Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chemical Compound in Chocolate that Promotes Cardiovascular Health Identified

It’s been known for a while that dark chocolate and cocoa contain high levels of flavinoids, which are antioxidant compounds found in many food products like red wine and berries. These flavinoids are thought to be beneficial to cardiovascular health.

The compound in cocoa was isolated through by a team at the University of California, Davis using the Kuna Indians of Panama who are known to consume large quantities of cocoa.

UC Davis biochemist Hagen Schroeter, who co-authored the paper along with cardiologist Christian Heiss of the Heinrich-Heine University said “The results of this study provide direct proof that epicatechin is, at least in part, responsible for the beneficial vascular effects that are observed after the consumption of certain flavanol-rich cocoas.”

The article is pretty interesting and details how they isolated epicatechin using two different populations of Kunas. The most intriguing part is that the Kuna who had the best cardiovascular health were the island-dwellers who drank three to four cups per day!

Full text here: Heart-Healthy Compound in Chocolate Identified

Mars (makers of M&Ms) contributed to the financing of the study.

See also: Why Chocolate is Good for Your Heart from the Hindustani Times.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:13 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     News

  1. Cocoa is an awesome foods, containing over 300 identifiable chemical compounds and described as the ‘Fodo of the Gods’. It is one of the 23 superfoods explored in Miracle Superfoods - the world’s ultimate superfoods for health, beauty and longevity:

    [blatant advertising removed by admin]

    Comment by Sylvia Riley on 3/14/06 at 7:32 am #
  2. Well, there’s just one problem, and most people are not aware of this: flavinoids interact significantly with quite a few medications out there, particularly the statin drugs (cholesterol lowering), many anticonvulsants that are prescribed for both epilepsy and bipolar disorder (such as Tegretol), and some atypical antipsychotics such as Seroquel (not really a great idea to have levels of these drugs interfered with!!) Some people are less sensitive to these effects and some people are more so, but for safety’s sake, it’s better to avoid large amounts of the foods that interact with the enzymes the liver uses to process these drugs. This is so well documented in the research literature and it needs to be better known among the general public. Go to Google and type in “CYP3A4 interactions” to find some good lists.

    Comment by Anise on 3/14/09 at 9:12 am #
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