We all love chocolate for different reasons – it tastes fantastic, it’s rich and regal, and it makes us feel better (even if only for a little while). But chocolate studies have found that it can also help fight cancer. And as November, also known as Movember, is cancer month, we here at My Chocolate Box, decided we’ll find out just how chocolate can help fight cancer.
Before we get into the benefits, it’s important to understand that not just any chocolate is good for you. Go for dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa. Before you buy anything, look at the ingredients, cocoa or cocoa mass should be listed as the first ingredient and not sugar. If you see alkalised or Dutch-processed cocoa on the label, rather leave it as they are low in flavanols.
Also, practice moderation, you should only eat about 40-45g per day. Consuming too much of anything, even if it’s healthy, can have negative effects.
So how can chocolate fight cancer?
Cocao beans contain plenty of flavanols (a flavonoid specific to cocoa), which are antioxidant compounds that fight to reduce the damaged cells in your body, protects cells against damage caused by free radicals and remove heavy metals from your blood stream.
Free radicals are atoms with an unpaired number of electrons in their structure; they are highly reactive and can start a “damage-chain reaction” in your body. It’s this that can cause cancer.
In addition, cocoa also contains polyphenols, which can stop the increase of the vascular endothelial growth factor, which leads to the creation of the blood vessels that feed tumours.
Studies have also found that cocoa can lower nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activities. This is important as NF-κB is involved in the development and progression of cancer and tumours.
Although chocolate can prevent certain cancers, lower inflammation and prevent DNA damage, it should be avoided while you undergo chemotherapy. Some antioxidants interfere with chemotherapy.
This being said, more research still needs to be done to find conclusive results about how chocolate fights cancer.
This blog is for information purposes only. Consult your doctor before attempting any dietary changes.