As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: April 6, 2015
by Sarah-Kate Templeton for The Sunday Times:
Eating dark chocolate could help ward off Alzheimer’s and heart disease, say scientists, but it must have such intensity that a tablet is being developed for those who cannot take the sharp taste.
Roger Corder, a professor of experimental therapeutics at the Queen Mary University of London, said flavanols, the bioactive compounds in dark chocolate, should be taken from middle age to prevent stiffening of the blood vessels that can lead to heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
However, only dark chocolate made from about 85 per cent cocoa mass contains sufficient flavanols to bring a health benefit.
Most people prefer less intense confectionery that has been mellowed by the addition of fat.
To tackle the problem, scientists are developing “chocolate pills” from cocoa extracts.
Last week, the European Commission gave permission to Belgian confectioner Barry Callebaut to claim that in supplements made from cocoa extracts “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow”.
Barry Callebaut said: “It will become easy for consumers to take the required daily amount of cocoa flavanols through one simple pill.”
US chocolate company Mars is running a five-year trial with the National Institutes of Health in America to test the ability of cocoa flavonols to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease.
Professor Corder said: “If we are moving it towards a pharmaceutic product where the flavours are masked, having it in a tablet or capsule formulation, then it has a potential use across a wide spectrum of people.”
In 2013, the EC granted Barry Callebaut permission to claim on its dark chocolate bar Acticoa that “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow”. The claim can be used on chocolate that contains 200mg of cocoa flavonols per 20g of chocolate.
Commercial chocolate products tend to contain less than this.
Someone trying to consume 200mg of flavanols would need to eat about 65g of an average chocolate a day. That would be 350 calories, hard to accommodate in a healthy diet.
Professor Corder said dark chocolate made with between 85 per cent and 90 per cent cocoa mass was more likely to reach the required level of flavanols than the average dark chocolate bar.
Many brands that advertise as “85 per cent cocoa” or “85 per cent cocoa solids” include cocoa butter in the percentage.
It makes the chocolate taste smoother and less bitter, but dilutes the flavonol content.
On December 2nd, in support of Women’s Brain Health Day, join thousands of others and take part in the Stand AheadTM Challenge to stand up against research bias and stand ahead for women’s brain health. Did you know…. Almost 70%...
Headstand (also known as “sirsasana”) is often referred to as the “king” of yoga poses because of its many health benefits. It can be an energizing inversion that strengthens the entire body, particularly the upper...
A new study provides insights on why some people may be more resistant to Alzheimer’s disease than others. The findings may lead to strategies to delay or prevent the condition. The study...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.