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Hot Chocolate 2010

November 30, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The Healthy Fellow test kitchen really lives up to its name. I’m constantly experimenting with different recipes and ways of preparing healthy food. Some of the creations I come up with appear on this site. Others are simply used as part of my personal wellness routine until it occurs to me to post them. Of late, the medical literature has yielded a few tantalizing new studies pertaining to the health attributes of dark chocolate. As it happens, I’m currently in the midst of a hot cocoa revival at home. On more days than not, there’s been a wintry chill in the air and a steaming mug of hot chocolate right by my side.

The latest edition of the Nutrition Journal documents a crossover, double blinded, randomized study that compared the effects of a polyphenol rich chocolate beverage to a low polyphenol chocolate drink (placebo). Ten patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) took part in the experiment. The objective of the research was to determine whether either of the cocoa based candidates would influence subjective measures of CFS over an 8 week period. The primary findings of the study revealed that all indicators of CFS improved only when the participants consumed the polyphenol rich cocoa liquor. Specifically, symptoms relating to anxiety, depression and fatigue responded favorably to the antioxidant laden cocoa beverage, but not the placebo. It’s also worth noting that the experimental drinks were matched for calories and neither of the two resulted in weight gain. (1)

Cocoa Polyphenols May Improve Chronic Fatigue Symptoms
Questionnaires Before Intervention
Median (Range)
After Intervention (8 weeks)
Median (Range)
Wilcoxon Signed Rank
Sum test Z value
Chalder Fatigue questionnaire
Active Arm
33 (25 – 38) 21.5 (6 – 35) -2.53 (0.01)
Chalder Fatigue questionnaire
Placebo Arm
28.5 (17 – 20) 34.5 (13-26) -2.23 (0.03)
HAD questionnaire (Anxiety)
Active Arm
9.5 (8-13) 6 (4-8) -2.54 -2.54 (0.01)
HAD questionnaire (Anxiety)
Placebo Arm
6 (3-9) 9 (8-12) -2.21 (0.03)
HAD questionnaire (Depression)
Active Arm
10 (9-14) 5.5 (4-9) -2.68 (0.01)
HAD questionnaire (Depression)
Placebo Arm
6 (4-9) 12 (8-14) -2.34 (0.02)
Source: Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:55 (link)

The recipe I use to make my all natural, low carbohydrate hot cocoa is as follows: 2 Tbs of organic (non-alkaline and unsweetened) cocoa powder, a dash of organic cinnamon and instant organic coffee, a sprinkle of NutraSalt or other salt, 8 oz of hot water, 4 oz of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze (unsweetened and vanilla flavored) and 10-15 drops of NuNaturals liquid Vanilla Stevia. Each serving contains a measly 40 calories. It not only tastes great, but also provides an abundance of antioxidants and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Newly published research further reveals that cocoa flavanols acts as prebiotics in the small intestine. Practically speaking, this means that regularly enjoying dark chocolate may support a greater population of healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive system. In addition, the hint of cinnamon makes this version of hot cocoa an excellent candidate for type 2 diabetics. Including just 2 grams of cinnamon a day may lower blood pressure, body mass index, long term blood sugar levels (HbA1c) and waist circumference in as little as 12 weeks. My Healthy Fellow Hot Cocoa Mix is truly an indulgence that you needn’t feel at all guilty about. (2,3)

Be well!

JP

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9 Comments & Updates to “Hot Chocolate 2010”

  1. DaniellaE Says:

    Sounds delicious. I will have to make it soon!

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Daniella! Hope you enjoy it! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  3. anne h Says:

    Want to try it, too!

  4. JP Says:

    It’s so easy to make, Anne. Give it a shot! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Paul F. Says:

    Hi JP,

    I am interested in implementing your recipe.

    I assume you have located a High polyphenol organic cocoa non alkalinized product to maximize the benefits.

    Could you share the brand, name of the product?

    Thank you for another gem in your collection!

    Regards,

    Paul

  6. JP Says:

    Good day, Paul.

    Yes. That’s exactly the type of product I use. There are many brands to choose from. At the moment, I’m using a product made by Rapunzel. I buy it at our local health food store. Now Foods also carries an organic, non-alkaline cocoa that is rich in polyphenols. Both are quite affordable.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. geos1991 Says:

    hello jp,
    i wanted to ask you if u had tried using stevia for cake recipies,cookies and such..was the feedback positive towards its use for that kind of recipies?i remember seeing a delicious article of yours about cookies but i didnt find it :( (blind me)
    one more thing, i saw your profile and really intrigues me how can u keep a balance between your daily work and your immediate response towards comments.that’s exceptional!

    Be well! ^^

  8. JP Says:

    Hi Geos.

    I’ll provide a some links for recipes using stevia below:

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/1017/peanut-butter-brownie-recipe/

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/929/healthy-dark-chocolate-chip-cookies/

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/826/healthier-birthday-cake-recipe/

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/690/best-of-almond-pecan-pancake-recipe/

    More Recipes: http://www.healthyfellow.com/category/recipes/

    In terms of time management, I just do the best I can. Fortunately, I have a very understanding wife. ;) As far as we’re concerned, this is my calling. And, we believe and hope that the time invested helps others in some way.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Update: Enjoying dark chocolate judiciously can improve the health of overweight individuals …

    http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863%2815%2900032-7/abstract

    Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry – February 25, 2015

    Natural cocoa consumption: Potential to reduce atherogenic factors?

    Short-term consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa has been demonstrated to improve various facets of vascular health. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of 4 weeks of natural cocoa consumption on selected cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarkers in young (19–35 years) women of differing body mass indices (BMI; normal, overweight or obese). Subjects (n=24) consumed a natural cocoa-containing product (12.7 g natural cocoa, 148 kcal/serving) or an isocaloric cocoa-free placebo daily for 4 weeks in a random, double-blind manner with a 2-week washout period between treatment arms. Fasted (>8-h) blood samples were collected before and after each 4-week period. Serum was analyzed to determine lipid profile (chemistry analyzer) and CVD biomarkers (26 biomarkers). EDTA-treated blood was used to assess monocytes (CD14, CD16, v11b and CD62L), while citrate-treated blood was used to measure changes in endothelial microparticles (EMPs; CD42a−/45−/144+) by flow cytometry. Natural cocoa consumption resulted in a significant decrease in haptoglobin (P=.034), EMP concentration (P=.017) and monocyte CD62L (P=.047) in obese compared to overweight and normal-weight subjects. Natural cocoa consumption regardless of BMI group was associated with an 18% increase in high-density lipoprotein (P=.020) and a 60% decrease in EMPs (P=.047). Also, obese subjects experienced a 21% decrease in haptoglobin (P=.034) and a 24% decrease in monocyte CD62L expression in (P=.047) following 4 weeks of natural cocoa consumption. Collectively, these findings indicate that acute natural cocoa consumption was associated with decreased obesity-related disease risk. More research is needed to assess the stability of the observed short-term changes.

    Be well!

    JP

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