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Funding Research: Chocolate or CHD?

Aug 3

Posted by: ACHA
8/3/2011 10:11 AM  RssIcon

By Amy Basken
ACHA Advocacy Coordinator

I love chocolate. Dove Dark Chocolate Promises. Well, and M&M’s, too. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.

Any woman I know would agree that chocolate is wonderful—it reduces stress, renews energy, and may even be an aphrodisiac. Many women will also agree that chocolate may save lives—particularly those of our spouses. Thus, in our house, the tradition of chocolate for Valentine’s Day has morphed to the giving of a bag of Dove Chocolate once every 28 days.

Now, I also love the National Institutes of Health (NIH), please don’t get me wrong. But a recent article in the NIH monthly newsletter disputing the benefits of chocolate ends:

Meanwhile, NIH will continue to fund studies into the health effects of chocolate, and many other foods. Wouldn't it be sweet if the research proved that chocolate is definitely good for us?

Really? I have months and years of research to tell you that there are very real health benefits to chocolate.

Wouldn’t we be better off dedicating more money to researching congenital heart disease—finding yet undiscovered information which will save lives, improve outcomes and reduce costs of one of the greatest public health burdens?

Oh, this stresses me out. I need chocolate.

Find the article here: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Aug2011/Feature1  

Amy Basken, ACHA Advocacy Coordinator, has a background in grassroots advocacy as the National Advocacy Coordinator for Mended Little Hearts. As mother of Nicholas, congenital heart defect survivor, Amy became an active participant in grassroots advocacy for the congenital heart community early on, at both the local and national level. Her experience includes coordinating Washington D.C. Lobby events, in-district visits and several media contacts, designing and managing grassroots action activities, and grassroots advocate training and development.

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3 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Funding Research: Chocolate or CHD?

Well said, Amy! At a time in which we as a nation are having to make hard decisions about spending, it's so important that we use research funding to investigate the most pressing issues (issues that are also costing states lots and lots of money!) While I love chocolate as much as the next person, additional research on it seems inane in the face of generations of people living with CHD.

By Ruth on   8/4/2011 4:36 PM
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Re: Funding Research: Chocolate or CHD?

We are a family of chocoholics so to justify our addiction I savor my cocoa while combing through every related research paper I can find and there are a number of well designed studies on both the cardiovascular and anti-flammatory benefits of cocoa. It is important to recognize that for maximum health benefits you need to stick with non-dutched cocoa, Hershey's makes both dutched and non-dutched cocoa, and keep the sugar to a minimum. Non-dutched cocoa powder has one of the highest ORAC scores of any food and when you consider the cost/benefit ratio it gets even better. Check out the price of Goji berries or other high ORAC score foods. Hershey's offers great bang for the buck. So, for my fellow chocoholics I'll share my Chocolate truffles recipe. Before my CHD son returned to college he had to know how to make these because they are so incredibly easy and rich. We use raw honey instead of sugar and organic coconut oil instead of cocoa butter. Coconut oil is a saturated fat but there are a number of studies on populations where coconut oil is the main source of fat and they have lower rates of heart disease. That being said, one must consider the lifestyle of these regions because health is not as simple as diet, it is also about how we live, our culture, community, family, stress, etc.. As with all things, I believe moderation is key. We add cocoa with a small amount of pure maple syrup and milk to our breakfast cereals, kind of like a healthy cocoa puff, only more fiber rich, and we enjoy a truffle or two four or five days a week. One truffle is about 1 tablespoon. You can make them in a small dish and break them up in chunks or use a candy truffle mold. Adjust the recipe according to your taste and how sweet or dark you like it.

6 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of raw honey
2-3 tablespoons of non-dutched cocoa powder

Blend well until creamy and refrigerate. These are best cold because coconut oil melts quickly. We have also combined coconut sugar with honey, gives it a nice crunch, and cocoa nibs.

Enjoy!

By sgackerman@sbcglobal.net on   8/29/2011 7:36 PM
Gravatar

Re: Funding Research: Chocolate or CHD?

We are a family of chocoholics so to justify our addiction I savor my cocoa while combing through every related research paper I can find and there are a number of well designed studies on both the cardiovascular and anti-flammatory benefits of cocoa. It is important to recognize that for maximum health benefits you need to stick with non-dutched cocoa, Hershey's makes both dutched and non-dutched cocoa, and keep the sugar to a minimum. Non-dutched cocoa powder has one of the highest ORAC scores of any food and when you consider the cost/benefit ratio it gets even better. Check out the price of Goji berries or other high ORAC score foods. Hershey's offers great bang for the buck. So, for my fellow chocoholics I'll share my Chocolate truffles recipe. Before my CHD son returned to college he had to know how to make these because they are so incredibly easy and rich. We use raw honey instead of sugar and organic coconut oil instead of cocoa butter. Coconut oil is a saturated fat but there are a number of studies on populations where coconut oil is the main source of fat and they have lower rates of heart disease. That being said, one must consider the lifestyle of these regions because health is not as simple as diet, it is also about how we live, our culture, community, family, stress, etc.. As with all things, I believe moderation is key. We add cocoa with a small amount of pure maple syrup and milk to our breakfast cereals, kind of like a healthy cocoa puff, only more fiber rich, and we enjoy a truffle or two four or five days a week. One truffle is about 1 tablespoon. You can make them in a small dish and break them up in chunks or use a candy truffle mold. Adjust the recipe according to your taste and how sweet or dark you like it.

6 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of raw honey
2-3 tablespoons of non-dutched cocoa powder

Blend well until creamy and refrigerate. These are best cold because coconut oil melts quickly. We have also combined coconut sugar with honey, gives it a nice crunch, and cocoa nibs.

Enjoy!

By sgackerman@sbcglobal.net on   8/29/2011 7:36 PM

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