Novel insights into the heart health benefits of cocoa flavanols and procyanidins A new study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition AJCN adds to the body of data demonstrating that bioactive compounds found in cocoa can keep the heart healthy —but two types of bioactives called flavanols and procyanidins behave differently in the body.
Abstract 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.
In addition to their beneficial effects on the vascular system and on cerebral blood flow, flavonoids interact with signalization cascades involving protein and lipid kinases that lead to the inhibition of neuronal death by apoptosis induced by neurotoxicants such as oxygen radicals, and promote neuronal survival and synaptic plasticity.
The present review intends to review the data available on the effects of cocoa and chocolate on brain health and cognitive abilities. The next most important ingredients are proteins or nitrogenous elements, including theobromine 1.
Cocoa beans contain low variable amounts of caffeine 0.
Cocoa powder contains the highest amount of caffeine followed by unsweetened baking chocolate. The cocoa bean is also the most concentrated source of theobromine, another methylxanthine.
Unlike caffeine, theobromine, also present in cocoa beans, has only a mild stimulatory effect on the central nervous system. The amount of theobromine varies with the finished product. Dark chocolate, unsweetened baking chocolate and cocoa powder contain more theobromine than milk chocolate and chocolate syrups.
For example, 50 g milk chocolate contains about 75 mg theobromine while the same weight of very dark chocolate can contain up to mg theobromine.
Cocoa also contains some other compounds with potential biological activity. These are biogenic amines such as serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyrosine, tryptamine and tyramine. The concentration of these compounds increases during fermentation and decreases during roasting and alkalinization.
In general, these concentrations are irrelevant in healthy subjects since these compounds are metabolized in the intestinal mucosa, liver and kidneys by the monoamine oxidases MAO.
The effects of biogenic amines are only expressed in people with MAO deficiency and could lead to headaches and increased blood pressure and hence often to chocolate avoidance [ b11 ].
These effects will not be discussed here. In addition, a few other compounds with biological activity can be found in cocoa beans and derived products.
These are anandamide, an endogenous ligand for the cannabinoid receptor found in low amounts, 0.
However, there is no evidence that the consumption of chocolate increases the concentration of these compounds in circulating blood. This review will try to analyze whether cocoa and chocolate can be considered as nutraceuticals providing health benefits, including the potential prevention of some diseases.
Several review articles have been dealing recently with the potential neuroprotective and cognition enhancing properties of flavonoids from various sources [ b12 — b15 ]. In the present review we will concentrate on the potential effects of flavonoids from cocoa and chocolate with a particular emphasis on brain activity and potential neuroprotective action.
In addition, the effects of chocolate on mood will be considered. Bioavailability and penetration of flavanols into the brain Epicatechin is rapidly absorbed in humans and is detectable in plasma 30 min after ingestion. The overall effects of a daily regular consumption may potentially accumulate [ b16 ], mainly if absorbed in high doses [ b17 ].
Their permeability is proportional to their lipophilicity and inversely proportional to their degree of polarity. Catechin and epicatechin have been shown to cross the BBB in two BBB cell lines, one from rat and one from human origin.Feb 05, · Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort.
; – One study found that among adults ages 50 to 69, those taking a cocoa supplement with high flavanol content for three months had better performance on tests of memory than those assigned to take a low-flavanol cocoa supplement.
Review Article Is Chocolate the Ultimate Comfort Food? BR. evaluate the benefits of chocolate on the mood and cognitive functions. Cocoa, now is used as a contributed to health benefits Eating cocoa flavanols regularly, aided in improvement of.
Dec 17, · Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood In this study, the term “cocoa flavanols” is used to define the sum of all monomeric flavanols and their oligomeric derivatives (procyanidins) up to and including decamers (10 monomeric subunits). the moderate benefits in cognitive performance and insulin.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids (sometimes called flavanols), compounds that have been linked to improved cognitive performance in older adults.
Studies have shown that cocoa flavanols improve performance in healthy adults during sustained mental effort and may also protect against stroke. Cocoa flavanols (CF) influence physiological processes in ways that suggest their consumption may improve aspects of neural function, and previous studies have found positive influences of CF on cognitive performance.