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Is Chocolate Good for Breast Cancer?

Monday, June 07, 2010

©Brenda Coffee. All rights reserved

Did you know moderate amounts of dark chocolate might play a role in preventing cancer? According to Sally Scroggs, MS, RD, LD at the University of Texas MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center, compounds found in chocolate act as antioxidants and have been shown to help combat cell damage that can lead to tumor growth. One of the most concentrated natural sources of these antioxidants is found in the cacao bean—the basis for all chocolate. <PREVIEWEND>

Dark chocolate, at least 70% pure cacao, is not only rich in antioxidants; it lowers blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol and is an excellent source of potassium and magnesium. Dark chocolate has also been shown to work as an antidepressant: Phyenylethylamine, a compound in cacao, raises serotonin and dopamine levels, stimulates the nervous system and even raises libido.

For centuries healers have used cacao to cure everything from tuberculosis to shortness of breath, and cacao has long been considered a symbol for love and temptation. The great Aztec ruler, Montezuma, regularly used cacao beans as currency. In 1528, when Spanish explorer Cortez left Mexico for Spain, he took with him copious amounts of gold, silver and cacao, in addition to the recipe for hot cocoa.

Because it’s still a calorie-dense food that can be high in fat, we shouldn’t give ourselves permission to eat as much dark chocolate as we want. However a daily square, or one ounce, of dark cacao chocolate may be a good addition to our diet. Savor it. Let it melt in your mouth and think about what you’re eating. If you’re a breast cancer survivor, consider avoiding most of your favorite name brands even if they “support breast cancer awareness.” They’re not only low in cacao—antioxidants—but higher in calories, sugar and unhealthy fats.

Look for chocolate with at least a 70% or higher cacao content. Since 70% cacao doesn’t contain sugar and milk, like most traditional chocolate bars, dark cacao chocolate may take a bit of getting used to, but if you’re like me, you’ll soon find it decadently delicious. My favorite brand is Alter Eco Fair Trade’s™ 85% dark chocolate. It’s organic, gluten free, soy free, has no emulsifiers and can be found at many Whole Foods. Since Alter Eco Fair Trade™ buys directly from farming families in Bolivia, and pays them fair prices, we are also supporting a better way of life for them and their communities.

Did I tell you James prefers brown and white foods: steak, coffee, vanilla ice cream and chocolate? The most surprising thing about James and chocolate…? He loves the 73% cacao! I know! Mister slice and bake chocolate chip cookie man loves dark cacao, although I don’t think he heard me a little while ago when I said it was full of caffeine. It’s 8pm, and he’s had two squares of dark chocolate. Whoa… Zip, zip… There he goes, out the door for a walk. Wonder where all that energy came from? Duh! Hope he gets to sleep tonight.




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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 07-Jun-2010 07:54 PM
Brenda, I am learning so much through your bloggs. I have sworn off sweets because I can not "just say no, enough is enough." I will however have to check out the caco type of chocolate. I have a friend at work who loves chocolate so I will pass this information on to her!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jun-2010 03:36 PM
Dear Brenda,

I am a student at the University of Florida working on an internship project in conjunction with RateADrug.com to collect primary user data about side effects and benefits from commonly used treatments for Breast Cancer. The goal is to build a large, public access database of unbiased, anecdotal data about Breast Cancer treatments.

We want to let both patients and practitioners know about how they can participate in or benefit from the project. Users can add their experiences with a treatment and learn more about how the treatment is affecting them by taking a short, confidential survey. They can also use RateADrug to compare aggregate data for different Breast Cancer treatments- both conventional and alternative (http://www.rateadrug.com/Breast-Cancer-symptoms-feedback.aspx) - and forward the results of their own surveys to their doctors or family members.

Rateadrug is an independent data gathering and information website that does not accept funding or advertisement from drug companies.

Would it be possible for you to make this information available to your viewers so they can help us collect important data on Breast Cancer treatments?

Thank you in advance. I’d be happy to speak with you if you have any questions or comments.

Monica Abdelmalak
University of Florida
www.RateADrug.com student intern
mabdelmalak@ufl.edu
Anonymous commented on 09-Jun-2010 08:09 PM
Thanks for the great info on my favorite treat!
Anonymous commented on 13-Jun-2010 05:53 PM
This is great information and important to get out there. And if you haven't tried the new Alter Eco Dark Quinoa bar, it is maybe their best!
Anonymous commented on 17-Jun-2010 01:06 AM
Reading your endorsement of dark chocolate, I feel certain you'd be interested to learn of Col. Joe Hart's patented cancer cure involving oxalic acid. His sites are www.coljoe.com and www.coljoe.net. He is a wonderful man! Good luck, Nancy
Anonymous commented on 19-Jun-2010 04:32 PM
Really?!?! And me, one of the few who doesn't like chocolate! Can't stand the taste or the texture! LOL! But I know other foods are helping me.

And, Brenda... even though I don't have/have never had breast cancer, I know you've read on my blog that my mom who died when I was a teenager did, and my stepmom also recently had breast cancer surgery... you are giving me loads of great info on your blog. I realize as an adult what my mom was going through (they didn't tell us a lot back in the late 1960s/early 1970s). And now I can help my stepmom through all of her stuff.

Thank you for being here for us... and letting us be here for YOU! {hugz} :)
Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 09:01 PM
Thanks for your comments on my blog, Brenda! I checked out your website and I’m so impressed! Congratulations on being picked a Top 10 blog! I noticed that you feature books on your site. My book, From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds, will be released in a couple of weeks and I think it would be ideal for your visitors.

I noticed you have the Chicken Soup book for survivors, but mine is a bit different. Every one of the survivors in my book were told they were going to die (stage IV or advanced) but defied their prognosis. It’s all types of cancer, not just breast cancer, but there are several breast cancer stories, including mine. The book includes a list of common attributes these survivors share and questions at the end of each section for study and support groups. It will be available on Amazon and on my publisher’s site, so it would be easy to link. I would be happy to send you a copy for review if you provide your address. Just let me know!

Warm regards,
Tami Boehmer
www.miraclesurvivors.com
Anonymous commented on 18-Sep-2010 09:03 PM
Hi Brenda, I love your site and do find it very well orgnaized, wish it were around when I was diagnosed five years ago. You should be proud of how you've turned your diagnosis into something that helps those who unfortunately hear those four words...

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