Scientists to Find Whether Cocoa Extract Improves Health

The chocolate pill may become your favorite medication this year! And who doesn’t love chocolate? Well, even if it is not your preferred sweet treat, you can probably agree that the sweet conjures thoughts of pleasure, love, and reward.

And in case you need one more reason to celebrate this tasty sweet, just look at science. You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate is beneficial for your health. Research of chocolate lovers — and even some self-proclaimed “chocoholics” — submit that it can help control blood sugar, slash stress, and lower blood pressure. Last year, experts associated a regular chocolate habit to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Polyphenols or flavonols, potent compounds found in cocoa, have been proven to improve heart health by increasing blood flow. The list goes on!

A Chocolate Pill: The Research

Scientists claim some of these great compounds could help our bodies form nitric oxide, a compound which causes blood vessels to dilate.

In an NPR interview, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said:

What we have seen is that consumption of dark chocolate is linked with greater abilities of blood vessels to dilate when they should,” Thus, this can be a defense against heart disease.

The negative thing about chocolate — at least the chocolate bars that many people seem to love — is that it is often loaded with sugar and milk fat, which we are told to consume less of.  Plus, the calorie count of candy could give dieters guilt. Well, the results from some studies showed that older women that ate chocolate gain so much weight – it’s not surprising! In the 3-year study, the more chocolate candies the women ate – the more they were likely to gain weight.

Therefore, is there a possible way to get the health benefits of cocoa without all those calories? Perhaps.

Scientists are recruiting volunteers to take participation in a 4-year study sample of cocoa extract. They are searching for women age 65 and older and men age 60 and older.

Half of the contributors will take the cocoa extract pills — that, alas, will not taste as chocolate. The pills will contain about as much extract as you would get from consuming around 1,000 calories of dark chocolate.

The other half of the contributors will be given a placebo. No one of the participants in the research will know whether they are being given the dummy pill or the real thing.

We will be thoroughly testing whether the flavonols in cocoa do decrease the risk of strokes, cognitive decline, heart attacks, and many other ailments over time,” suggests Dr. JoAnn Mason, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Finance and another support for the research are being provided by Pfizer Inc. and Mars Inc. If the results are encouraging, we may see chocolate-makers expand from the chocolate aisle to the supplement aisle.

According to Katz, one of the wonderful things about chocolate is that it is a source of great pleasure, and not everyone is excited about the idea of turning candy into a nutritive supplement. However, Katz does not pooh-pooh the chocolate research. He is a big fan of a homemade chocolate that his wife is preparing.

Moreover, Katz claims that if there is a combination of compounds distinctive to chocolate that deliberate health benefits, there might be some advantage in extracting those and considering them as something that can be taken as a supplement.

 

Conclusion:

Compounds known as flavonols are considered to be responsible for a great number of chocolate’s beneficial effects. These compounds are also found in fruits, vegetables, wine, and tea. Different chocolates can vary significantly in their content of flavonols. Cocoa beans naturally vary in their levels of flavonol. A great portion of the flavonols could also be removed during processing. Actually, companies usually remove these compounds intentionally as a result of their bitter taste. Furthermore, the end results are that there’s no way to know whether the product you’re looking at contains high flavonol levels.

So should you consume chocolate? Or chocolate pill? Chocolates can have many calories, and the significance of a healthy weight is well known. Therefore, as the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends, if you are eating chocolate – ensure to check the calorie content, the sugar content, and the fat content.

And when it comes to chocolate pill – Your Health Tubers we’ll keep you informed as soon as we get the results from the cocoa extract research. However, as a nutritionist, I can only say that chocolate pill will probably be a healthier version of chocolate due to its potential, great content of flavonol and may be beneficial for treating certain health conditions.

References: Npr.org    Newsinhealth.nih.gov

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