How does cocoa help your body prevent cancer?
“Dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa) contains a number of antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, and many polyphenols (a square of chocolate contains twice as many as a glass of red wine and almost as many as a cup of green tea properly steeped). These molecules [from the cocoa] slow the growth of cancer cells and limit angiogenesis.” [page 140, Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, David, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, 2009 edition] Note: Italics within the quote are mine.
While a chocolate bar with 70% cocoa has more cocoa than one with 50% cocoa and therefore the 70% bar gives more anti-cancer benefits, plain cocoa (the powder) is 100% cocoa and therefore it’s even better for you.
Tips on getting the most benefit from the cocoa in your diet
Do not mix chocolate and dairy products – in the same food (as in a chocolate bar or hot cocoa made with dairy milk (OK with almond or soy milk) or in the same meal (as in drinking dairy milk along with a small portion of a dark chocolate bar). “Mixing dairy products with chocolate cancels the beneficial effects of the molecules of cocoa. Avoid milk chocolate”. [page 140, Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, David, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, 2009 edition] For a summary of the recent research on this topic, see BBC’s report, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3185363.stm .
Avoid Dutch process cocoa (or Dutched cocoa), because the Dutch process (a process that makes the cocoa more alkaline) is reduces the antioxidants in the cocoa, although there are some experts that dispute this conclusion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_process_chocolate . To find out if your cocoa is Dutch processed or not read the ingredient list on your product’s label as it sometimes is not mentioned in the name or description of the product on the front of the container.
For additional information about cocoa and its health benefits, see:
For some great recipes using cocoa, including my favorite hot cocoa, enter the term “cocoa” into the search bar in the upper right hand corner of this site.