Isagenix® IsaDelight®: Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Dark Chocolate May Help Keep DNA Young / Chocolate Matters: From Beans To Isagenix ® IsaDelight®
by Isagenix Corporate
Chocolate is often celebrated as one of the holiday season’s top guilty pleasures, a treat with high appeal and often loaded with calories from fat and sugar that can side track weight-management goals. However, dark chocolate is low on calories and can even help you avoid the holiday bulge by satisfying cravings. It is also dubbed a brain food because it helps ward off bad moods and oxidative stressors. Yes, science has given a green light to dark chocolate as a “guilt-free pleasure.”
The reasons to eat regular amounts of dark chocolate are appearing limitless, but its health benefits and flavor are contingent on manufacturing. Thankfully, Isagenix recognizes the benefits of this healthy indulgence, and has come up with a delightful solution. IsaDelight Plus is a decadent 50-calorie snack rich in quality cocoa (70 percent) with an abundance of cocoa antioxidants, along with brain-healthy amino acids, and metabolism-boosting green tea included.
Additionally, in IsaDelight, cocoa is not just a simple indulgence. It is here that the road in dark chocolate equality divides: in the process of harvesting, fermentation, roasting, grinding, cooling, heating, tempering and molding. In the case of the IsaDelight, care in processing has made chocolate nutritious without sacrificing the pleasure of the palate.
Isagenix’s VP of Product Innovation Pierre Teissier, Ph.D., gives insight into the intricacies of chocolate production and the ways in which Isagenix has worked to yield a superior cocoa product. Here is a simple overview: the raw cabosses (cocoa beans still in their shells) must be dried, fermented and roasted prior to their use. They are then cracked, winnowed and the white beans are cleaned. These non-alkalized cocoa nibs (alkalization destroys valuable antioxidant flavanols) are then roasted (giving them their familiar dark brown color), ground and pressed yielding three products: cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and, with additional processing, cocoa powder. The cocoa liquor is a brown paste that contains most of the beneficial antioxidant polyphenols, the cocoa butter is the fat, and the cocoa powder is the fibrous plant material.
Dr. Teissier explains that many companies take the cocoa liquor and add fillers, flavors, fats and emulsifiers to take the difficulty out of finalizing the product. As he puts it, this is bad chocolate. The chocolate that we all know and love, in its purest form, is a combination of cocoa butter and cocoa liquor. The trouble is that these two substances have different consistencies and melting points.
Combining the liquor and the butter occurs during tempering. Tempering, Dr. Teissier explains, is an integral part of the final product. As the chocolate is tempered, the cocoa liquor and cocoa butter are heated and brought down to a narrow temperature of 35°C. At this temperature, the cocoa butter just starts to solidify as the cocoa liquor starts to soften—here the two may be combined into a beautiful silky emulsion. However, the temperature range is a mere 2°C. It is during this stage that mood-boosting vitamins and amino acids are added to the mix. Isagenix conducts this process under careful temperature regulation to ensure that the emulsion doesn’t separate, the chocolate doesn’t burn, the amino acids and vitamins aren’t destroyed, and the final product does not require any added emulsifiers. Lecithin is added only to suspend the amino acids and vitamins in the emulsion and prevent them from rising to the surface.
Many of the world’s most well-known cocoa products neglect the detail of this process and compensate with unhealthy additives. The process that Dr. Teissier recounted above is often avoided by adding synthetic fats, some even hydrogenated, to mimic the consistency of the cocoa liquor and more easily form an emulsion. The detailed process of tempering and roasting that Dr. Teissier described requires great precision and attention to detail. The IsaDelight is a good product, he says, because the “chocolate is very delicate. We strictly control the temperature to get the best antioxidant content. It is a good chocolate, and great for your brain! That is the great thing.”
White has traditionally symbolized the unblemished, virgin essence of youth. As color relates to chocolate, however, yet another study adds to a growing body of evidence that it is the darkness of chocolate that contains anti-aging potential.
The new study, reported from University of Milan in the British Journal of Nutrition, substantiated that eating one or two pieces of dark chocolate daily increased plasma antioxidant levels and improved DNAs resistance to oxidative stress.
Dark chocolate reduced free radical damage on DNA as soon as two hours after intake with effects diminishing in a day’s time. In comparison, white chocolate was not found to display any similar advantages.
The Italian researchers commented that the latest trial’s results, and the findings of previous studies relating to dark chocolates heart-protective effects, are encouraging given the obesity epidemic because the sweet treat is widely enjoyed.
They gave 20 healthy men and women, who had followed a balanced diet for two weeks prior and continued the diet during the time of the trial, either white or dark chocolate for two weeks. Blood samples were collected at intervals before intake, at two hours after intake, and at 22 hours after intake of the chocolate pieces.
Choosing Quality Dark Chocolate
The dark chocolate pieces had been standardized to 860 milligrams of polyphenols of which 58 milligrams were flavonoids called epicatechins. Epicatechins can also be found in green tea and certain fruits.
Not all dark chocolate found in the marketplace can be expected to contain the same content of antioxidants used in the trial. Antioxidant amount can depend on actual content of cocoa (generally, the darker the better) and the cocoa’s quality.
Cocoa’s natural content of flavonoids, for example, can often be lost through dutch processing or other manufacturing methods.
For greatest antioxidant benefit, consumers should seek out brands of dark chocolate with known content of flavonoids as compared by measurements of antioxidant strength such as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other health authorities recommend receiving 3,000-5,000 ORAC units daily for best support against free radicals, which equates to eating only one or two pieces of dark chocolate per day.
Want to take advantage of heart-healthy and anti-aging benefits? News of this study comes just in time for quality, high-ORAC dark chocolates.
They say chocolate is the way to a womans heart, and they could be right — eating one or two servings of dark chocolate weekly is good for the hearts of middle-aged or elderly women. A nine-year observational study followed 31,823 healthy Swedish women ages 48 to 82 and found that those who ate moderate amounts of high-quality chocolate had healthier hearts.
The women who gained the most heart-health benefits had eaten one or two servings of the dark chocolate weekly, followed by those who ate one to three servings monthly. Each serving of chocolate was typically between 19 and 30 grams. On the other hand, the women who ate one or more servings per day received no benefit, which the researchers suggest was result of replacing other nutritious foods with the chocolate. So, enjoy dark chocolate, but in moderation and as part of a nutritious diet.
Finding the right chocolate for a woman’s heart health, while avoiding the pitfalls of eating other chocolates high in fat and sugar, depends on content and value of its cocoa. The chocolate the Swedish women ate contained higher amounts of cocoa than milk chocolate and was not as highly processed as most dark chocolate found typically in North America.
Previous studies have explored dark chocolate as a delicious and convenient way to gain sufficient antioxidants to support cell health, cardiovascular and heart health.
Why Dark Chocolate Is Good For Her Heart
Listen up, men! On this Valentine’s Day, why not surprise your special lady with chocolates that are healthier for her heart? Dark chocolate eaten in moderate amounts weekly is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness in women, research suggests.
Scientists are only beginning to understand why dark chocolate is heart healthy, but a new study offers this explanation—its rich content of cocoa antioxidant compounds, called polyphenols, could enhance activity of special proteins called sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs), which are involved in cholesterol metabolism.
These activated SREBPs then bind to genes on DNA (sterol regulatory element sequences) that boost liver production of another protein called apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), which is the major protein component of HDL “good” cholesterol.
Correspondingly, cocoa polyphenols decreased production of another protein in the liver called apolipoprotein B (ApoB), which is the major protein component of LDL “bad” cholesterol. The study also showed cocoa polyphenols induced activity of LDL receptors, allowing more cholesterol to be removed from the bloodstream.
The scientist’s findings—suggesting that polyphenols in dark chocolate may help maintain higher “good” cholesterol levels and lower “bad” cholesterol levels—were published in the February issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.
The researchers write, “As cholesterol metabolism is known to be regulated by several different mechanisms, it is possible that cacao polyphenols may act on multiple pathways as a regulatory receptor agonist or ligand, similar to other plant polyphenols.”
So, what’s the message you give with dark chocolate? Romance, of course – but with a healthy twist for your sweetheart’s heart.
Source: Yasuda A, Natsume M, Osakabe N, Kawahata K, Koga J. Cacao Polyphenols Influence the Regulation of Apolipoprotein in HepG2 and Caco2 Cells. J Agric Food Chem 2011.
Source: Mostofsky E., Levitan E.B., Wolk A. et al. Journal of the American Heart Association.