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Special Issue "Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health"

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A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Margarida Castell

Dept. Fisiologia Facultat de Farmácia, Institut de Recerca en Nutrició i Seguretat Alimentària (INSA-UB), Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
E-Mail
Fax: +93 403 59 01
Interests: flavonoids; antioxidants; allergy; inflammation; immunomodulation; methylxanthines; sport

Special Issue Information

Submission

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Keywords

  • healthy effects of cocoa or chocolate
  • cardiovascular health
  • cancer
  • cognitive function
  • immune system

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Acute Post Exercise Consumption of Two Cocoa-Based Beverages with Varying Flavanol Content on Indices of Muscle Recovery Following Downhill Treadmill Running
Nutrients 2014, 6(1), 50-62; doi:10.3390/nu6010050
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Dietary flavanols have been associated with reduced oxidative stress, however their efficacy in promoting recovery after exercise induced muscle damage is unclear. This study examined the effectiveness of acute consumption of cocoa-flavanols on indices of muscle recovery including: subsequent exercise performance, creatine kinase,
[...] Read more.
Dietary flavanols have been associated with reduced oxidative stress, however their efficacy in promoting recovery after exercise induced muscle damage is unclear. This study examined the effectiveness of acute consumption of cocoa-flavanols on indices of muscle recovery including: subsequent exercise performance, creatine kinase, muscle tenderness, force, and self-perceived muscle soreness. Eight endurance-trained athletes (VO2max 64.4 ± 7.6 mL/kg/min) completed a downhill running protocol to induce muscle soreness, and 48-h later completed a 5-K (kilometer) time trial. Muscle recovery measurements were taken at PRE, 24 h-POST, 48 h-POST, and POST-5K. Participants consumed 1.0 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight of a randomly assigned beverage (CHOC: 0 mg flavanols vs. CocoaCHOC: 350 mg flavanols per serving) immediately after the downhill run and again 2 h later. The same protocol was repeated three weeks later with the other beverage. An ANOVA revealed no significant difference (p = 0.97) between trials for 5 K completion time (CHOC 1198.3 ± 160.6 s, CocoaCHOC 1195.5 ± 148.8 s). No significant difference was found for creatine kinase (CK) levels (p = 0.31), or muscle soreness (p = 0.21) between groups over time. These findings suggest that the acute addition of cocoa flavanols to low-fat chocolate milk offer no additional recovery benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Cocoa Flavonoid-Enriched Diet Modulates Systemic and Intestinal Immunoglobulin Synthesis in Adult Lewis Rats
Nutrients 2013, 5(8), 3272-3286; doi:10.3390/nu5083272
Received: 28 June 2013 / Revised: 24 July 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous studies have reported that a diet containing 10% cocoa, a rich source of flavonoids, has immunomodulatory effects on rats and, among others effects, is able to attenuate the immunoglobulin (Ig) synthesis in both systemic and intestinal compartments. The purpose of the present
[...] Read more.
Previous studies have reported that a diet containing 10% cocoa, a rich source of flavonoids, has immunomodulatory effects on rats and, among others effects, is able to attenuate the immunoglobulin (Ig) synthesis in both systemic and intestinal compartments. The purpose of the present study was focused on investigating whether these effects were attributed exclusively to the flavonoid content or to other compounds present in cocoa. To this end, eight-week-old Lewis rats were fed, for two weeks, either a standard diet or three isoenergetic diets containing increasing proportions of cocoa flavonoids from different sources: one with 0.2% polyphenols from conventional defatted cocoa, and two others with 0.4% and 0.8% polyphenols, respectively, from non-fermented cocoa. Diet intake and body weight were monitored and fecal samples were obtained throughout the study to determine fecal pH, IgA, bacteria proportions, and IgA-coated bacteria. Moreover, IgG and IgM concentrations in serum samples collected during the study were quantified. At the end of the dietary intervention no clear changes of serum IgG or IgM concentrations were quantified, showing few effects of cocoa polyphenol diets at the systemic level. However, in the intestine, all cocoa polyphenol-enriched diets attenuated the age-related increase of both fecal IgA and IgA-coated bacteria, as well as the proportion of bacteria in feces. As these effects were not dependent on the dose of polyphenol present in the diets, other compounds and/or the precise polyphenol composition present in cocoa raw material used for the diets could be key factors in this effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Cocoa Phenolic Extract Protects Pancreatic Beta Cells against Oxidative Stress
Nutrients 2013, 5(8), 2955-2968; doi:10.3390/nu5082955
Received: 30 May 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 23 July 2013 / Published: 31 July 2013
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus is associated with reductions in glutathione, supporting the critical role of oxidative stress in its pathogenesis. Antioxidant food components such as flavonoids have a protective role against oxidative stress-induced degenerative and age-related diseases. Flavonoids constitute an important part of the human
[...] Read more.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with reductions in glutathione, supporting the critical role of oxidative stress in its pathogenesis. Antioxidant food components such as flavonoids have a protective role against oxidative stress-induced degenerative and age-related diseases. Flavonoids constitute an important part of the human diet; they can be found in most plant foods, including green tea, grapes or cocoa and possess multiple biological activities. This study investigates the chemo-protective effect of a cocoa phenolic extract (CPE) containing mainly flavonoids against oxidative stress induced by tert-butylhydroperoxide (t-BOOH) on Ins-1E pancreatic beta cells. Cell viability and oxidative status were evaluated. Ins-1E cells treatment with 5–20 μg/mL CPE for 20 h evoked no cell damage and did not alter ROS production. Addition of 50 μM t-BOOH for 2 h increased ROS and carbonyl groups content and decreased reduced glutathione level. Pre-treatment of cells with CPE significantly prevented the t-BOOH-induced ROS and carbonyl groups and returned antioxidant defences to adequate levels. Thus, Ins-1E cells treated with CPE showed a remarkable recovery of cell viability damaged by t-BOOH, indicating that integrity of surviving machineries in the CPE-treated cells was notably protected against the oxidative insult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Tolerance for High Flavanol Cocoa Powder in Semisweet Chocolate
Nutrients 2013, 5(6), 2258-2267; doi:10.3390/nu5062258
Received: 15 April 2013 / Revised: 8 May 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (347 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Endogenous polyphenolic compounds in cacao impart both bitter and astringent characteristics to chocolate confections. While an increase in these compounds may be desirable from a health perspective, they are generally incongruent with consumer expectations. Traditionally, chocolate products undergo several processing steps (e.g., fermentation
[...] Read more.
Endogenous polyphenolic compounds in cacao impart both bitter and astringent characteristics to chocolate confections. While an increase in these compounds may be desirable from a health perspective, they are generally incongruent with consumer expectations. Traditionally, chocolate products undergo several processing steps (e.g., fermentation and roasting) that decrease polyphenol content, and thus bitterness. The objective of this study was to estimate group rejection thresholds for increased content of cocoa powder produced from under-fermented cocoa beans in a semisweet chocolate-type confection. The group rejection threshold was equivalent to 80.7% of the non-fat cocoa solids coming from the under-fermented cocoa powder. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences in rejection thresholds when participants were grouped based on their self-reported preference for milk or dark chocolate, indicating that these groups react similarly to an increase in high cocoa flavanol containing cocoa powder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Cocoa Polyphenols and Inflammatory Markers of Cardiovascular Disease
Nutrients 2014, 6(2), 844-880; doi:10.3390/nu6020844
Received: 29 November 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (515 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of plant-derived food intake in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The potential bioactivity of cocoa and its polyphenolic components in modulating cardiovascular health is now being studied worldwide and continues to grow at a
[...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of plant-derived food intake in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The potential bioactivity of cocoa and its polyphenolic components in modulating cardiovascular health is now being studied worldwide and continues to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, the high polyphenol content of cocoa is of particular interest from the nutritional and pharmacological viewpoints. Cocoa polyphenols are shown to possess a range of cardiovascular-protective properties, and can play a meaningful role through modulating different inflammatory markers involved in atherosclerosis. Accumulated evidence on related anti-inflammatory effects of cocoa polyphenols is summarized in the present review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessReview High-Caloric and Chocolate Stimuli Processing in Healthy Humans: An Integration of Functional Imaging and Electrophysiological Findings
Nutrients 2014, 6(1), 319-341; doi:10.3390/nu6010319
Received: 2 September 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 5 December 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (472 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There has been a great deal of interest in understanding how the human brain processes appetitive food cues, and knowing how such cues elicit craving responses is particularly relevant when current eating behavior trends within Westernized societies are considered. One substance that holds
[...] Read more.
There has been a great deal of interest in understanding how the human brain processes appetitive food cues, and knowing how such cues elicit craving responses is particularly relevant when current eating behavior trends within Westernized societies are considered. One substance that holds a special place with regard to food preference is chocolate, and studies that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potentials (ERPs) have identified neural regions and electrical signatures that are elicited by chocolate cue presentations. This review will examine fMRI and ERP findings from studies that used high-caloric food and chocolate cues as stimuli, with a focus on responses observed in samples of healthy participants, as opposed to those with eating-related pathology. The utility of using high-caloric and chocolate stimuli as a means of understanding the human reward system will also be highlighted, as these findings may be particularly important for understanding processes related to pathological overeating and addiction to illicit substances. Finally, research from our own lab that focused on chocolate stimulus processing in chocolate cravers and non-cravers will be discussed, as the approach used may help bridge fMRI and ERP findings so that a more complete understanding of appetitive stimulus processing in the temporal and spatial domains may be established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessReview Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate
Nutrients 2013, 5(10), 4159-4173; doi:10.3390/nu5104159
Received: 23 July 2013 / Revised: 9 September 2013 / Accepted: 23 September 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (300 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One may wonder why methylxanthines are so abundant in beverages used by humans for centuries, or in cola-drinks that have been heavily consumed since their appearance. It is likely that humans have stuck to any brew containing compounds with psychoactive properties, resulting in
[...] Read more.
One may wonder why methylxanthines are so abundant in beverages used by humans for centuries, or in cola-drinks that have been heavily consumed since their appearance. It is likely that humans have stuck to any brew containing compounds with psychoactive properties, resulting in a better daily life, i.e., more efficient thinking, exploring, hunting, etc., however, without the serious side effects of drugs of abuse. The physiological effects of methylxanthines have been known for a long time and they are mainly mediated by the so-called adenosine receptors. Caffeine and theobromine are the most abundant methylxanthines in cacao and their physiological effects are notable. Their health-promoting benefits are so remarkable that chocolate is explored as a functional food. The consequences of adenosine receptor blockade by natural compounds present in cacao/chocolate are here reviewed. Palatability and health benefits of methylxanthines, in general, and theobromine, in particular, have further contributed to sustain one of the most innocuous and pleasant habits: chocolate consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
Open AccessReview Cocoa and Heart Health: A Historical Review of the Science
Nutrients 2013, 5(10), 3854-3870; doi:10.3390/nu5103854
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 10 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 September 2013 / Published: 26 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The medicinal use of cocoa has a long history dating back almost five hundred years when Hernán Cortés’s first experienced the drink in Mesoamerica. Doctors in Europe recommended the beverage to patients in the 1700s, and later American physicians followed suit and prescribed
[...] Read more.
The medicinal use of cocoa has a long history dating back almost five hundred years when Hernán Cortés’s first experienced the drink in Mesoamerica. Doctors in Europe recommended the beverage to patients in the 1700s, and later American physicians followed suit and prescribed the drink in early America—ca. 1800s. This article delineates the historic trajectory of cocoa consumption, the linkage between cocoa’s bioactive-mechanistic properties, paying special attention to nitric oxides role in vasodilation of the arteries, to the current indicators purporting the benefits of cocoa and cardiovascular health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessIntroduction Chocolate in History: Food, Medicine, Medi-Food
Nutrients 2013, 5(5), 1573-1584; doi:10.3390/nu5051573
Received: 2 April 2013 / Revised: 22 April 2013 / Accepted: 27 April 2013 / Published: 14 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (372 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Throughout history, chocolate has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments, and in recent years, multiple studies have found that chocolate can have positive health effects, providing evidence to a centuries-long established use; this acknowledgement, however, did not have a straight
[...] Read more.
Throughout history, chocolate has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments, and in recent years, multiple studies have found that chocolate can have positive health effects, providing evidence to a centuries-long established use; this acknowledgement, however, did not have a straight course, having been involved in religious, medical and cultural controversies. Christian Europe, in fact, feared the exhilarating effects of new drinks, such as chocolate, coffee and tea. Therefore, these beverages would have been banished, had not doctors and scientists explained that they were good for the body. The scientific debate, which reached its peak in Florence in the 18th century, regarded the therapeutic effectiveness of the various chocolate components: it was necessary to know their properties first, in order to prepare the best cacao concoction for every patient. When Dietetics separated from Medicine, however, chocolate acquired the role of vehicle for easing the administration of bitter medicines, being associated to different health problems. The recent rediscovery of the beneficial use of cacao and chocolate focuses upon its value as supplemental nutrition. Building a bridge to the past may be helpful to detect the areas where the potential health benefits of chocolate are likely to be further explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)

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