News / Health

    Researchers: Raw, Organic Chocolate May Provide Better Health Benefits

    Researchers: Raw, Organic Chocolate May Provide Better Health Benefitsi
    X
    August 14, 2014 3:46 PM
    Chocolate. Some people just can't get enough! But while nutritionists warn the sugar in chocolate is bad for us....doctors point to the beneficial qualities of its antioxidants. As VOA's George Putic reports, raw, organic chocolate may contain the right balance.
    George Putic

    Chocolate. Some people just can't get enough!  But while nutritionists warn the sugar in chocolate is bad for us....doctors point to the beneficial qualities of its antioxidants. Raw, organic chocolate may contain the right balance.

    The biggest benefit from eating cocoa and dark chocolate may be lowered blood pressure, thanks to the almost decadent feeling of cocoa butter melting in your mouth.

    That mood may also contribute to chocolate's anti-depressant qualities.

    “It contains phenethylamines, which is a neurotransmitter which is found in the brain and actually acts as a mood elevator," said dietician Kim Hoffman. "It also enhances the blood endorphins, which are the happy opiates, and they are basically around when you are on a high.”

    Not all chocolate is equal when it comes to those beneficial chemicals.  Some researchers say the high heat required to process commercial chocolate - up to 130 degrees centigrade - can actually lower their effectiveness.

    At Honest Chocolate, in Cape Town, South Africa, artisan chocolatier Anthony Grid keeps the temperature of his raw chocolate below 42 degrees.

    “There's a movement for minimal cooking or minimal heating of food, just to retain the natural antioxidants or whatever, the minerals or whatever it may be.  So cocoa is part of that - you can do it raw, with a very good quality bean,” he said.

    In order to reduce cocoa’s natural bitterness, manufacturers of chocolate products remove polyphenols, antioxidants that create the bitter taste, and add sugar.

    Food science writer Leonie Joubert notes that sugar is connected to weight-related illnesses, and that chocolate isn't something that should be eaten every day.

    “The problem is overexposure to sugar over a long period of time - it causes this repeated inflammatory response in the body, which now is linked to heart disease.  Obviously it's linked to obesity and weight problems and the associated diseases,” Joubert explained.

    The confections at Honest Chocolate are made with agave nectar, rather than cane sugar, and have a very high percentage of cacao... something customer Jessica Bonin appreciates.

    “What I find quite remarkable about their chocolate is that you are not overwhelmed by the sugar so you actually get to taste the chocolate itself, which is really so luxurious and quite decadent,” she said.

    Like many other chocolate connoisseurs, Bonin satisfies her craving with just one small piece of really good chocolate.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora