Psychotropic, antioxidant, anti-stress ... chocolate is credited with many virtues. Are they true or fanciful? Update on the greed of treasure.
Besides his "good" fats, chocolate contains polyphenols, plant-based antioxidants. They are also found in fruits, legumes, tea or wine.
A proven antioxidant action
But according to recent studies, the antioxidant activity of chocolate is higher than that of other plants. Polyphenols prevent the oxidation of such "bad" cholesterol responsible for atherosclerosis.
The decreased blood pressure
"Chocolate Polyphenols also promote the dilation of arteries, Dr. Robert resumes and help lower blood pressure. Especially as the chocolate potassium content strengthens this action. "
Finally, these flavonoids act favorably on the content of arteries such as aspirin, they thin the blood, preventing blood clotting and the risk of clots.
Protective effects ... on what terms?
To fully benefit from the antioxidant properties of chocolate, should be preferred dark chocolate good, generous in cocoa. Namely, the chocolate milk is less rich in polyphenols, these being "trapped" in part by milk. As white chocolate, made without cocoa mass, he lacks! But what amount of chocolate ingested to keep his arteries? "Two squares of dark chocolate per day - less than 10 grams - enough" says nutritionist.
At the root of this, tests conducted by Dr. Dirk Taubert in 2005-2006 on people with slightly high pressure or mild hypertension.
Blood pressure decreases
After consuming daily for eighteen weeks, 6.3 grams of chocolate, they saw their systolic and diastolic blood pressure decrease without weight gain. Dr. Taubert said that in the general population, such a decline would be enough to drop by 5% the risk of cardiovascular death.
"To date, the action of the chocolate in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been confirmed by many studies, said Dr. Robert. Future research will undoubtedly on the protection of certain cancers ... "To be continued!
Chocolate, a mood booster?
Source of vitamins and minerals, chocolate also contains methylxanthines, chemicals tonic, stimulant and anti-stress.
It also contains phenylethylamine, a hormone of the class of amphetamines, which positively involved in the regulation of mood.
Too small amounts
The catch? It has been shown that in the chocolate, these substances are present in quantities too small to cause the desired psychotropic effect. The same goes for magnesium, important regulator of the nervous system: two dark chocolate bars would be needed to cover the daily requirements in a woman.
Chocolate, happy food
How then to explain the undeniable comforting effects of chocolate? "They are linked to the presence of sugar, a precursor in the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is known the positive impact on mood, meets Jean-Michel Lecerf, endocrinologist and nutritionist. The fatty association and sugar also stimulates the secretion of endorphins, the pain and soothing properties. "It is indeed because chocolate pleasantly tease our taste buds that it induces a feeling of well-being. Which gives it its reputation for food fun. Add to this a psychological dimension, chocolate is traditionally associated with childhood sweetness, family celebrations ...
No possible dependence!
"But contrary to what one could say, it is not addictive, says Dr. Hervé Robert, nutritionist. Since it contains no substances, in sufficient quantities, which may result in any addiction! "
Practical information for melted chocolate
- Workshops All Chocolate, proposed by the founder of ChocoLatitudes: tasting sessions, writing workshops ... 57, rue Daguerre, 75014 Paris, tel. : 01 42 18 49 02.
- Le Cordon Bleu: This centenary offers cooking school, the food lovers at Christmas and Easter, pastry workshops on chocolate. 8, rue Léon Delhomme 75015 Paris, tel. : 01 53 68 22 50.
- Animated by a passionate, this site dedicated to chocolate lovers is full of information. Include jumble tasting tips, good addresses throughout France, recipes, the "news" of chocolate.