have grown cocoa beans.
Several hundred flavor compounds are contained in cocoa beans.
Britons consume 10 kg (22lb) of chocolate each year..and i bet that's not the dark stuff!
The very first chocolate bar was created by an Englishman called Joseph Fry, back in 1847.
Britons spent £4.3bn on chocolate in 2009. Recession or not, people will still eat chocolate!
The Aztec civilisation used cocoa beans to make a very bitter, frothy drink. Nothink like today's modern sweet-tasting chocolate!