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Chocolate really is good for you

10 Aug

Written by Daisy Dumas. Published in Sydney Morning Herald on 18 July 2012.

It’s a vice many of us can’t step away from – give up smoking, drinking or swearing and chocolate seems to be the go-to reward mechanism.

So it’s a welcome finding that bars of chocolate may soon come stamped with health claims.

Dark chocolate has been given another accolade in the health stakes – this time receiving the backing of the European Food Safety Authority for its blood circulation-boosting capacities.

Thanks to cocoa flavanols, found in chocolate and cocoa, the sweet-toothed treat has been linked to low blood pressure, heart health and even brain function. Cocoa flavonols stimulate nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.

On the back of the support, Barry Callebaut AG, one of the world’s largest cocoa buyers, is now seeking European Commission approval to use the impressive health claim on its packaging.

The move comes after the Swiss food giant, which sells to Kraft and Nestlé, conducted a study involving 20 clinical trials over the past seven years. The company has developed a method for preserving up to 80 per cent of the flavonols which are commonly destroyed in mainstream cocoa processing.

It is also, tellingly, linked to rising cocoa costs and concomitant dwindling branded food sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. Health benefits are, of course, worth their weight in gold – and while the label would only apply to chocolates sold within Europe, it may have implications for products further afield, including Australia and the US.

A known anti-oxidant wonder food, dark chocolate already leads the pack when it comes to ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units’ (ORACS).

According to the USDA, it contains 13,120 ORACs per 100 grams, where famous antioxidants, blueberries, have a mere 2,400.

But, before chocolate is promoted to one of your health supplements, beware – not all chocolates are created equal and cocoa, sugar, saturated and unsaturated fats and caffeine contents vary. The higher the cocoa content, it goes without saying, the better.

The EC has until early 2013 to make its decision.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/chocolate-really-is-good-for-you-20120718-229i7.html#ixzz22NY3QsBB

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1 Comment

Posted by on August 10, 2012 in News Articles

 

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One response to “Chocolate really is good for you

  1. narf77

    August 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Chocolate is one thing that I really can live without. I have never been a great fan of it and prefer savoury things especially cheese! I don’t mind the odd hot chocolate chai type drink but I don’t crave it or want it particularly. How lucky am I? BUT I had to go cold turkey on my latent bread addiction so that I could break my bread ingestion as it was going quantum on my ass! (literally lol ;) ). Steve makes up for my lack of chocolate desire with an overly developed chocolate seeking sense and he always has to have a few bars in the pantry or some chocolate biscuits (usually tim-tams) so our family is well represented in the chocolate state. I must tell him that it’s good for him… I dare say that would be an excuse to buy the chocolate in, in cartons rather than just solitary units! ;)

     

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