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Cocoa Powder- Heart, Brain, Bone Health

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According to research, cocoa may provide neuroprotection, cardioprotection and may even enhance bone health- all properties needed by the aging cancer survivor aka me…

You’ve reached middle age. You’ve witnessed older friends and family become demented. Maybe you have friends or family who have died of heart attacks or live with heard disease. You want to avoid that happening to you. But how?

Believe it or not, brain, heart, bone health therapies are not rocket science. Yes, you have to read studies. You may have to include certain foods and/or make changes to your daily life. But these changes are preferable to the alternative…

 

I am a long-term multiple myeloma survivor. Toxic chemotherapy and radiation left me with heart, brain and bone damage aka short, long-term and late stage side effects.  Since achieving complete remission from my incurable blood cancer in 1999, my life’s mission has been to

  • reduce the risk of a MM relapse
  • reduce the risk of treatment-induced secondary cancer
  • reduce my risk of dying from chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy (CIC)
  • heal my chemobrain

Whether you are a cancer survivor or not, if you are aging (I just turned 60), you may be interested in reducing your risk of cancer, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and reducing your risk of dementia- keeping your brain healthy.

I talk about “risks” a lot only because any of us can suffer from health problems. All we can do is lower our risks of death, heart damage, brain damage, etc.

Cocoa powder in your juice every morning- this is what I do anyway- is an easy, inexpensive therapy shown to increase your heart, brain and BP health.

Cocoa powder with no sugar, few calories, in short, healthy. Chocolate bars were great when we were young…and thin. But no longer. We need a superfood that is easy to add to our daily diet, easy on our pocketbook, and easy to understand.

Are you struggling with heart, brain or bone health? Are you dealing with a cancer diagnosis? Scroll down the page, send me a question or a comment and I will reply to your ASAP.

In the meantime, be well.

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


Cancer protective properties of cocoa: a review of the epidemiologic evidence

“Due to their high concentration of catechins and procyanidins, bioactive compounds with distinct properties, cocoa and chocolate products may have beneficial health effects against oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, risk factors for cancer and other chronic diseases…

In moderation, cocoa products may offer strong antioxidant effects in combination with a pleasurable eating experience. The benign profile of its fatty acids in combination with the low content of sugar of dark chocolate should lessen concerns about the adverse effects of cocoa products…”

Cocoa, chocolate and cardiovascular disease

“A significant body of evidence demonstrates that diets rich in fruit and vegetables promote health, and attenuate, or delay, the onset of various diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, certain cancers, and several other age-related degenerative disorders.

The concept that moderate chocolate consumption could be part of a healthy diet has gained acceptance in the last years based on the health benefits ascribed to selected cocoa components. Specifically, cocoa as a plant and chocolate as food contain a series of chemicals that can interact with cell and tissue components providing protection against the development and amelioration of pathological conditions. The most relevant effects of cocoa and chocolate have been related to CVD.

COCOA, ENDOTHELIAL FUNCTION AND HYPERTENSION

Observational and epidemiological studies indicate that diets rich in polyphenols decrease blood pressure and prevent the increase in blood pressure associated to several pathologies…

CONCLUDING REMARKS-

A full range of health benefits can today be associated to the actions of flavanols and procyanidins on vascular function. These benefits are mainly ascribed to diets rich in flavanols and procyanidins, and chocolate and cocoa derivatives are among the most valuable components of such a diet. Considering the fact that CVD is associated with a series of conditions that can trigger oxidant production and oxidant-regulated cell signaling, it would be logical to relate the free radical scavenging and metal chelating properties of cocoa flavanols to CVD protective effects…”

The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance

“Cocoa powder and chocolate contain numerous substances among which there is a quite large percentage of antioxidant molecules, mainly flavonoids, most abundantly found in the form of epicatechin.

These substances display several beneficial actions on the brain. They enter the brain and induce widespread stimulation of brain perfusion. They also provoke angiogenesis, neurogenesis and changes in neuron morphology, mainly in regions involved in learning and memory.

Epicatechin improves various aspects of cognition in animals and humans. Chocolate also induces positive effects on mood and is often consumed under emotional stress…

Conclusions-

Cocoa powder and chocolate contain a large percentage of flavonoids that display several beneficial actions on the brain. In addition to their beneficial effects on the vascular system and on cerebral blood flow…

They enter the brain and stimulate brain perfusion provoking angiogenesis and changes in neuron morphology that have been mainly studied in hippocampus. Epicatechin, the main flavonoid present in cocoa and chocolate improves various aspects of cognition in animals and humans. Chocolate also induces positive effects on mood and is often consumed under emotional stress.

In addition, flavonoids preserve cognitive abilities during aging in rats, lower the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and decrease the risk of stroke in humans…

All these properties are of great interest but at present it is not clear when the consumption of cocoa and chocolate should be initiated to generate beneficial effects on age‐dependent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases and many studies are still necessary to explore the neuroprotective potential of cocoa and chocolate. On the other hand, cocoa is most often consumed in the form of energy‐rich chocolate, hence potentially detrimental especially because of the risk of weight gain, mainly in individuals vulnerable to certain eating problems leading to hyperphagic obesity.

Nevertheless, on the basis of the present knowledge, it appears that the benefits from moderate cocoa or chocolate consumption likely outweigh the possible risks [,]….”

Chocolate and chocolate constituents influence bone health and osteoporosis risk

“The aim of this review was to examine the relationship between chocolate consumption and its constiuents, including flavonoid content, on bone health and osteoporosis risk…

Based on flavonoid and mineral content, unsweetened cocoa powder appeared to be the best option followed by dark chocolate with higher cocoa content in terms of supporting and preserving bone health.

Determining dietary recommendations for chocolate consumption relative to bone health is important because of the growing popularity of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, and an expected increase in consumption owing to suggestions of health benefits against various degenerative diseases…”

 

 

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