Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

cocoaDark Chocolate along with Red Wine has captured the most attention amongst the top-20 Sirtfoods. In fact, it is really Cocoa that is rich in a specific group of polyphenols called flavanols, especially epicatechin that is the actual Sirtfood.

In clinical studies flavanol-rich cocoa has shown impressive health benefits spanning many of the major afflictions of modern times. This is especially so in relation to heart health, where cocoa has shown promise in lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart, preventing blood clots, and reducing inflammation. Benefits may also extend to aiding in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes and cancer and enhancing memory performance.

So what chocolate exactly are we talking about here? Alas, the bulk of confectionary chocolate won’t deliver these profound benefits. Those products tend to be more sugar and milk than anything else.  As a consequence, the prevailing wisdom dictates that the darker the chocolate, the high the level of beneficial cocoa flavanols will be.

To be counted as a Sirtfood we are talking about chocolate with 85 percent cocoa solids. But in reality, that is a gross over-simplification. Much of the dark chocolate that we turn to as a ‘healthy treat’ has undergone a form of processing known as alkalizing (or ‘dutching’), which greatly diminishes the flavanol content, and thus the health benefits.

While in the USA these products are clearly labelled ‘processed with alkali’, unfortunately in the UK and in many other countries no such labelling requirements exist. This makes it difficult to know which brand to choose to reap the true benefits of the Sirtfood cocoa.

After investigation we have confirmed that the Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa bar has not undergone Dutch processing and is, therefore our recommendation.

Just as a guide there is a huge range online at Amazon.


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