I love the American Chemical Society also known as ACS to real cool people like me.
They have released a report that shows that chocolate contains many chemicals that are good for you. In fact reading the report made me want to go out and stock up on chocolate. Oh wait; I do that every Saturday anyway.
But the ACS notes that there are over 300 chemicals in chocolate. The most famous is caffeine. But actually chocolate contains another stimulus called theobromine. The ACS notes and this is why they are the American Chemical Society, that the caffeine molecule and the theobromine chemical are exactly the same except for one methyl group (CH3).
I filed that under “Who cares” and moved on in my research to convince myself that chocolate was the most ignored health food of all time.
Chocolate also contains anandamide, which is a cool chemical because “it is also produced by the brain and blocks out pain and depression”. In fact the IRS might start passing out chocolate when you are doing your income taxes, one of the most painful and depressing things we all go through every year.
But wait – there are other cool chemicals in chocolate including phenylethylamine (PEA). This chemical is also produced by the brain but has serious side effects. PEA mimics the brain chemistry of a person in love. Which can lead to OH SO MANY THINGS -kids, marriage, mini-vans, divorces…. However PEA is also a natural brain chemical which stimulates the parts of the brain that keep you alert. So if you are alert, why would you fall in love? Ah the mysteries of life.
But the real good news is that chocolate can help prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer. This is very serious and very good news and I better let the experts explain how this works, and I can take a chocolate break while they are explaining.
The ACS report states, ´ Recent studies have explored chemicals in chocolate called polyphones, which belong to a larger group of chemicals called antioxidants. These chemicals protect cells against damage from free radicals-atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons inside cells, free radicals damage DNA and have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and cancer. Antioxidants prevent this damage from happening by blocking the action of free radicals and may therefore reduce the risk of being affected by these diseases. Antioxidants work by slowing or preventing a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can produce free radicals. Antioxidants terminate this reaction by preventing free radicals from being formed.”
See , aren’t you glad I let the experts explain that. I could have tried, but I was lost at ” ions with unpaired electrons.” If the electrons are unpaired, why don’t they get out more, meet other electrons and get married? Are there no bars for “unpaired electrons” to meet other electrons?
Also if you are a hamster, stop running on that stupid wheel, and read this. If you can’t read, have your owner read this important information to you.
“Also, the scientists discovered that in hamsters, cocoa powder at a dose equivalent to two dark chocolate bars per day significantly inhibited atherosclerosis, a type of heart disease in which fat clogs up arteries, and raised the levels of good cholesterol. “
Kinda makes you glad to be a hamster, doesn’t it.?
I am getting bored so let’s wrap this up. The point is that chocolate is really a hidden health food. The study also showed that :
• People who consumed a flavanol-rich cocoa beverage had increased blood flow in their brains. This result suggests that cocoa flavanols could be used to prevent vascular impairments in the brain resulting from, say, a stroke.
• The consumption of a flavanol-rich cocoa beverage also increases the amount of nitric oxide in the blood vessels, allowing them to dilate and stay pliable. This result suggests that cocoa flavanols could also be used to improve heart health.
• Chocolate husks contain chemicals that prevent tooth decay
Well there you are – eating chocolate can be good for you. We will just ignore the part of the report that says, “So here’s the bad news: Cocoa butter is essentially all fat. There are three major kinds: a “bad-for-you” saturated fat called palmitic acid; oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat;and stearic acid, part of which later converts
to oleic acid in the liver. Overall, one-third of chocolate’s fat is known to be unhealthy. All three kinds of fats produce high amounts of calories in the body, although they do not cause an increase in blood cholesterol when consumed in chocolate.”
And to cheer you up, after passing on that depressing news, let’s end with a note of optimism. The report states “Here’s the good news: Chocolate straight from the tree has more beneficial chemicals than possibly any other food, including blueberries, red wine, or green tea. They are not only antioxidant, but anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancerous, and anti-viral. So why is chocolate often rated junk? It’s all in the processing. Processing determines whether chocolate is a healthy food or a high-calorie indulgence.”
Hmm – all I can say is pass the chocolate. Thanks!