Johns Hopkins researchers performed a study using mice and a natural occurring ingredient found in dark chocolate ‘epicatechin’. The scientists fed some of the mice a single dose of epicatechin and the other mice did not receive any. They then induced stroke and found that those mice who had received epicatechin suffered less brain damage than those who received none at all. They also tested and found that when stroke induced mice received epicatechin 2-3 hours after did have a positive effect on protecting the brain from injury. Those who received the compound 6 hours later showed no benefits at all.
This study gives hope to human stroke victims and preventing brain damage because it shows that epicatechin shields nerve cells. This research also shows promise to possibly protect against neurological degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and other age related disorders.
They warn, however, that the amount of chocolate that a human should consume is not known. Dr. Norm Hollenberg (Harvard Medicine) has studied the Kuna living on a remote island off Pananama showing that they have very little disease. The researchers from Johns Hopkins are also interested in these findings stating that it may be related to what their main beverage is, unprocessed cacao.
In their article they also noted, “The epicatechin found in dark chocolate is extremely sensitive to changes in heat and light” he says. “In the process of making chocolate, you have to make sure you don’t destroy it. Today there are only a few chocolates that have maintained these active ingredients. The media has been misleading the world for a very long time by labeling ‘dark chocolate’ as healthy and that is simply not true. In order for you to reap the benefits of dark chocolate that may protect brain injusry from stroke you need to select a chocolate that has not been heated or processed like raw organic chocolate.
Source: Johns Hopkins