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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.