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~Chocolate as medicine!~ May 26, 2006 7:50 PM

This is so rich...pun intended

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Chocolate lovers rejoice. A new study hints that eating milk chocolate may boost brain function.

Chocolate contains many substances that act as stimulants, such as theobromine, phenethylamine, and caffeine," Dr. Bryan Raudenbush from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia noted in comments to Reuters Health.

"These substances by themselves have previously been found to increase alertness and attention and what we have found is that by consuming chocolate you can get the stimulating effects, which then lead to increased mental performance."

To study the effects of various chocolate types on brain power, Raudenbush and colleagues had a group of volunteers consume, on four separate occasions, 85 grams of milk chocolate; 85 grams of dark chocolate; 85 grams of carob; and nothing (the control condition).

After a 15-minute digestive period, participants completed a variety of computer-based neuropsychological tests designed to assess cognitive performance including memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem solving.

"Composite scores for verbal and visual memory were significantly higher for milk chocolate than the other conditions," Raudenbush told Reuters Health. And consumption of milk and dark chocolate was associated with improved impulse control and reaction time.

Previous research has shown that some nutrients in food aid in glucose release and increased blood flow, which may augment cognitive performance. The current findings, said Raudenbush, "provide support for nutrient release via chocolate consumption to enhance cognitive performance."

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 May 28, 2006 8:21 PM

Right On for CHOCOLATE!!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 May 28, 2006 8:22 PM

My favorite  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 May 28, 2006 9:51 PM

I just remembered that Hershey Bar I hid from the kids in the medicine cabinet! Thanks Warren!  [ send green star]
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 June 09, 2006 6:47 PM

Give me chocolate

& nobody gets hurt!!!  8_3_16.gif

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it's acually June 10, 2006 2:39 PM

   It's actually good for you !!!

                 

  Why isn't there a goddess of chocolate?

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 June 19, 2006 4:21 PM

Chocolate is good for you

Diet

Researchers in Italy have found that eating chocolate could have an effect on blood pressure and control diabetes.

It's worrying news that Diabetes cases could double by 2010, but the humble chocolate bar could be an invaliable weapon in the battle.

100g of plain, dark chocolate per day, for 15 days can help lower blood pressure, researchers at Italy's University of L'Aquila. It also had an effect of metabloising sugars, according to the team

The findings, by a group of Italian researchers, reveal that snacking regularly on the equivalent of one medium sized bar a day protects against a condition called insulin resistance.

The team said that the chemical Flavanol was responsible for this, because it neutralised potentially cell damaging substances known as oxygen-free radicals

Insulin is produced by the pancreas and has the job of helping the body's cells absorb glucose from the blood. This helps cells turn glucose into energy for muscles.

But in the very early stages of diabetes, cells become resistant to insulin and stop responding to its mechanisms. Eventually, sufferers may need to inject high doses of insulin to bring their blood sugar level down.

the disease is often linked with being overweight and having poor diet, and although it can usually be controlled through diet, some people do end up needing regular insulin jabs.

With both types of the disease, the risk of serious illness and premature death is increased significantly and it can damage the Eyes, Kidney, Heart, arteries and nerves.

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cont... June 19, 2006 4:25 PM

The cocoa plant, from which chocolate is made is known to be rich in flavanols, but the amounts of flavanols that make it into most types of chocolate are drastically affected by the manufacturing process. A spokeswoman for Diabetes UK said that although dark chocolate may help, it was vital that anyone with the disease retained a balanced diet. "People with diabetes can eat dark chocolate like everyone else, in moderation," said care adviser Amanda Vezey. "But we would still recommend a balanced low-fat, lowsalt and low-sugar diet that includes starchy carbohydrates and plenty of fruit and vegetables."  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Go to a Section:U.S.InternationalBusinessMarketsPoliticsEntertainmentTechnologySportsOddly EnoughGlo June 23, 2006 7:47 AM

By Josiane Kremer and Isabel Strassheim

ZURICH (Reuters) - The ancient Mayan and Aztec people believed that chocolate increased wisdom, energy, vitality, and sexual power, but in the intervening centuries it has been recategorized as an unhealthy indulgence.

Now the world's biggest industrial chocolate maker, Barry Callebaut, is rediscovering the medicinal properties of the cocoa bean and using them to produce "healthy chocolate".

For those who think the only health benefit of chocolate comes from remembering Valentine's Day, Hans Vriens, Barry Callebaut's chief innovation officer, has a few welcome surprises up his sleeve.

"The cocoa bean has more than 600 components; 230 of those have potential health benefits," he said in an interview with Reuters.

These health benefits stem from polyphenols, which are naturally found at a higher level in the cocoa bean than in broccoli or even green tea. These chemical compounds act as antioxidants, which protect cells from damage.

The snag is that traditional chocolate production has usually destroyed most of those compounds.

"If we can preserve some of those components, we actually have functional chocolate, and people can feel a lot less guilty about eating it. They are actually doing something good," Vriens said.

The group's new production process, known as "Acticoa", ensures that a high level of polyphenols are maintained during manufacturing, allowing the Swiss chocolate maker to produce "healthy chocolate" without altering the taste

Clinical tests by several research institutes have shown that polyphenols improve cardio-vascular health and mental function. They also help prevent cancer and counteract the effects of aging.

Nine grams of Acticoa chocolate -- or one big bite -- covers the recommended daily intake of polyphenols, Vriens said.

The value is based on findings of the Tuffs University in the United States.

The company's challenge is to shift perceptions of chocolate away from an indulgence food and toward a nutritional food, thereby tapping the fast-growing health and wellness market.

"Given its image as an indulgence, chocolate has never been able to build a wellness segment, the fastest-growing part of the food market... (but) the mold has been broken by research linking health with cocoa polyphenols," said Kepler Equities analyst Jon Cox.

A HEALTHY TREAT

In an increasingly health-conscious society, the revenue potential for functional chocolate is "quite amazing", said Vriens, but he declined to give exact sales forecasts.

"Functional food takes up 2 percent of shelf space these days. In 10-20 years it will be 20 percent," he said.

Barry Callebaut used its German consumer brand Sarotti to test its "Acticoa" chocolate and was pleased with the results. It hopes to launch the product with industrial customers this year or next. There is an enormous space for functional chocolate, and there is no one out there (to fill it)," Vriens said.

Kepler analyst Cox said the revenue benefits were already within reach.

"Chocolate branded to highlight high levels of polyphenols or health benefits can capture 1 percent of the overall chocolate market, or reach almost 1 billion Swiss francs, in the next 24 months," he said.

Barry Callebaut, which is believed to supply brands like Danone and Kraft, is in talks with clients on how best to sell its new chocolate.

It wants to use its "Acticoa" trademark as a label on the packaging of chocolate in the same way that microprocessor maker Intel uses its "Intel-inside" label on computers. The label would guarantee a minimum level of antioxidants.

Other industry players have also recognized the potential of health and wellness foods, launching their own efforts to enter the lucrative health-food market.

Nestle has recently launched a major drive to focus on nutritional foods such as health-enhancing yoghurts and drinks and is expected to move into "healthy chocolates" soon, while Mars -- maker of Mars bars and M&Ms -- has launched a heart-healthy chocolate called "CocoaVia".

Barry Callebaut's Acticoa process can be used in a variety of foods, including chocolate drinks and yoghurts.

Cocoa polyphenols can even be used as a processing agent in beer, Vriens said. The process called "ActiBREW" was presented at a major European beer brewers' convention.

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 July 01, 2006 8:05 AM

Rules of Chocolate


  • Chocolate is a Vegetable Chocolate Cake Chocolate is derived from cacao beans. Beans are vegetables.
    Sugar is derived from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Both are plants. Plants are vegetables.
    Thus, chocolate is a vegetable.

    To go one step further, chocolate candy bars also contain milk, so candy bars are a health food.

  • If you've got melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

  • Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

  • The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car.
    The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

  • Diet tip: Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It'll take the edge off your appetite and you'll eat less.

  • A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn't that handy?

  • If you can't eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can't eat all your chocolate, what's wrong with you?

  • If calories are an issue, store your chocolate on top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights and they will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.

  • Eating equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate is a balanced diet. They counteract each other.

  • Money talks. Chocolate sings.

  • Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger. Therefore, you need to eat more chocolate.

  • Question: Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous?
    Answer: Because no one wants to quit.

  • If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. You can't let that happen, can you?

  • Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done
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 November 15, 2007 8:34 PM


Chocolate is a psychoactive food. It is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. The cacao tree was named by the 17th century Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus. The Greek term theobroma means literally "food of the gods". Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil; but the theological basis of this claim is obscure.

        Cacao beans were used by the Aztecs to prepare a hot, frothy beverage with stimulant and restorative properties. Chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests. The Aztecs esteemed its reputed ability to confer wisdom and vitality. Taken fermented as a drink, chocolate was also used in religious ceremonies. The sacred concoction was associated with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Emperor Montezuma allegedly drank 50 goblets a day. Aztec taxation was levied in cacao beans. 100 cacao beans could buy a slave. 12 cacao beans bought the services of courtesan.

        The celebrated Italian libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) took chocolate before bedding his conquests on account of chocolate's reputation as a subtle aphrodisiac. More recently, a study of 8000 male Harvard graduates showed that chocoholics lived longer than abstainers. Their longevity may be explained by the high polyphenol levels in chocolate. Polyphenols reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and thereby protect against heart disease. Such theories are still speculative.

        Placebo-controlled trials suggest chocolate consumption may subtly enhance cognitive performance. As reported by Dr Bryan Raudenbush (2006), scores for verbal and visual memory are raised by eating chocolate. Impulse-control and reaction-time are also improved. This study needs replicating.

         A "symposium" at the 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science - hyped as a potentially "mind-altering experience" - presented evidence that chocolate consumption can be good for the brain. Experiments with chocolate-fed mice suggest that flavanol-rich cocoa stimulates neurovascular activity, enhancing memory and alertness. This research was partly funded by Mars, Inc.

        Coincidentally or otherwise, many of the worlds oldest supercentenarians, e.g. Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) and Sarah Knauss (1880-1999), were passionately fond of chocolate. Jeanne Calment habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 - three years before her death aged 122. Life-extensionists are best advised to eat dark chocolate rather than the kinds of calorie-rich confectionery popular in America.

        In the UK, chocolate bars laced with cannabis are popular with many victims of multiple sclerosis. This brand of psychoactive confectionery remains unlicensed.

        Chocolate as we know it today dates to the inspired addition of triglyceride cocoa butter by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. The advantage of cocoa butter is that its addition to chocolate sets a bar so that it will readily snap and then melt on the tongue. Cocoa butter begins to soften at around 75 F; it melts at around 97 F.

         Today, chocolates of every description are legal, unscheduled and readily available over the counter. Some 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex, though this response may depend on the attributes of the interviewer.

        In 2007, a UK study suggested that eating dark chocolate was more rewarding than passionate kissing. More research is needed to replicate this result.

        More than 300 different constituent compounds in chocolate have been identified. Chocolate clearly delivers far more than a brief sugar high. Yet its c  [ send green star]  [ accepted]

 
 November 15, 2007 8:41 PM

Yet its cocktail of psychochemical effects in the central nervous system are poorly understood. So how does it work?


CHOCOLATE : the Psychoactive Cocktail         Chocolate contains small quantities of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid found in the brain. Sceptics claim one would need to consume several pounds of chocolate to gain any very noticeable psychoactive effects; and eat a lot more to get fully stoned. Yet it's worth noting that N-oleolethanolamine and N-linoleoylethanolamine, two structural cousins of anandamide present in chocolate, both inhibit the metabolism of anandamide. It has been speculated that they promote and prolong the feeling of well-being induced by anandamide.

        Chocolate contains caffeine. But the caffeine is present only in modest quantities. It is easily obtained from other sources. Indeed a whole ounce of milk chocolate contains no more caffeine than a typical cup of "decaffeinated" coffee.

        Chocolate's theobromine content may contribute to - but seems unlikely to determine - its subtle but distinctive psychoactive profile. Surprisingly, perhaps, recent research suggests that pure theobromine may be superior to opiates as a cough medicine due to its action on the vagus nerve.

        Chocolate also contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It is the rate-limiting step in the production of the mood-modulating neurotransmitter serotonin. Enhanced serotonin function typically diminishes anxiety. Yet tryptophan can normally be obtained from other sources as well; and only an unusually low-protein, high-carbohydrate meal will significantly increase its rate of intake into the brain.

        Like other palatable sweet foods, consumption of chocolate triggers the release of endorphins, the body's endogenous opiates. Enhanced endorphin-release reduces the chocolate-eater's sensitivity to pain. Endorphins probably contribute to the warm inner glow induced in susceptible chocoholics.

        Acute monthly cravings for chocolate amongst pre-menstrual women may be partly explained by its rich magnesium content. Magnesium deficiency exacerbates PMT. Before menstruation, too, levels of the hormone progesterone are high. Progesterone promotes fat storage, preventing its use as fuel; elevated pre-menstrual levels of progesterone may cause a periodic craving for fatty foods. One study reported that 91% of chocolate-cravings associated with the menstrual cycle occurred between ovulation and the start of menstruation. Chocolate cravings are admitted by 15% of men and around 40% of women. Cravings are usually most intense in the late afternoon and early evening.

        Cacao and chocolate bars contain a group of neuroactive alkaloids known as tetrahydro-beta-carbolines. Tetrahydro-beta-carbolines are also found in beer, wine and liquor; they have been linked to alcoholism. But the possible role of these chemicals in chocolate addiction remains unclear.

        One UK study of the human electroencephalographic (EEG) response to chocolate suggests that the odour of chocolate significantly reduces theta activity in the brain. Reduced theta activity is associated with enhanced relaxation. This study needs replication.

        Perhaps chocolate's key ingredient is its phenylethylamine (PEA) "love-chemical". Yet the role of the "chocolate amphetamine" is disputed. Most if not all chocolate-derived phenylethylamine is metabolised before it reaches the CNS. Some people may be sensitive to its effects in very small quantities.

        Phenylethylamine is itself a naturally occurring trace amine in the brain. Phenylethylamine releases dopamine in the mesolimbic pleasure-centres; it peaks during orgasm. Taken in unnaturally high doses, phenylethylamine can produce stereotyped behaviour more prominently even than amphetamine. Phenylethylamine has distinct binding sites but no specific neurons. It helps mediate feelings of attraction, excitement, giddiness, apprehension and euphoria; but confusingly, phenylethylamine has also been described as an endogenous anxiogen. One of its  [ send green star]  [ accepted]

 
 November 15, 2007 8:47 PM

One of its metabolites is unusually high in subjects with paranoid schizophrenia.

        There is even a phenylethylamine theory of depression. Monoamine oxidase type-b has been described as phenylethylaminase; and taking a selective MAO-b inhibitor, such as selegiline (l-deprenyl, Eldepryl) or rasagiline (Azilect) can accentuate chocolate's effects. Some subjects report that bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) reduces their chocolate-cravings; but other chocoholics dispute this.


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