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Monday, October 27, 2014

THE GOOD AND BAD NEWS ABOUT CHOCOLATE


According to a study reported in Nature Neuroscience, chocolate contains flavonals, specifically epicatechin, an antioxidant, which can help boost memory.  Physiologically, blood circulation and heart health improve, leading to some activation of the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus.  While most of the research focused on snails and mice, a small group of humans, 50-69 old, drank cocoa flavanols (900 milligrams) for three months, and compared them with another lot provided cocoa low in these flavanols (10 mg).  A typical candy bar contains 40 mg of flavanols.  The difference was phenomenal, for the high-F group performed as if they were 20 to 30 years younger.

  • reduces the risk of diabetes
  • doesn't cause acne
  • prevents tooth decay
  • reduces heart diseases
  • prevents cancer
  • doesn't lead to weight gain
  • can cure cough
  • helps you relax
  • led to the invention of the microwave oven
  • is a vegetable
Much of this actually might well be true, but you wonder how much of this R&D was sponsored by chocolate companies.

Anyway here is the more sobering part of this announcement about chocolate and memory.  First, only 37 individuals were studied.  Worse, the reality is that the process of processing cocoa into chocolate actually removes many of these flavonals.   And, get this, the study was funded by Mars, the largest chocolate company in the world with annual revenues of more than $10 billion.  This is the worst part, for to get the 138 mg of epicatechin/day to match this study, you would need to consume seven dark chocolate bars/day.  That's, further, about 1500 calories, meaning you would need to spend an hour and a half/day climbing stairs.

In any case, one candy bar is only around 200 calories, as compared to:
  • a small piece of birthday cake (312 calories)
  • small hot fudge sundae (392 calories)
  • 20 ounce soda (250 calories)
  • one large bagel (320 calories)
  • glass of red wine (125 calories)

Oh, do you remember that I have long been touting red wines for old people like me?  They also contain flavonoids, but also, other goodies like resveratrol (Malbec and Pinot Noir are best).  Not only memory, these natural ingredients prevent cardiovascular diseases, increase high density lipoprotein, and, even, prevent cancer.  But, hey, there might only be 1 mg of resveratrol in a glass of wine, and those pills contain 250 mg, so one could also question the reality wine improving health.

In any case, there is more good than bad about chocolates, so do feel comfortable with a reasonable amount of dark chocolates (the darker the more flavanols, but certainly, too, continue to exercise).  Plus, there is good reason to drink red wine.  How much?  The medical profession suggests up to two glasses of red wine/day.  One glass is all of 5 ounces, and, as you can get five glasses/bottle, this means drinking 40% of a bottle of red wine/day.  Frankly, even I wonder if this might be too much, but what do I know?  And I don't really drink wine for the health benefits, but more for the mild high, something chocolates do not provide.

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In the Indian Ocean, Cyclone Nilofar is a 105 MPH and is strengthening, expected to reach Category 3 status, but, then weaken, and crash into a region near the India-Pakistan border.


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I might add that the open house of Craigside Penthouse A2 yesterday went well:


You can hardly recognize then, but here are Darrell of Paradise Optical, Abbie of Horita Realty, Tim from the University of Hawaii and Suzette of Horita Realty.

My 15 Craigside sunset is not as spectacular, but still okay.  Tonight:



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