The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Health Benefits of Chocolate


health benefits of chocolate

How to Live Longer: Eat Chocolate

Yes, I thought I should start with the best overall benefit of eating chocolate – you will live longer!

A study of 7,800 men by researchers Dr. I-Min Lee, and Dr. Ralph S. Paffenbarger Jr., of the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts found eating a few pieces of chocolate every month may make your life both sweeter and longer.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal December 19, 1998

The specifics found that eating chocolate improved life expectancy overall, with the best amount being  a few time a month.  Eating it daily was not as good, but better than not eating it at all!


Chocolate is Good For the Brain and Heart

There are a number of reasons why chocolate is good for the brain.

First of it boosts the  neurotransmitters called serotonin and dopamine. Neurotransmitters are specific molecules that allow our rains and nervous systems to work.  Dopamine and serotonin for instance are needed for feelings of happiness and well-being, as well as motivation and concentration, and for dopamine – strong physical reflexes.

Other chemicals in chocolate that may prove healthy for the brain are flavanols.

Several studies have indicated that flavanols could improve blood vessel function.

For example, research has shown that the indigenous population living on islands near Panama, who consume a type of cocoa rich in flavanols on a daily basis, also experience unusually low rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

The relative risk of death from heart disease on the Panama mainland is 1,280 percent higher than on the islands.

These benefits might also extend to the brain, and could have effects on learning and memory. British researchers studied the results on the brains of young women by studying their brains via magnetic resonance imaging while completing a complex task.

Consumption of the special cocoa resulted in regional changes in brain blood flow for as long as three hours, meaning that cocoa flavanols may have potential as a treatment of vascular damage within the brain.

Excerpt from

The specific flavanol that is responsible for the vascular benefits the Kuna Indians mentioned above experience is epicatechin.  Epicatechin works by improving nitric oxide levels in the blood – something already linked with better cardiovascular health.


Chocolate is Great for Your Muscles

Further studies into the flavanol epicatechin reveal that not only does it boost nitric oxide, it also increases the number of mitochondria.  Mitochondria are our power stations, tiny components of each of our cells that turn chemicals into energy!

Chocolate is Good for Muscles

The research was carried out by scientists from Wayne State University who discovered that epicatechin seems to trigger the same muscle response as vigorous activity such as jogging.

Additionally, when small doses of chocolate are consumed in combination with regular exercise, performance is increased by 50 percent, the study found.

“Mitochondria produce energy which is used by the cells in the body. More mitochondria mean more energy is produced the more work can be performed,” study leader Dr. Moh Malek at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, told the UK Telegraph.

“Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response – particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles,” he added.

The study is published September 14 in the Journal of Physiology, and you can read more about it here –

More on the Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate can also help prevent a heart attack by lowering levels of inflammation in the body (measured by C reactive protein). 15g of dark chocolate a day also helps chronic fatigue syndrome, lower blood pressure, and even seems to be good for insulin too!

1. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost twice as strong as red wine. Cocoa’s concentration was two to three times stronger than that of green tea and four to five times stronger than that of black tea.

2. Professor Chang Yong Lee, the leader of the Cornell study, added that the “hot” in “hot chocolate” is important as well. More antioxidants are released when it’s heated up.

3. A cup of hot cocoa contains 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE). The antioxidant gallic acid is used to treat internal hemorrhages, albuminuria (the presence of albumin in the urine, which can indicate kidney disease) and diabetes.

4. Although a regular bar of chocolate has strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits may be outweighed because of the saturated fats present — cocoa generally has much less fat per serving compared to the 8 grams of fat in a standard chocolate bar.

5. The flavonoids help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.

6. The flavonoids in hot chocolate also help prevent platelets in your blood from mingling together and forming clots.

7. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, drinking hot chocolate can help you think better too. The flavonoids increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Since dementia is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the brain, researchers think it could be treated with cocoa.


Epicatechin Health Benefits Rival Penicillin

Not as an antibiotic, but in it’s overall use to prevent death and disease.

Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, states that epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin.


Hollenberg spent years studying the benefits of cocoa drinking on the Kuna people in Panama. He found that the risk of 4 of the 5 most common killer diseases: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, is reduced to less then 10% in the Kuna. They can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa a week. Natural cocoa has high levels of epicatechin.

‘If these observations predict the future, then we can say without blushing that they are among the most important observations in the history of medicine,’ Hollenberg says. ‘We all agree that penicillin and anaesthesia are enormously important. But epicatechin could potentially get rid of 4 of the 5 most common diseases in the western world, how important does that make epicatechin?… I would say very important’

health benefits of dark chocolate

Now the Bad News

Flavanols like epicatechin are often removed from commercial cocoas because they tend to have a bitter taste. So there is huge scope for nutritional companies to develop epicatechin supplements or capsules

Epicatechin is also found in teas, wine, and some fruit and vegetables.

One chocolate bar that definitely has the wonder ingredient is the Dove Dark Chocolate bar, sold in other countries such as the UK, under the name Galaxy! (You have to get the dark chocolate version of Galaxy)

the health benefits of chocolate

Stress Reduction Techniques: Breathing

“Pain Hurts, but Stress Kills”

While people may be able to pop a pill for pain, stress lingers in the system slowly shutting down vital organs.

Sounds terrible, but it’s true.

Many of today’s causes of pain – neck pain , back pain and headaches – are commonly caused by stress. So while a pain killer may block one of the symptoms of stress it allows the problem to fester.

This is why it is so important to seek professional help when you have pain, rather than trying to treat it yourself.

I am biased, but the best professionals to go to first when you have pain, or stress, is a chiropractor or osteopath.

What Stress Reduction Techniques do chiropractors and osteopaths offer?

Well, apart from finding the true cause of your pain, osteopaths and chiropractors work on stress by default. Every level of your spine is connected to a pleasure/reward centre which shuts of stress. Spinal motion also helps calm the stress centres of the brain. Even just the touch of a hand on your body starts shutting down stress.
No pain killer can do any of the above.

What if you can’t get to a chiropactor or osteopath?

Try simple breathing techniques.
There are a number of simple ones to try. Start with making your in breath the same length of time as your out breath. Try this for ten breaths.
Next try making your out breath twice as long as your in breath. This should help relax your nervous system

Put Stress Reduction Techniques into Youtube as a search term and see what comes up. There are hundreds of useful tips there.

Hertfordshire Chiropractor Chris Pickard has recently released a number of stress reduction tips on video.

You can watch the first Breathing technique on his website, just click the link – Stress Reduction Techniques

Headache Help From Hertfordshire Chiropractor

Headaches and migraines are a major pain in the neck.


Years of practice experience have taught Hertfordshire Chiropractor Chris Pickard that a majority of headaches are caused by curable neck problems.

The Hertfordshire Chiropractor has also found that some migraines have been misdiagnosed and are also due to neck problems rather than vascular ones.

There are many types of headaches, the most common being ‘tension headaches’ which are the most likely to have spinal causes.

As the stress and tension of poor posture builds up in the neck it causes the shoulders, and the muscles at the back of the head to tense up. These muscles can then cause headaches in a number of ways. One is they directly refer pain to the head. Another is that they can pinch nerves going over the top of the head called the occipital nerves.

Massage can then relieve tension in the muscles and therefore ease the headaches.

If you have had headaches for a long time though it is likely that the neck joints themselves have become stiff. This means that while massage may relieve the headache, it does not work for long, or maybe not at all. The only way to get these joints moving again is with specific chiropractic adjustments.

Once the joints are moving again, corrective exercises can be given.

If the repeated stress in the muscles is caused by more emotional tension then relaxation techniques and other coping strategies will be needed, but chiropractic will help even these as it can help ‘turn off’ the stress receptors in the brain.

There are of course other causes of headaches other than neck problems that are also curable. These include jaw misalignments, nutritional deficiencies and poor breathing patterns. You can find more details about these on the website of Hertfordshire Chiropractor Chris Pickard –

Even if you have tried chiropractic or osteopathy before, it could be worth calling the Pain relief Centre to see what they think.

Hertfordshire Chiropractor Treats Stress

Stress is recognised as a leading cause of many chronic illnesses and ‘sick days’ costing the NHS and UK business billions of pounds a year. Stress is linked to back pain, neck pain, headaches, heart disease and cancer, destroying people’s mental and physical health.

Although stress can be avoided, many times we have to learn to adapt to it, and there are tools and strategies to lessen its impact on your health.

Most cope with today’s chronic stress related illnesses with medication, but in reality all this does is supress symptoms rather than cure the problem. This will mean over time another set of stress symptoms shows up and gets treated with further medication.

Understanding stress will help you find a better way.

There are three basic casues of stress – physical, chemical and emotional. I won’t go into details here, there is more information on our main website (www.the

No matter what causes your stress, the results are the same physiological changes in the body, including increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol, increased blood clotting, immune suppression, decreased memory and concentration.

The way our body would naturally correct stress is by movement – by either running away from the stress, or fighting it.

This is why no matter what form of stress is effecting you – physical, chemical or emotional – exercise will help.

There are two main reasons. First exercise literally burns up the stress hormones. Second, movement stimulates the ‘anti-stress’ part of the brain, and so switches of the stress part.

This is where chiropractic comes in. Most of the movement ‘input’ into the brain should come from correct spinal movement. The problem is that many, if not most, people today spend too mauch time sitting, which means little daily spinal motion.

On a daily basis this means fewer ‘anti-stress’ signals sent to the brain, and this gets worse over time as the spine stiffens from inactivity. This means that even when you do exercise, because the spine is stiff, you will not get the full benefits to the brain.

The lucky people are the ones who get neck or back pain that then seek the help of a chiropractor. Hertfordshire Chiropractor Chris Pickard took note that many people comming for pain treatment also experienced a greater feeling of wellbeing and a greater ability to cope with stress.

Getting your spine checked for stiffness, even if you have no pain, could play an important part in keeping the negative effects of stress from harming you.

Hertfordshire Chiropractor Chris Pickard also teaches ‘spinal hygiene’ exercises and breathing techniques, along with advice on nutrition and wellness coaching to ensure your ‘anti-stress’ signals are strong.

There are more tips for beating stress (including a magic coffee) on the Pain Relief Centres website.

The Pain Relief Centre is Hertfordshire’s leading holisitc chiropractic clinic.

EPIC Health, It Can Be Yours

EPIC Health Can Be Yours

Wellness coaching is beginning to appear more regularly, but very often in relation to selling just one brand of products.  True wellness and health coaching should focus on finding the best way for you.  This is why I plan to have my EPIC Health coaching site up by March 2015.

I have started some videos and audios for you to start.

Only 1 in 10,000 people die of old age.  What do the rest die of?

What is health?

How can you improve your health in just 7 min 41 seconds a day?

All will be revealed. You can start your health journey by watching the video (and commenting on Youtube)

The Best Natural Sunblock

Astaxanthin – A Natural Way To Block The Sun

Astaxanthin, for its pronunciation watch the video, has many uses, but what I mainly discuss here today is its use as a Sunblock.

It is not something that you rub on your skin, it is a pill you take that protects you at a much deeper level.  It also helps give you a great complexion, and makes your tan last longer…


How to be a Healthy Gardener

Gardening Warm Up Exercises

This coming week in the UK is National Gardening Week and Chiropractic Awareness Week at the same time, so it seems quite a good idea to share some tips to prevent gardening related injuries.

gardening exercises

The most common problem faced by gardeners is back ache following prolonged poor posture.  This is why it is important to practice spinal mobility exercises regularly – also known as spinal hygiene.


Before you even go out gardening you should perform a series of pre-gardening warm-ups which you can learn here – Gardening Exercise

What You Need To Know About Glutathione and Skin Health

A bit American shmultzy this video, but it’s short, to the point and gives you the facts about why you want to boost glutathione levels with particular regards for the skin.

Dr Neil Barnard MD – Preventing Alzheimer’s and Raising your Glutathione

power foods for the brain” 

One of the keys to brain helath is keeping your glutahtione levels high. Please share this video.

How to Raise Glutathione

Raising Glutathione Levels

I know I’ve covered this before but I wanted to draw your attention to the new press release I put together on the subject.

Please like it and share it : How to Raise Glutathione

And keep you eye out for some exciting news on a new supplement coming to the UK soon.

Hide me
Sign up below to join my eNewsletter
Name Email We respect your privacy
Show me
Build an optin email list in WordPress [Free Software]