Is your dark chocolate healthy? As most of you already know, I have spent a lot of time researching the health benefits of chocolate that has been fueled by my body healing. There is an abundance of information on chocolate, however, every article I have read all point to flavanols found in chocolate that make it healthy. There have been a lot studies using unprocessed cocoa, placebo’s and commercialized processed chocolate and each article sheds light on the health benefits of chocolate. A large majority of these articles conclude there are significant improvements on the human body but are also stating that commercialized chocolate is higher in sugar content. Science has shown that a cacao that is at least 70% or higher does provides benefits to the human body highlighting the ‘flavanols’ as the primary source.
The chocolate industry is a billion dollar booming business and one that has survived recessions and the Great Depression. There are many holiday’s that allow people to ‘give’ or to ‘celebrate’ with chocolate by giving it as a gift for Easter, Valentines Day and other holidays. Now for the truth: The media has taken one of our favorite confections and glorified it misleading many by sending messages that ‘all dark chocolate’ is healthy and that is just not true at all. The ‘wrong’ message has permeated to what Nutritionists and Doctors tell their clients or patients.
One of the top leaders in the study of chocolate and it’s health benefits is Dr. Norm Hollenberg who spent time studying the Kuna Indians off the coast of Panama was quite intrigued with their overall health and absence of disease that we hear about all the time in the news. When he began to report on his findings many became excited but most took his information out of context and labeled all dark chocolate as having health benefits. He has now clarified for the world what makes dark chocolate healthy. Will the media absorb this information in time for their next report on ‘dark chocolate is healthy?
Dr. Norman Hollenberg and Dr. Naomi D. L. Fisher recently wrote, “The use of the word “dark” in dark chocolate, prominent in the title of this article, the article it accompanies, and on chocolate bar wrappers in high-end groceries around the world is symptomatic of this interest in identifying a simple, reliable, and inexpensive assay for what is good in chocolate. What makes it healthy? As is stated clearly in the report by Flammer et al in this issue of Circulation, we have probably identified the major chemical mediators: the subclass of flavonoids called flavanols, including especially the monomers epicatechin and catechin, and possibly procyanidins and metabolites. All cocoa is created flavanol-rich. It is primarily the processing of natural cocoa solids into cocoa powder or into confectionary chocolate that determines whether a final product is flavanol-rich or -poor. Because flavanols are bitter, manufacturers have often treated natural cocoa with processing techniques that necessarily destroy the flavanols as they enrich flavor and improve consistency.” They also stated, “The use of the term “dark chocolate” is misleading: There is nothing about the color of the chocolate that will tell you the flavanol content. One of the key places in the manufacturing chain where significant loss of flavanols occurs, after fermentation, is an alkalization step called dutching. The Dutchman van Houten discovered 200 years ago that adding alkali-potash to cocoa nibs would enhance the taste, texture, and appearance of the cocoa. Dutched cocoa has the bitterness eliminated, together with most of the active flavanols. One relatively underreported effect of alkalization is, in fact, darkening of cocoa, so that a very dark chocolate might be essentially devoid of flavanols.”
Science has also requested that food industry begin labeling the flavanol content in their chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, products. Will the media pick up on this information and share this important news? I certainly hope so. GourmetHealthyChocolates.com has the type of chocolate that Dr. Norm discusses and it is the same type of chocolate that was used thousands of years ago by the Maya, Aztec and is still used in many countries as medicine or a daily beverage. Raw organic chocolate is a natural medicine. Discover it. Embrace it. You will feel better. Is your dark chocolate healthy?