Keoni Teta ND, LAc. & Jillian Sarno Teta ND
Theobroma cacoa, the scientific title of the plant where raw cocoa is made and also the major ingredient in chocolate, actually means “food of the gods.” It is a famous plant using a lengthy and rich history; some symbol of love that cuts across civilizations; a power food packaged with antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, and also the building blocks of hormones and other “feel good” hormones; and a medicine backed by modern research with far-reaching implications for treating cardiovascular disease, higher blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and other chronic degenerative disorders. Some experts are even saying the properties of cocoa may benefit health equivalent to or more than antibiotics and anesthesia. The beautiful thing is the uncooked organic cocoa is readily available in most health food shops.
Theobroma cacoa is indigenous to South and Central America. Documentation cites cocoa and its goods a treatment for everything from hemorrhoids, indigestion, emaciation, and fatigue to respiratory disorders, cancer, depression, and cardiovascular problems. The early inhabitants of Central America considered this plant would impart immortality. Well, this amazing plant won’t impart immortality to the customer, however cocoa would be the one, if a food was ever to accomplish this. Throughout history, the cocoa plant was used as money, food, and medicine. In fact the cocoa bean is employed in some regions of South America as a kind of money. The Aztecs revered theobroma cacoa due to its central part. They even believed that the plant to possess sources. Because of this view, the use of cocoa was generally reserved for warriors, royalty, along with other high society people. Cocoa was first being introduced into Europe, though the Americas was being explored by the Spanish in the 1500s. Cocoa quickly spread into the masses through Europe although consumed from the European elite. Cocoa recognizable item, Chocolate, has its roots.
So what about chocolate? Can we consider it a health food? It is crucial to realize that many research has been conducted on not chocolate and cocoa powder. With that there is some indication that chocolate can be a healthy addition to the diet, however, the real magic occurs with uncooked organic cocoa powder. Since the milk and sugar portion increases in chocolate, as the wellness benefits of the chocolate reduces. The greatest health benefits derive from cocoa rather than a version of it along with consequently raw organic cocoa is superior milk chocolate to dark chocolate that’s better than milk chocolate. Dutch cocoa that is alkalinized or processed helps to decrease the acidity of cocoa, but also destroys some of its power. Contains herbicide and pesticide residues.
There is also controversy surrounding the quantity of lead contained in certain cocoa solutions. Lead is a heavy metal which can cause damage when ingested in almost any amount. The evidence appears to point into the process of cocoa as the source of lead. An October 2005 study from Environmental Health Perspectives shows that the cocoa bean itself has contribute; in actuality, it has among the lowest levels of lead of almost any food. Quantities found leading one to complete the method is the offender although there are amounts of lead found in legumes. Unfortunately, no one is certain where of the lead is coming from. To be secure and encourage maximal health benefits and also to stop possible lead exposure, select raw organic cocoa. For analyzing heavy metals within their 20, you can also call your chocolate company and ask.
Constituents in Cocoa
What’s it about raw cocoa powder which makes it such a potent medicinal food? For starters, is that it’s packed full of phytonutrients. Antioxidants help to quell the fire of free radicals that our bodies generate and are exposed to every day. One way to gauge the capacity of a food is by its ORAC value. ORAC is the acronym for “Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity” and is a measure of their possible antioxidant ability of a food. In a food, the higher the ORAC value, the greater the concentration of antioxidants present in theory. Organic raw cocoa has the highest ORAC value of almost any food. The US Department of Agriculture/Journal of the American Chemical Society has published data on high ORAC value foods per 100 grams compared to raw raw cocoa (28,000): dark chocolate (13,210), prunes (5,770), blueberries (2,400), kale (1,770), and broccoli (890). According to the USDA, the average American has 1200 ORAC value/day within their diet. They go on to say that Americans should strive to get between 3000-5000 ORAC value/day. One tablespoon has an ORAC value of 1400, which gives you half of what you want.
The phytonutrients that give cocoa powder its high antioxidant value are a group of compounds called polyphenols or flavonoids. Cocoa contains more flavonoids than any food. Two flavonoids in catechin, particular and epicatchin, are present in amounts in cocoa powder and have copious amounts of research. Both of these flavonoids along with hundreds of other famous phytochemicals in cocoa appear to stop and even treat some of the most devastating disorders of today. Interestingly, this abundance of flavonoids in sodium is apparently absorbed intact into the human blood flow (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nov 2002) which allow them to apply their medicinal power physically.
Most Americans are deficient in the minerals copper and magnesium, both of which are observed in cocoa. Cocoa comprises about 0.8 mg of aluminum per 100 gram and is therefore a excellent food source of aluminum. Copper aiding in cellular energy production and also has many uses within the entire body. Cocoa also has the maximum quantity of magnesium of any known food source, approximately 131 mg per 100 gram of cocoa. This vitamin, which plays a role in the health giving properties of cocoa, is needed by over 300 billion enzymes within the human body and is critical for protein synthesis, optimal blood pressure, and cardiovascular wellness.
Cocoa and chocolate have the reputation of earning people euphoric and happy. This is most likely why chocolate is the present of decision on Valentine’s Day. There is an extensive selection of compounds in cocoa which cause chills, such as phenyethlamine (PEA), serotonin, tyramine, and anandamide. Among the most well-known is phenyethlamine (PEA) which enables the body release its own opium-like compounds, called the endorphins, and also boosts levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Endorphins and dopamine provides you a feeling of well-being and can act as an anti-depressant. Dopamine and PEA flooding the brain when we fall in love or have a climax. The other “feel-good” substances in sodium are dopamine and tyramine. Most people are deficient in the neurotransmitter serotonin and this is the reason why Americans are prescribed. Tyramine helps decrease balance and anxiety mood, but can also cause migraines in people. Another element found in cocoa which changes the psychological condition in a gratifying manner is anandamide, whose title is derived from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “bliss”. This chemical binds to the identical receptor sites in the mind as THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It is no wonder that cocoa has the reputation of being a stimulant, aphrodisiac and also a diuretic.
Health Effects of Cocoa
As physicians, we have such a excellent appreciation for the properties of uncooked cocoa. Where people diseases do not exist, if we would like to heal disease one thing we all learned in school is, we can learn from people around the world. The Kuna people of San Blas, off the coast of Panama, are turning out to be fantastic teachers for the rest of the world Because of the ongoing function of Norman K. Hollenberg and coworkers from Harvard Medical School. He found that the potential for cardiovascular disease are almost nonexistent in such people. Included in living by their traditional ways, they drink an average of 5 cups of sodium per day, which makes them both the holders of an rich dietplan.
There’s been much modern research conducted on this ancient plant with positive results. Most importantly, the effects of ingesting organic cocoa have been illustrated for various parameters of cardiovascular disease including diabetes and high blood pressure. There is also sound research stating that cocoa help oxygenate the mind, can be used adjunctively to treat cancer, has stimulating effects also encourages detoxification of compounds within the human body.
During randomized controlled trials, numerous researchers, including Fisher et al. from the Journal of Hypertension and Taubert et al. in JAMA have demonstrated that habitual cocoa intake lowers blood pressure via its high arginine content along with the nitric oxide pathway. Lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Protective mechanisms cocoa can offer against cardiovascular disease stem from its antioxidant profile. The flavonoids in cocoa increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol along with both lower and safeguard LDL or “bad” cholesterol from being oxidized (damaged by free radicals) from the bloodstream, which helps combat against plaque formation based on Baba et al. from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007. Flammer et al. in Circulation 2007 revealed that cocoa reduces platelet aggregation or in different words thins the blood. Platelets are. If taken 10, Cocoa acts as a natural blood thinner.
Among the very deadly complications in diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes) is cardiovascular disease. Cocoa protects us from these complications and also helps to promote insulin sensitivity based on Grassi et al. from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005.
Cancer is becoming the number one killer of Americans. Reproductive and colon cancers such as prostate and breast cancer are now among the most frequent forms of cancers. Elements of cocoa, especially the polyphenols have shown to stop proliferation of breast, colon and prostate cancer cells while sparing normal cells by researchers at Georgetown University’s Department of Oncology along with others including Bisson et al.. Journal of Medicinal Food 2007 and Western Journal of Cancer Prevention 2008 along with Carnesecchi et al. in Cancer Letters 2002.
Research is also revealing cocoa powder to help detoxification, cognition, and function. Cocoa can both help immune function and also upregulate particular immune cells. It appears to boost brain oxygenation which has implications for disorders like dementia. And finally, raw organic cocoa powder using its high fiber content was shown to ease the excretion and detoxification of environmental contaminants in the body.
There is some confusion concerning the source of alcoholic and cocoa. Cocaine is derived from the plant Erythroxylon coca that’s another plant than the one cocoa and chocolate come out of. Very good quality chocolate is also not likely to cause weight reduction due to its sugar content. Data appears to suggest that uncooked cocoa powder assists loss. There is also the myth of chocolate or sodium . Raw cocoa powder comprises cocoa butter, and although cocoa butter contains fat stearic acid, and this fat comes with a neutral effect on blood lipids. What about the myth of cocoa/chocolate being addictive? Compared with coffee, cocoa has caffeine content that is very low and does not impart withdrawal symptoms. Cheap sources of cocoa/chocolate will have a tendency to have high caffeine content due to the some which contains greater amounts of caffeine. Nonetheless, the caffeine content tends to be lower than coffee. No withdrawal symptoms are demonstrated with chocolate or cocoa, although there’s some debate concerning the addictive quality of cocoa because of the sweet such as compounds it includes. Some people may say chocolate causes acne, but this does not be substantiated by the research. As a result of the work of Loren Cordain PhD at the University of Colorado and the author of The Paleodiet, we can now say acne is caused by the western dietplan. Dr. Cordain and his intervention research on teen modern-day hunter-gathers sets the debate of what causes acne to rest. For more information on Loren Cordain’s work visit .
It is not difficult to see that cocoa and a function that is multi-factorial not merely play in protecting individuals but also goes a long way to making us feel good by its mood and nutritive properties. It is certainly immortalized in human history, although perhaps it doesn’t impart immortality yet. How wise the peoples were to comprehend that the far reaching and powerful implications of this amazing plant. Contemporary research is starting to show what the ancients knew: raw cocoa is a gift from the gods.
Quick Healthy Organic Cocoa Beverage:
1 heaping tbsp grated raw organic cocoa powder mixed in hot water
Pinch of cayenne pepper and/or pinch of cinnamon and/or pinch of stevia or pure xylitol/erythritol
USE CHOCOLATE TO STOP CRAVINGS.
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