Nutritional Information > EPICATECHIN & SERATONIN
Raw cacao has almost twice the antioxidants found in red wine and close to three times the antioxidants in green tea.
One of the flavonoids in raw cacao called epicatechin is gaining a reputation as a healing compound.
Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, explains that epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin. He has spent years studying the benefits of cocoa drinking on the Kuna people in Panama. He found that the risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes is reduced to less than 10% in the Kuna. They drink as many as 40 cups of cocoa a week.
Milk or white chocolate, on the other hand, are a poor option if you are seeking the great health benefits of flavanols. The milk in milk chocolate is thought to counteract the health effects of flavanols. Researchers in Italy and Scotland discovered that when milk is added into chocolate, it constrains its flavanols, interfering with their absorption. When the researchers had test subjects drink milk with their dark chocolate, there was none of the desired increase of flavanols in their bloodstream.
Eating raw cacao can raise a person's natural levels of serotonin and creates a good balancing effect. Often in cases of PMS, eating raw dark chocolate can raise the level of serotonin making one feel happy. Also, the phenyl ethylamine contained in raw cacao is a very low potency antidepressant. It is a mood enhancer that can give a sense of well-being. Researchers from Harvard Medical School note the "heavy intake of certain types of cocoa as an easy, inexpensive way to increase blood to the brain." The potential of flavanols contained in cacao for helping with cognition and memory is great.
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