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  1. In this post to a thread about nuts and mortality, I pointed out that the fatty acid profile in 'bakers chocolate' contains a significant amount of the (probably) harmful 16:0 (palmitic acid) saturated fatty acid than any of usual nuts/seeds that we normally consume, and in fact more than cheese. That got me started on an investigation on the composition, and potential health implications of various chocolate products. As everyone probably knows, the family of different chocolate products is extensive, and the processing that creates them is quite involved. Here is a handy flowchart showing the various steps and products in the chocolate processing pipeline: As you can see, the first step is the pods from the cacao plant are split open to separate the cacao beans, which are allowed to dry and ferment for a few days. These beans are the first edible form of chocolate, and are in fact how I get a significant amount of the chocolate I eat, purchased as 'raw' cacao beans from Nuts.com. Continuing with processing, these beans are split open to remove the 'nibs' and discard the shells, which are edible but mostly fiber (although see below!?) and so don't add much to what we consider the 'chocolaty goodness' - although I rather enjoy the crunchiness of the whole beans sometimes, in moderation of course . The nibs are then ground into what is called chocolate liquor, which is further separated into the fat-free cocoa powder (where most of the healthy polyphenols etc reside) and the cocoa fats called cocoa butter. This cocoa powder and cocoa butter are then mixed back together, along with various other ingredients, and tempered to form the wide variety of chocolate products that we know and love.We can make a list of the various, commonly consumed chocolate-containing products and their ingredients as follows: Cacao Beans = (unprocessed) cocoa powder + (unprocessed) cocoa butter + fiber Cacao Nibs = (roasted) cocoa powder + (roasted) cocoa butter Cocoa Powder = (unsurprisingly) cocoa powder Unsweetened bakers chocolate = (nearly) 100% cocoa powder + cocoa butter Dark Chocolate (70-85% cacao) = 70-85% from cocoa (powder and butter) + 15-30% from other stuff, mostly added sugar. Dark Chocolate (60-69% cacao) = 60-69% from cocoa (powder and butter) + 30-40% from other stuff, mostly added sugar. Milk Chocolate = Dark Chocolate Ingredients + milk or other dairy products With these seven forms of chocolate in mind, I became curious above the relative nutrient profiles of each. So I decided to try to build a scaled-down table like Zeta's table of nut nutrition, discussed in several threads, but the latest version of which (as of 11/7/2015) is available in this post. In fact, rather than reinventing the wheel, I figured I try to add these six additional items to Zeta's latest nut nutrition table (he already has included baker's chocolate). I realized I can't attach XLS files to posts, so I've emailed Zeta the updated table in case he wants to keep the chocolate items in it. But for the purpose of this post (comparing chocolate products) here is a stripped down, rearranged, slightly augmented version with only the chocolates, and only for the fields I was able to dig up and willing to enter (click to enlarge): First, the easy observation. If you are going to eat chocolate in bar form, the four bar options at the bottom show you're getting more chocolate (likely a mixed blessing since it includes the saturated fats) and less added sugar the darker the chocolate you eat. Not surprisingly, as you can see from the two green arrows, fat content drops, and sugar content increases, as you go down in cacao content. The manufacturers are basically substituting sugar (and other ingredients) for real chocolate components as you move away from the darkest form (unsweetened baking chocolate). So, ignoring the (controversial) saturated fat, from a health perspective its probably "the darker the chocolate the better". This web page has good information about the details of dark chocolate, for those interested in learning more about what "cocoa %" really means. Next, another easy observation. If you want to avoid the saturated fats in chocolate, but still get the healthy polyphenols etc, your best choice is to eat your chocolate in cocoa powder form. Without the fat, it is a lot less calorie dense, and has a lot more fiber than the various chocolates in bar form. Obviously palatability is an issue, but I find mixing it into coffee, perhaps with a little sweetener (I prefer erythritol or pure stevia), makes it quite pleasant. See the bottom of this post for other suggestions in this regard. Now the complicated bit. I was disappointed with the nutrition information I could find on the two least processed forms of chocolate - raw cacao beans and cacao nibs. If fact, I'm skeptical about the nutrition information for these two listed in the table above, especially for the beans. But let me first address the nibs. I expected the nibs to be pretty nearly equivalent to unsweetened baking chocolate in composition, and therefore nutrient content, believing baking chocolate to be (more or less) the melted down nibs formed into bars/squares. But at least if the available nutrition information is to be believed, this isn't the case. Somewhere between nibs and unsweetened baking chocolate, quite a bit of fiber is removed, and (perhaps) replaced by cocoa butter. As you can see from the kcal/g comparison of the two, the baking chocolate is significantly more calorie-dense than the nibs. So, if you're looking to get the good stuff from chocolate, while retaining the "mouth feel" of the fat chocolate normally contains, I'd say its better to go with the nibs rather than baking chocolate. With the nibs, you get more chocolatey-bang for your calorie-buck, and they are less refined than baking chocolate, which is probably a good thing. Finally, my personal favorite, the least refined of all, the raw cacao beans. As I said, I was disappointed with the dearth of nutrition information, and the conflicting information that is available. There is definitely something fishy, which you can see if you compare the beans with the nibs in the table above. The biggest red flag can be seen in the kcal/g comparison. According to the available nutrition information, the beans are more calorie-dense than the nibs. I'm virtually certain this isn't the case. First off, as you can see the nibs are where all the fat is - with the beans containing about half the total fat per 250kcal as the nibs. How can the beans be more calorie dense when they contain half the amount of the densest macronutrient? Something strange is going on. The second red flag with the bean data is that the fiber content per 250kcal is virtually identical between the beans and the nibs (17.9g vs. 17.3g). This seems crazy, since the difference between the dried beans and the nibs is that the beans contains both the nibs and the shells, and the shells have got to be relatively high in fiber. Finally, and most mysteriously, the nutrition data for the beans seems to be missing a whole lot of calories. If we use the (admittedly somewhat naive and inaccurate) Atwater equations for converting from grams of fat, net carbohydrates (i.e. total carbs - fiber) and protein to calories (i.e. calories = 9 * fat + 4 * net_carbs + 4 * protein) we get (9 * 12.5) + (4 * (25 - 17.9)) + (4 * 7.1) = 169.3 kcal. But according to the nutrition database, we're supposed to be looking at a 250kcal portion! So that's 1/3rd of the calories missing. Even if we give a calorie or two per gram for the fiber, there is still quite a few calories missing from the available nutrition data. In contrast, if we apply the basic Atwater equation to the nibs, we get 246.3 kcal for what is supposed to be a 250kcal portion size - i.e. almost perfect, even without adding any extra calories from fiber. So what I started out this investigation most interested in discovering, namely how the nutrition of raw cacao beans compares to other forms of chocolate, ends up being left pretty much unanswered. I'm going to continue to consume a mixture of (ground) cacao beans and cocoa powder (with more cocoa powder than beans) in my coffee, to get both the pleasure and the health benefits of chocolate. Speaking of health benefits, for anyone who's gotten this far, Dr. Greger just sent a good write-up on the cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate, with links his own recipes / strategies for getting the health benefits of chocolate without the saturated fat. --Dean
  2. Dean Pomerleau

    So Why Don't We Brew Our Olive Oil?

    All, Like Michael, I've got a huge backlog of posts I want to get to, and unlike Michael, I'm actually planning to get to them all. So I'm going to try to keep this one short. We'll see how that works out... OK - I admit brewing olive oil is a strange idea, and really a misnomer. The title is an allusion to a similar thread about chocolate/cacao - So Why Don't We Brew Our Chocolate? Brewing chocolate, instead of eating it, is a practice I've engaged in since that thread began in November, in order to get the health-promoting phytonutrients in cacao without the calories, refined sugar, saturated fat or heavy metals (e.g. cadmium) that chocolate products generally contain. Now, in researching this recent post for the cold exposure thread about the ability of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and olive leaf extract (OLE) to promote beneficial thermogenesis and the browning of white fat, I realized the same argument about brewing vs. eating can and perhaps should be made for olive polyphenols that I made for cacao polyphenols in the brewing chocolate thread. As we all know by now, EVOO may be one of the keys to the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, although it's merits relative to nuts & seeds is a perennial topic of debate on these forums. I personally come down on the side of nuts & seeds. But one thing I believe everyone can agree on, is that, while the MUFA in EVOO is relatively harmless compared to other forms of fat, the real reason EVOO is considered healthy are all the polyphenols it contains. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Michael (and other extremely health conscious individuals) wouldn't touch refined olive oil (without the polyphenols but with the MUFA) with a 10-foot pole - the polyphenols are that critical to EVOO's benefits. So if it's all about the polyphenols, why can't we get them without all the fat and calories of EVOO? It seems to me that we can, and in a form not much different in degree of refinement than EVOO. How you ask? Sure, we could eat olives. In fact store-bought olives have about 400mg/kg total polyphenols [1], higher than the minimum level Michael insists on for his high-quality, high-polyphenol EVOO (350 mg/kg). So if you aren't worried about the salt, store-bought olives might be a better option for getting your olive polyphenols, since kg-for-kg, calorie-for-calorie, and certainly dollar-for-dollar, they are a much better source of polyphenols. But before you go out and raid the antipasto bar at your local supermarket, one other potential shortcoming of olives is the fact that olives appears to maintain the same (or better) total polyphenol content as EVOO, the curing process used to debitter olives shifts which polyphenols are present. In particular, curing reduces the (bitter tasting) polyphenol oleuropein which is high in fresh olives (and high-quality EVOO), and replace it with two other derivative polyphenols, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. I'm not totally sure if this polyphenol shift is a step down or a step up, but it certain is a change, and most of the evidence for benefits of EVOO seem to point to the oleuropein (see below). So eating olives isn't the equivalent of eating EVOO, in terms of polyphenols (or salt or fat, obviously). So is there a better alternative to EVOO and olives that can provide the same (or higher) total polyphenol content, and in the same ratio as demonstrably healthy high-quality EVOO? Unfortunately, raw, uncured olives don't seem to be available, at least not on the biggest store in the world (Amazon). Anyone ever eaten them fresh off the tree? I bet they taste really bad. But there may be a better alternative, in the form of olive leaves and olive leaf tea. Now would be a good time for anyone who hasn't read it to check out my recent post to the cold exposure thread about how olive polyphenols turn white fat cells to brown/beige, increasing thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, SIRT1 and AMPK as additional nice side effects. In short, olive polyphenols cured what ailed these white fat cells. But what really caught my attention about that study (PMID 27303302), was the method they used to obtain the olive polyphenols. They took fresh picked olive leaves, dried them, soaked them in hot (80 °C) water for 24 hours, strained out the leaf solids, and then concentrated the resulting liquid by removing much of the water. to create Olive Leaf Extract (OLE). In short, they made a tea from olive leaves, which they and others call Olive Leaf Extract (OLE). How do the polyphenols concentration and ratio in OLE compare with high-quality EVOO? The details are in that post, so I won't repeat them here. But to summarize, unlike cured olives, but like EVOO, Oleuropein was the most abundant polyphenol in OLE, along with (apparently) all the other major polyphenols in EVOO. So how much polyphenols are there in OLE? The authors of that study found their olive leaf tea concentrate (OLE) contained 40mg of total phenolics per gram. That equates to 40,000mg/kg (40g/kg) of polyphenols, or about two orders of magnitude higher concentration of polyphenols in the OLE than in Michael's top-notch olive oils or in cured olives themselves. So OLE, at least the way these researchers prepared it, is pretty potent stuff - a little goes a long way! So what about benefits of OLE vs. EVOO? As I discussed in detail in the cold exposure post above, OLE appears to boost BAT activity both in vitro and in vivo, just like EVOO. It looks like the polyphenol oleuropein, rich in EVOO and especially rich in OLE, is where the cardioprotective and neuroprotective effects come from [3]. LEF has a good review article with references to all the benefits of OLE and oleuropein, including improvements in blood pressure, arterial health, brain health, diabetes risk, cancer risk, and arthritis. But you might be saying - I like to eat whole foods, and olive leaf extract doesn't seem to qualify. Obviously EVOO, even of highest quality, isn't a whole food either. In fact, EVOO and OLE are quite similar, except the former has a lot more fat. And clearly green tea, coffee, or cocoa powder aren't whole foods either, but people around here generally consider them quite healthy. You may be saying by now "OK Dean, you've piqued my interest. How can I get my hands on some of this OLE stuff?" Not surprisingly, LEF and other nutraceutical vendors sells it in capsule form. For $0.36, one LEF OLE capsule contains 80mg of oleuropein among other polyphenols, the equivalent amount in about 200ml of the very highest quality EVOO, according to this table. That amount of high-quality EVOO will cost you about $8, and 1800 calories. Seems like a pretty good bargain to me... For those of you (like me) who'd rather not get your nutrition from pills if you can help it, you can buy dried olive leaves inexpensively in whole or powder form, for making tea. One benefit of being so busy posting about other topics, is that this post about OLE was delayed for a few days since I made the post over on the cold exposure thread which brought OLE to my attention. That gave me time to put my money where my mouth is, by ordering, receiving and testing out the Frontier organic whole olive leaf powder linked to above. All I can say is that if oleuropein is what makes EVOO and OLE bitter (and healthy), this stuff has a lot of oleuropein! Eating even a tiny pinch straight is not pleasant - to put it mildly. Fortunately as we saw above, it doesn't take much. I'm now adding just a pinch per day of olive leaf powder to my coffee/tea/cacao concoction, which has enough flavors in it that I don't even notice the OLE's unpleasant taste. Plus by cold brewing it overnight, warm brewing it briefly in the morning, and filtering the heck out of it, I'm eliminating any nastiness left in the solids. The powder I purchased are supposed to be from organic olive leaves, but who knows... Just like with cadmium from the soil in cacao, lead in tea leaves etc. In summary, if you are interested in the benefits of the highest quality olive oil, without the financial or calorie burden, you might seriously consider olive leaf extract or olive leaf tea as alternatives. I'm curious, has anyone else tried olive leaf products, and if so (or even if not), what do you think? --Dean --------- [1] J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Feb 11;52(3):479-84. Effect of cultivar and processing method on the contents of polyphenols in table olives. Romero C(1), Brenes M, Yousfi K, García P, García A, Garrido A. Author information: (1)Food Biotechnology Department, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), Avenida Padre García Tejero 4, Seville, Spain. Full text: http://sci-hub.cc/10.1021/jf030525l Polyphenols were determined by HPLC in the juice and oil of packed table olives. The phenolic compositions of the two phases were very different, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol being the main polyphenols in olive juice and tyrosol acetate, hydroxtyrosol acetate, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and lignans (1-acetoxypinoresinol and pinoresinol) in oil. The type of processing had a marked influence on the concentration of polyphenols in olive juice and little on the content in oil. The analyses carried out on 48 samples showed that turning color olives in brine had the highest concentration in polyphenols ( approximately 1200 mg/kg), whereas oxidized olives had the lowest ( approximately 200 mg/kg). Among olive cultivars, Manzanilla had a higher concentration than Hojiblanca and Gordal. The type of olive presentation also influenced the concentration of polyphenols in olives, decreasing in the order plain > pitted > stuffed. The results obtained in this work indicate that table olives can be considered a good source of phenolic antioxidants, although their concentration depends on olive cultivar and processing method. PMID: 14759136 ----------- [2] J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jul 25;60(29):7081-95. doi: 10.1021/jf3017699. Epub 2012 Jul 11. Factors influencing phenolic compounds in table olives (Olea europaea). Charoenprasert S(1), Mitchell A. Author information: (1)Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States. The Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular and Alzheimer's diseases. Olive products (mainly olive oil and table olives) are important components of the Mediterranean diet. Olives contain a range of phenolic compounds; these natural antioxidants may contribute to the prevention of these chronic conditions. Consequently, the consumption of table olives and olive oil continues to increase worldwide by health-conscious consumers. There are numerous factors that can affect the phenolics in table olives including the cultivar, degree of ripening, and, importantly, the methods used for curing and processing table olives. The predominant phenolic compound found in fresh olive is the bitter secoiridoid oleuropein. Table olive processing decreases levels of oleuropein with concomitant increases in the hydrolysis products hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. Many of the health benefits reported for olives are thought to be associated with the levels of hydroxytyrosol. Herein the pre- and post-harvest factors influencing the phenolics in olives, debittering methods, and health benefits of phenolics in table olives are reviewed. PMID: 22720792 --------- [3] Saudi Pharm J. 2010 Jul;18(3):111-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jsps.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 May 31. Cardioprotective and neuroprotective roles of oleuropein in olive. Omar SH(1). Author information: (1)College of Pharmacy, Qassim University, P.O. Box 31922, Buraidah-51418, Saudi Arabia. Traditional diets of people living in the Mediterranean basin are, among other components, very rich in extra-virgin olive oil, the most typical source of visible fat. Olive is a priceless source of monounsaturated and di-unsaturated fatty acids, polyphenolic antioxidants and vitamins. Oleuropein is the main glycoside in olives and is responsible for the bitter taste of immature and unprocessed olives. Chemically, oleuropein is the ester of elenolic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl ethanol, which possesses beneficial effects on human health, such as antioxidant, antiatherogenic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. The phenolic fraction extracted from the leaves of the olive tree, which contains significant amounts of oleuropein, prevents lipoprotein oxidation. In addition, oleuropein has shown cardioprotective effect against acute adriamycin cardiotoxicity and an anti-ischemic and hypolipidemic activities. Recently, oleuropein has shown neuroprotection by forming a non-covalent complex with the Aβ peptide, which is a key hallmark of several degenerative diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson. Thus, a large mass of research has been accumulating in the area of olive oil, in the attempt to provide evidence for the health benefits of olive oil consumption and to scientifically support the widespread adoption of traditional Mediterranean diet as a model of healthy eating. These results provide a molecular basis for some of the benefits potentially coming from oleuropein consumption and pave the way to further studies on the possible pharmacological use of oleuropein to prevent or to slow down the cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. PMCID: PMC3730992 PMID: 23964170
  3. I'm starting this thread mainly to have some fun. Deep ruby of course refers to the intense ruby colour of hi TPs (total polyphenols) red wines. In this thread we may post an image of the bottle we are drinking now. I'm starting with a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (local grape variety grown in my area, which, with its hilly morphology, is very favourable to vineyards and olive orchards). This wine is moderately strong and tasty, 14.5% alcohol, I don't know its polyphenol content but it should be in the region of 2000 mg/L, it has been aged in oak barrels so it should contain the valuable acutissimin A. Since I read about this phenolic compound, probably I'm no longer going to drink wines which have not been aged in oak. Probably I won't be able to finish the bottle in 7 days, after which the wine is going to oxydize. What the heck, I'm going to throw it away and open another bottle! But probably I'm going to buy the coravin contraption to stop the waste. Translation from google:
  4. Allegedly, the seasoning of wine (esp red wine) in oak barrels provides further benefits: From teh wiki voice
  5. Dean Pomerleau

    So Why Don't We Brew Our Chocolate?

    All, So (dark) chocolate and other cacao-derived products (i.e. cacao beans, nibs, cocoa powder) have a lot of beneficial phytochemicals (polyphenols, flavonols, etc). These have been shown to be beneficial for both the cardiovascular system and the brain - this is pretty well established, so I'm not including references (I know you are disappointed...). Alright - maybe one reference [2] - a review of CVD benefits of chocolate. Later... - here is another [4], on brain benefits of chocolate. But as we've discussed recently, these chocolate products have some things we'd rather avoid ingesting, including saturated fat (except for cocoa powder), and potential heavy metal contaminants, especially cadmium. What other food items have this same "take the good with the bad" quality? Two spring to mind - coffee and tea. But in these two cases, we don't take the good with the bad. We process them in such a way as to get the good without the bad. I was reminded of this today when responding to this post on the potential heavy metal contamination associated with consuming matcha green tea - where the tradition is to eat the tea leaves. By brewing green tea, and discarding the leaves, we retain the beneficial tea polyphenols but eliminate the heavy metals. Similarly, in this discussion we talked about getting the benefits of coffee beans by brewing and then filtering them, with paper (or possibly? metal) filters to eliminates the cholesterol-raising diterpenes cafestol and kahweol that the beans naturally contain, while retaining the health-promoting phytochemicals in coffee. So why don't we do the same thing for chocolate? Namely, why don't we grind, brew and filter the coffee beans to extract that beneficial polyphenols into the water, while leaving (most?) of the heavy metals and saturated fat in the solid "chocolate grounds"? Well, I can think of one possible reason we don't do this - we like the taste and mouth feel of actually eating the chocolate. But putting that (admittedly big deterrent for some) aside, is there reason to believe this strategy wouldn't work to get most of the health benefits of chocolate without the potential downsides of heavy metals and saturated fat, not to mention the extra calories? First, regarding eliminating the 'bad stuff' by brewing and filtering chocolate. For heavy metals, it would seem no different from tea or coffee. Since the heavy metals appear to remain locked in the plant matrix of the discarded solids (coffee grounds or tea leaves), I see no good reason to think it would be different with the heavy metal contaminants in cacao beans. Anyone think otherwise? Regarding the other 'bad stuff' in cacao / chocolate - the saturated fat. Its hard to find nutrition information on coffee beans (as eaten) - without any chocolate coating... CRON-O-Meter comes up empty. But I did find two references to the calories in coffee beans themselves. The first lists 100g of coffee beans as having 406kcal, 10.2g of fat, with 4.8g of it saturated. Not too far from raw cacao beans in fact. The second also listed 10g of fat per 100g of beans, with somewhat fewer calories (300kcal). Either way, these illustrate that coffee beans themselves contain a lot of fat, but as we all know, brewed coffee has virtually none. So clearly fat doesn't get extracted to the liquid as a result of brewing and filtering coffee beans, so I would expect the same for cacao beans - right? What about the other side of the equation - should we expect the 'good stuff' in chocolate to get extracted to the water when brewed and filtered, like it does for tea and coffee? Again - I don't see why not. As I understand it, based on information from [2] (a very good source of info about polyphenols in cacao, BTW) and [3] (also a good source), the taxonomy of beneficial phytochemicals (with special emphasis on those in cacao) goes something like this: All Phytochemicals All Polyphenols All Flavonoids All proanthocyanidin? All Flavanols catechins - in either monomeric or multimeric (procyanidin) forms epicatechins - in either monomeric or multimeric (procyanidin) forms ... ... See here for list ... .. Note: I'm not exactly sure about this taxonomy, especially where proanthocyanidin fits in - the literature is very confusing. But the important thing is that the main phytochemicals in cacao are catechins and epicatechins, which should be familiar to people. They are (among) the healthy phytochemicals found in green tea. So clearly if they are water-soluble in green tea, they should be water soluble in ground cacao beans as well, it would seem. So, as a result of all this, it seems logical to me that grinding, brewing and filtering cacao beans should get rid of the bad stuff (heavy metals, saturated fat, and calories) and extract the good stuff (the polyphenols) into the resulting watery brew. Note - I should have said this earlier, we aren't talking about brewing hot chocolate here - where the cocoa powder is mixed in with the liquid and consumed. We're brewing ground cacao beans, filtering (with a paper filter) to separate the liquid from the grounds, then discarding the grounds and drinking the coffee-like chocolate brew. But what to do with the beans before grinding them? In particular, should they be roasted, like coffee beans are? Perhaps to reduce bitterness, but if one wants to maximize polyphenols, it seems from [1] that grinding raw beans would be best. You won't be surprised to learn that this isn't a novel idea. In fact, there are several commercially-available products for brewing cacao as you would coffee. The two most popular are Crio Bru and Choffy (cute name!). They are both a bit more expensive than coffee, although pretty close to the price of premium coffee beans. Not surprisingly, they are both roasted, presumably to improve flavor and reduce bitterness. They recommend using a french press to brew, which I have, but I wonder if the Aeropress will work as well (Choffy's website says yes! and gives instructions). Here is a good overview from a "chocolate geek" about brewing chocolate, including a review of Crio Bru and Choffy products. It sounds very promising, and not hard to do. You can also buy ground brewing chocolate from his website as well. In the long-run if I like it and the above reasoning isn't shot down..., I'll probably grind my own raw beans or lightly roast the beans myself before grinding (I've roasted coffee beans before using an air popcorn popper - its a piece of cake). But for now, I've ordered one of the Crio Bru varieties from Amazon (Choffy was more expensive and not available via Amazon Prime). It should arrive in a couple days and I'll let you know what it is like relative to coffee. In the meantime, I'm very curious about what other people think of this idea. I can certainly imagine people balking at the diminished enjoyment of drinking coffee-like chocolate rather than eating the 'real thing' or even drinking cocoa, but I'm most interested about people's thoughts on the health angle. Also if you've ever actually tried brewed chocolate, I'd love to hear what you think! --Dean ------------ [1] Food Chem. 2015 May 1;174:256-62. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.11.019. Epub 2014 Nov 8. Flavanols, proanthocyanidins and antioxidant activity changes during cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) roasting as affected by temperature and time of processing. Ioannone F(1), Di Mattia CD(2), De Gregorio M(2), Sergi M(2), Serafini M(3), Sacchetti G(4). The effect of roasting on the content of flavanols and proanthocyanidins and on the antioxidant activity of cocoa beans was investigated. Cocoa beans were roasted at three temperatures (125, 135 and 145 °C), for different times, to reach moisture contents of about 2 g 100 g(-1). Flavanols and proanthocyanidins were determined, and the antioxidant activity was tested by total phenolic index (TPI), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and total radical trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) methods. The rates of flavanol and total proanthocyanidin loss increased with roasting temperatures. Moisture content of the roasted beans being equal, high temperature-short time processes minimised proanthocyanidins loss. Moisture content being equal, the average roasting temperature (135 °C) determined the highest TPI and FRAP values and the highest temperature (145 °C) determined the lowest TPI values. Moisture content being equal, low temperature-long time roasting processes maximised the chain-breaking activity, as determined by the TRAP method. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. PMID: 25529678 ---------------- [2] Nutrients. 2014 Feb 21;6(2):844-80. doi: 10.3390/nu6020844. Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory markers of cardiovascular disease. Khan N(1), Khymenets O(2), Urpí-Sardà M(3), Tulipani S(4), Garcia-Aloy M(5), Full text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942736/ Monagas M(6), Mora-Cubillos X(7), Llorach R(8), Andres-Lacueva C(9). Epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of plant-derived food intake in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The potential bioactivity of cocoa and its polyphenolic components in modulating cardiovascular health is now being studied worldwide and continues to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, the high polyphenol content of cocoa is of particular interest from the nutritional and pharmacological viewpoints. Cocoa polyphenols are shown to possess a range of cardiovascular-protective properties, and can play a meaningful role through modulating different inflammatory markers involved in atherosclerosis. Accumulated evidence on related anti-inflammatory effects of cocoa polyphenols is summarized in the present review. PMCID: PMC3942736 PMID: 24566441 [3] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/590371 Quoting from it: The main flavanols present in the cocoa powder are catechins and epicatechins in either monomeric or multimeric (procyanidin) forms. --------[4] http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2014/10/26/flavanols-memory-decline/ "Dietary cocoa flavanols—naturally occurring bioactives found in cocoa—reversed age-related memory decline in healthy older adults, according to a study led by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) scientists. The study, published today in the advance online issue of Nature Neuroscience, provides the first direct evidence that one component of age-related memory decline in humans is caused by changes in a specific region of the brain and that this form of memory decline can be improved by a dietary intervention."
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