Contributing Monkie GreenChef Staff Monkies
Published on February 16, 2007
I keep hearing about these raw chocolate parties everywhere now. Now 3 time Grammy nominated artist, India Arie said at The Roots Pre-Grammy 2007 Jam that she just went to one too. I have yet to go to one, although they sound wonderful. I love chocolate! I wonder if everything they serve at these parties includes chocolate in it, including all the drinks and all the food and deserts. Chocolate Martini anyone? India also said that her entire diet is Organic. Lots of recipes in GreenChefs feature raw chocolate in them. You can buy raw cacao nibs (cocoa) or powder online or at Whole Foods Markets.
Here is a little bit of information online on cacao and raw chocolate:
Cacao As A Superfood
Cacao beans contain over 300 chemically identifiable compounds making it one of the most complex food substances on Earth!
Substances in chocolate that have been discussed in the scientific literature as pharmacologically significant, include: anandamide (bliss chemical), arginine (nature’s Viagra), dopamine (neurotransmitter), epicatechins (antioxidants), histamine, magnesium, serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter), tryptophan (anti-depressant amino acid), phenylethylamine (PEA), polyphenols (antioxidants), tyramine, and salsolinol.
Dr. Bernard Jensen’s research on the heart indicates that this organ requires two minerals more than any other, magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is concentrated eighteen times greater in the heart muscle than in the bloodstream. Magnesium is the primarily mineral missing when heart problems occur. Magnesium increases the overall vigor of the heart muscle. This mineral also decreases blood coagulation thus lowering blood pressure and helping the heart pump more effectively. Cacao, of course, is a fantastic food source of heart-supporting magnesium.
According to research cited in The New York Times, fresh cacao beans are super-rich in antioxidant flavonols. Cacao beans contain 10,000 milligrams (10 grams) per 100 grams of flavonol antioxidants. This is a whopping 10% antioxidant concentration level! This makes cacao one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. Compare the cacao bean to processed cocoa powder (defatted, roasted cacao treated with potassium carbonate) and chocolates which range in flavonol content from the more common concentration of 500 milligrams per 100 grams in normal chocolate bars to 5,000 milligrams in Mars Corporation’s special Cocoapro cocoa powder.
Research has demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism.
Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Their findings were published in an article entitled “Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine,” found in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication.
Scientists have known that cocoa contains significant antioxidants, but no one knew just how rich they were compared with those in red wine and green tea.
The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of antioxidant compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE.
Antioxidant ORAC levels per 100 grams:
dark chocolate – 13,120
milk chocolate – 6,740
prunes – 5,770
raisins – 2,830
blueberries – 2,400
blackberries – 2036
kale – 1,770
strawberries – 1540
spinach – 1260
raspberries – 1220
brussel sprouts – 980
plums – 949
alfalfa sprouts – 930
broccoli – 890
The ORAC test examines the antioxidant levels of various foods. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food. Source: US Department of Agriculture / Journal of the American Chemical Society
Dairy Products and Antioxidants
Cacao and dark chocolate boost antioxidants; however, the addition of dairy products/milk cancels out the effects of antioxidants. Studies indicate that dairy products specifically block the absorption of all the great antioxidants in chocolate!