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Chocolate: the Food of the Gods?

C. Hayes, K. Gery, N. Harris, A. Stackhouse, M. Girton Bastyr University

Chocolates Role in
Health:
Eating a small amount of
dark chocolate every
day:
Improves vascular
function1,2
Lowers blood pressure3
Increases insulin
sensitivity, reducing
the risk of diabetes4
Decreases the risk for
CVD by promoting
healthy blood flow and
preventing plaque
build up5,6
Promotes healthy gut
bacteria, providing an
anti-inflammatory
effect7
Finally, chocolate is
considered the third
Health
Risks: of
highest
contributor
antioxidants to the
No adverse
American
diet8effects
have been observed
from eating chocolate
or cocoa products9
Supplementing with
polyphenols may pose
some risk, since safe
levels have not been
established9

Availability in the
Marketplace:
Chocolate and cocoa
products are widely
available10
The higher the cocoa
content, the more
beneficial compounds it
contains, i.e. cocoa nibs
or 70% dark chocolate9
There is a high variability
in the polyphenol content
of chocolate depending
upon the brand9
In 2009, 7.2 million tons
of chocolate was
consumed worldwide10
Projected consumption
for 2020 is 8.5 million
tons10

Bioavailability of
Flavonoids in Chocolate:
Growing Conditions:
Under low water and high
heat, cocoa plants produce
higher levels of
flavonoids11,12
Processing & Storage:
Fermentation, roasting and
alkalizing reduces
flavonoid content11,12
Cooking Method:
Processing
and Loss of
Table
Heat 1.
reduces
flavonoid
13
9
Polyphenols
content
Process
Polyphenol
Reduction
Fermentatio
n

50%

Roasting

25%

Alkalisation

10%

Liquid
storage

5%

Bioactive Compounds
in Chocolate:
Flavonols:
Quercetin: 25 mg/100g
dark chocolate14

Figure 1. Global Cocoa Trade


Organizations15

http://
phenol-explorer.eu/contents/p
olyphenol/291

Flavanols:
catechin: 20.5mg/100g
epicatechin:
70.36mg/100g14

http://

Where do the nibs


originate? Cacao
Pods:

Chicken Mole Recipe


A savory recipe featuring the deep chocolate flavor
of cocoa nibs, this chicken mole is a hearty family
dinner recipe that also makes a scrumptious dish for
guests. Serve with white or brown rice. Serves 6.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes,
drained
1 green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
2 poblanos, seeded, chopped
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons almond butter
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds for garnish
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat two tablespoons oil in a medium saut pan
over medium heat. Add onion and saut until
translucent.
3. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander and
cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for two minutes.
4. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, broth, almond
butter and cocoa nibs, stirring to combine.
Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. Puree
sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Set aside.
5. Heat remaining oil in a large saut pan over
medium-heat and sear the chicken, browning both
sides.
6. Place chicken in a single layer in prepared
casserole dish and pour mole sauce over the top.
Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 45 minutes

Figure 2. Cocoa Pods17

Figure 3. Workers harvesting Cocoa


Pods, Ghana18

Cooking Theobroma
cacao

1. Cocoa Beans are


sourced from around the
world.

4. The WINNOWER
separates the husk from
the nibs

NI
B

2. The DESTONER cleans


the exterior of the beans

The STONE MILL


crushes the nibs into
a paste
at
ol
oc
e or
qu
Li

8. The REFINER reduces


the particle size of the
sugar

7.

In the MIXER sugar


and/or milk powder is
added
Figure 4. Theobroma cocao Cooking
19

6. The BALL MILL


reduces the size of the
cocoa solids

5.

Ch

3. The ROASTER
removed humidity and
develops flavor

a
co red
Co de
w
Po

9.

The CONCHE reduces


the acid through
e
at
circulation and oxidation
ol
oc rs
Ch Ba

10.

Chocolate is moved
to holding tank awaiting
molding, cooling, &
wrapping.

References
1. Grassi D, Desideri G, Necozione S, et al. Protective effects of flavanol-rich dark chocolate on endothelial function and
wave reflection during acute hyperglycemia. Hypertension. 2012;60(3):827-832.
doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193995.
2. Pereira T, Maldonado J, Laranjeiro M, et al. Central arterial hemodynamic effects of dark chocolate ingestion in young
healthy people: a randomized and controlled trial. Cardiol Res Pract. 2014;2014:945951. doi:10.1155/2014/945951.
3. Ried K, Sullivan TR, Fakler P, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. Cochrane database Syst Rev.
2012;8:CD008893. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub2.
4. Dark chocolate rich in polyphenols improves insulin sensitivity in the adult non-diabetic population. Endocrine
Abstracts(2014). 34:P206DOI:10.1530/endoabs.34.P206
5. Erdman JWJ, Carson L, Kwik-Uribe C, Evans EM, Allen RR. Effects of cocoa flavanols on risk factors for cardiovascular
disease. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:284-287.
6. Hooper L, Kay C, Abdelhamid A, et al. Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a
systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(3):740-751.
doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.023457.
7. Why Is Dark Chocolate Good for You? Thank Your Microbes http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-dark-chocolate-good-for-you-thank-your-microbes/
8. Vinson JA, Proch J, Bose P, et al. Chocolate is a powerful ex vivo and in vivo antioxidant, an antiatherosclerotic agent in
an animal model, and a significant contributor to antioxidants in the European and American Diets. J Agric Food Chem.
2006;54(21):8071-8076. doi:10.1021/jf062175j.
9. Rusconi M, Conti A. Theobroma cacao L., the Food of the Gods: A scientific approach beyond myths and claims.
Pharmacological Research. 2010;61(1):5-13. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2009.08.008.
10. Statista. Consumption of chocolate worldwide 1999-2020 | Statistic. 2015. Available at:
http://www.statista.com/statistics/238849/global-chocolate-consumption/. AccessedJune 4, 2015.
11. Wypyszyk, S. Vice President Theo Innovations. (2015, June 3). Telephone interview by Amy Stackhouse.
12. Oracz J, Zyzelewicz D, Nebesny E. The Content of Polyphenolic Compounds in Cocoa Beans ( Theobroma cacao L.),
Depending on Variety, Growing Region, and Processing Operations: A Review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and
Nutrition. 2013;55(9):1176-1192. doi:10.1080/10408398.2012.686934.
13. Kazaks, A. Slides Cocoa Polyphenols. Bastyr University. 2015;36.
14. Neveu V, Perez-Jimnez J, Vos F, Crespy V, du Chaffaut L, Mennen L, Knox C, E isner R, Cruz J, Wishart D, Scalbert A.
(2010) Phenol-Explorer: an online comprehensive database on polyphenol contents in foods. Database, doi:
10.1093/database/bap024.Full text (free access)
15. The Political Geography of Chocolate. Political Geography Now Web site. http://
www.polgeonow.com/2013/02/the-political-geography-of-chocolate.html .Published February 13, 2013. Accessed June 3,
2015.
16. Michele Borboa, MS. Cooking with Cocoa Nibs. She Knows Web site. http://
www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/952169/cooking-with-cocoa-nibs/page:2. Published March 7, 2012. Accessed
June 3, 2015.
17. The Cocoa Tree. The Story of Chocolate Website. http://