Millions of people turn to chocolate for instant stress relief. And the research shows that its stress-melting power is real. In fact, chocolate contains several mood-enhancing compounds.
The “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin is one of them. So is the natural relaxant tryptophan. And scientists have also discovered compounds that mimic cannabinoids. These are the chemicals in marijuana that make users feel “high.”
But the benefits of this ancient food go way beyond pleasure and stress relief…
In fact, chocolate – specifically cocoa – is one of the most potent superfoods known to science. It can significantly lower blood pressure.2 It reduces hardening of the arteries.3 It can counteract the effects of aging on the brain. And it is one of the most delicious ways to fight and prevent cancer.
Numerous studies show that compounds in cocoa can help inhibit cancer.4,5 The most important of these include a type of antioxidant known as polyphenols. And a recent study proved that cocoa is one of the world’s richest sources of these cancer fighters.
Researchers from Cornell published this study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. They compared the levels of two polyphenols in black tea, green tea, red wine and hot cocoa. All of these beverages are rich sources of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Dr. Chang Lee is the chemist who led the study. He said, “If I had made a prediction before the tests, I would have picked green tea as having the most antioxidant activity.”
But even he was surprised by the results. “When we compared one serving of each beverage,” said Dr. Lee, “the cocoa turned out to be the highest.”
He found that hot cocoa (using pure cocoa powder) has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine. It has up to three times that found in green tea. And it has levels four times greater than black tea.6
It’s important to note that not all “chocolate” offers the same benefits. Milk chocolate, for instance, is full of sugar. It also appears that milk may inhibit the antioxidant effects.
Italian scientists at the Antioxidant Research Laboratory in Rome made this discovery. They found that eating dark chocolate increased the blood plasma levels of certain vital antioxidants. However, the effects dropped substantially when the chocolate was consumed with milk or as milk chocolate.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Mauro Serafini, “Milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate.” He said it can also “negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”
You should also know that most commercial cocoa powders undergo a process called “dutching.” This is used to remove some of the bitterness. But it also strips away many of the health-promoting antioxidants.7
Your best bet is to consume raw, organic, dark chocolate. Look for bars with a “cacao” content of 75 percent or greater. You can also buy organic, non-dutched cocoa powder. Add a spoonful to your coffee. Or simply mix with hot water and a little bit of stevia for a deliciously healthy hot cocoa.
Not only can it ease your stress… it could also dramatically improve your health.[Ed. Note: If cancer prevention is important to you, you need to know about what may be the most promising cancer advancement of the past 30 years. This breakthrough took 20 years to develop. Major studies on over 10,000 patients have verified its accuracy. The FDA has even approved it. So why don’t you – or your doctor – know about it? Get all the details in our special presentation by clicking here now.]
2Taubert D, et al. Chocolate and blood pressure in elderly individuals with isolated systolic hypertension. JAMA. 2003 Aug 27;290(8):1029-30.
4Kozikowski AP, et al. Studies in polyphenol chemistry and bioactivity. 4.(1) Synthesis of trimeric, tetrameric, pentameric, and higher oligomeric epicatechin-derived procyanidins having all-4beta,8-interflavan connectivity and their inhibition of cancer cell growth through cell cycle arrest. J Org Chem. 2003;68:1641-5168
5L. Brizuela, et al. The sphingosine kinase-1 survival pathway is a molecular target for the tumor-suppressive tea and wine polyphenols in prostate cancer. The FASEB Journal, June 9, 2010.
6Tückmantel W, et al. Studies in polyphenol chemistry and bioactivity. American Chemical Society. 1999; 121:12073-12081.