Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
In recent years there has been a great deal of attention regarding the benefits of chocolate upon various health outcomes. There have been many publications, stories and news bits which have extolled the virtues of eating chocolate and the potential affects attributed to it.
Previous research has indicated that the active ingredient in chocolate associated to all of the benefits of this food is cocoa. Cocoa contains various chemicals known as flavonoids which have been shown to exhibit many biochemical activities within the body. Some of which include, anti-inflammatory properties, free-radical absorption capabilities, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and blood glucose regulation. The best information available regarding the benefits of cocoa seems to be related to the effects the various cocoa flavonoids has upon, inflammation, blood pressure regulation, blood sugar control and cholesterol synthesis.
Thus, the consumption of cocoa may have a very beneficial effect in patient who may have a propensity to develop insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
Recent research published in the journal Neurology has indicated that cocoa may also be good for our brain’s ability to process information. Researchers evaluated 60 people with a average age of 72.9 years, 90% of which were hypertensive, 70% were obese or overweight and 50% had diabetes. They were randomly split into two groups, one receiving 2 cups per day of high-flavonoid cocoa drink and the other a drink containing much lower levels of cocoa flavonoids. After 30 days, the researchers then measured cerebral blood flow rates and cognitive tests in either group of participants.
The results indicated that the group who drank the high concentration of cocoa flavonoids, there was a greater degree of cerebral blood flow, improved neural activity or “neurovascular coupling” and a better response to cognitive testing in contrast to the group who ingested the low-flavonoid cocoa drink. Those with the lowest rates of blood flow at the beginning of the study were the participants who enjoyed the best results in improved cerebral blood flow.
This study indicates that the consumption of flavonoid-rich cocoa can increase the blood flow and neural activity in older people who have various vascular risk factors. Cocoa flavonoids can exert their direct effects upon the cerebral arteries in your brain by improving endothelial function which results in the relaxation of the artery wall. This improves blood flow but decreases inflammation, free-radical activity and damage to artery linings. It is postulated that cocoa flavonoids may also exert a direct effect upon the neuronal cells themselves encouraging improved neuronal function.
So….just another reason to enjoy this delicious treat in moderation of course.
I recommend chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa imported from Europe. Try it with a full-bodied red wine from Chile or Australia.
Aging well also implies also enjoying the foods you can indulge in regularly in an effort to maintain excellent health over time.
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project