ARYA Journal 2005, 1(1): 29-35, Roya Kelishadi MD

Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans - the fruit of the cacao tree or Theobroma cacao (the latin term: food of the gods). Recent published articles demonstrate that the quality and quantity of the antioxidants in cocoa and chocolate are very high and their flavonoids are believed to reduce the number of free radicals in the body that contribute to medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer and also to offer some anti-aging health benefits. Cocoa can lower the leukotriene/ prostacyclin ratio and is shown to have beneficial effects on platelets and possibly inflammation and vessel dilation. They inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, raise the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level and reduce the thrombotic tendency. Their antioxidant catechin content is four times that of tea. They help the body process nitric oxide. Their flavanols and procyanidins have inhibitory effects on hemolysis, they can also attribute as a defense against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and can inhibit their carcinogenic processes. Also they are shown to inhibit growth and polyamine biosynthesis of human colonic cancer cells. They contain tryptophan and anandamide, which lessen anxiety, promote relaxation and trigger the production of endorphins. Cocoa can prevent dental caries and may play a regulating role in the function of the immune system and prevent infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Cacao, Cocoa, Chocolate, Antioxidants, Flavanols, Caffeine

Cacao Increases Longevity

At five-year intervals over a 15-year period, 470 men aged over 65 were questioned about their dietary intake of cocoa and received physical examinations. The men were placed in three groups according to their level of cocoa consumption and data about their health was collected. During the study, 314 men died, 152 due to cardiovascular disease.

“The men in the group that consumed the least cocoa were twice as likely to die from a heart attack than those in the group that consumed the most cocoa—at least 4g per day—and the risk remained lower even when other factors such as smoking, physical exercise, and weight were taken into account,” said lead researcher Brian Buijsse, at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. He added: “And men in the study who consumed the most cocoa were less likely to die of any cause.”

The high-cocoa men also had significantly lower blood pressure than the other groups—but Buijsse said that the link between low blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease cannot be made from his results. Instead, he says that cocoa-containing antioxidant chemicals, called flavonols, may be the cause.

Source: “Eating Chocolate May Halve Risk of Dying.” Archives of Internal Medicine 166: 411, as cited by NewScientist.com news service 21:00 27 February 2006, Gaia Vince http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/dn8780.html

Category: Mental, Emotional & Spiritual Effects
Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2010 10:07:00 PM
Views: 6332
Synopsis: Discover Theobroma Cacao / Chocolate's effects on extending lifespan and improving quality of life.