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The Healing Compounds in Chocolate

There are over 300 health-boosting and mood-enhancing polyphenols and other compounds in dark chocolate. Here is a list of some of them, courtesy of Cal Orey's new book, The Healthing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington Health, 2010)

Anansamide: Known as the “bliss chemical”, it is produced naturally in the brain and, when released, produces a sense of “good feelings”.

Caffeine: A stimulant to our central nervous system. Chocolate has some – but not near as much as in coffee.

Cannabinoids: Chemicals that are also found in marijuana are also found in chocolate. May trigger the brain to make natural painkillers.

Catechin: A powerful polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant and can help strengthen the immune response. Cocoa nibs are an excellent source.

Endorphins: Dark chocolate, like exercise, helps release endorphins, natural painkillers to your body that act on the central nervous system.

Epicatechin: A smaller flavonol that is found in cocoa beans that may help stave off heart disease and diabetes.

Flavonoids: Powerful disease fighters that may help fight viruses, allergies, carcinogens, and inflammation. Superantioxidants that may help reduce cholesterol level and prevent oxidation of the “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Flavanols and Falvonols: Group of plant compounds that can be found in cocoa that have shown antioxidant effect that may lower the risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, and diabetes.

PEA: Another brain chemical known as the “chocolate amphetamine”. Can increase blood pressure and feelings of excitement and alertness. Also called the “love drug” because it mimics the feeling of falling in love.

Proanthocyanidin: A flavonoid abundant in grapes and dark chocolate containeddark cocoa of 70% or more.

Resveratrol: A compound that may have anticancer properties. It may also have substances that can protect against heart disease.

Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that can make you feel happier and improve brain power and memory. Can also create a calming effect.

Tannins: Nutrients that may help inhibit the plaque obstructions that cause heart disease and strokes.

Theobromine: Like caffeine, Theobromine has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system and the heart.

Tryptophan: An essential amino acid that may act like a mood-boosting, calming serotonin, and help alleviate feeling of anxiety and stress.

Six Ways to Get Your Summer Chocolate Fix - Article
(Source: The Healing Powers of Chocolate, by Cal Orey (Kensington Health, 2010)
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