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LOVE BYRON BAY ....SPECIALISTS IN INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL CHOCOLATE.

Love Byron Bay creperie and chocolate boutique is dedicated to sourcing, creating and sharing a quality chocolate experience from Byron Bay, Australia. We'll cultivate your understanding of cocoa, stimulate the palate with a discerning appreciation, fire the imagination with unique chocolate encounters and share the passion for this legendary food of the gods. Exceptional chocolate infused with delicious flavours, irresistible aromatic characteristics and high quality cocoa. 

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Choc Recipes, Choc Facts, Choc Travels and our regular Chocoholic-not-so-Anonymous feature. All this and more in our weekly blog.

Filtering by Tag: Choc News

Choc News: Chocolate as Sunscreen

Alison Campbell

German researchers have shown that ingesting types of chocolate rich in cocoa solids and flavonoids—dark chocolate—can fight skin cancer. Their findings come from a trial of just 24 women who were recruited to add cocoa to their breakfasts every day for about 3 months. Half the women drank hot cocoa containing a hefty dose of flavonoids, natural plant-based antioxidants. The remaining volunteers got cocoa that looked and tasted the same but that had relatively little of the flavonoids.

At the beginning and end of the trial, Wilhelm Stahl of Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf and his colleagues conducted a host of tests on each volunteer. One assessment involved irradiating each woman's skin with slightly more ultraviolet (UV) light than had turned her skin red before the trial began. The skin of the women who had received the flavonoid-rich cocoa did not redden nearly as much as did the skin of recruits who had drunk the flavonoid-poor beverage. Women getting the abundant flavonoids also had skin that was smoother and moister than that of the other women. 'Overexposure to UV light can foster the development of skin cancer so a dietary source of skin protection might offer some innate defense for sunny days when an individual doesn't use sunscreen,' Stahl's team said. Chocolate, these scientists note, is just the latest in a range of antioxidant-rich foods holding the potential to shield skin from sun damage.

The researchers recruited women between the ages of 18 and 65. Each volunteer received packets of a dry powder to mix each day with 100 milliliters of hot water—roughly a half cup. Half of the women received powder containing 329 milligrams of flavanols, a type of flavonoid, per serving. The rest got powder delivering a mere 27 mg of flavanols per serving. The primary flavanols were epicatechin and catechin.

Stahl's team reports that the women drinking the high-flavonoid cocoa had 15 percent less skin reddening from UV light after 6 weeks of cocoa consumption and 25 percent less after 12 weeks of the trial. Both figures are comparisons with the same women's response to UV light before the study started. The women drinking the cocoa with low flavonoids showed no change during the trial.

So, could a person realistically add enough flavonoids to his or her diet to produce the benefits suggested by the study? Flavonoid quantities in the richer cocoa were "similar to those found in 100 grams of dark chocolate," Stahl's group reports.

The cocoa drink provided its flavonoids in a serving that delivered only about 50 calories—far below the 400 to 500 calories ordinarily encountered in candy providing a walloping dose of flavanols. Schmitz concludes that people can, in theory, get this efficacious dose without blimping out.

Photo: youbeauty.com
Sourcesciencenews.org

Choc News: Compound in cocoa found to reverse age-related memory loss

Alison Campbell

In case anyone needed another reason to love chocolate, a new study suggests that a natural compound found in cocoa, tea and some vegetables can reverse age-related memory loss.

The findings suggest that the compound increases connectivity and, subsequently, blood flow in a region of the brain critical to memory, the researchers said.

The study — published online in Nature Neuroscience and partly financed by a chocolate company — found that flavanols reverse mild memory loss in older adults. Using brain scans and memory tests, the latest study built on previous work showing that flavanols extracted from cocoa beans had improved neuronal connections in mice’s dentate gyrus, a part of the brain involved in memory formation.

But hold that chocolate bar. The researchers also warn that the compound found in cocoa exists only in minuscule amounts in the average chocolate bar compared with the amount used in the study, so gorging on chocolate in the name of health and improving one’s memory could backfire.

“It would make a lot of people happy, but it would also make them unhealthy,” Scott A. Small, a professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, said Friday.

Small said that even more important, the new study offers the first direct evidence that memory deteriorates with age because of changes in the dentate gyrus, a region of the hippocampus. Previous studies had shown a link between changes in this region of the brain and normal, age-related memory loss, but the Columbia University study asserts a causal link.

“It more firmly establishes that this is the anatomical source of age-related memory loss,” Small, the study’s senior author, said. He said the study also offered yet more evidence that diet and healthy lifestyles that increase blood flow to the brain can slow or reverse age-related cognitive decline.

The study involved 37 healthy subjects who ranged in age from 50 to 69. On a random basis, they were given either a high-flavanol diet, consuming 900 milligrams a day, or a low flavanol diet, consuming 10mg per day. Brain scans, which measure blood volume in the dentate gyrus, and memory tests were used to evaluate the effect of the diet. Small said the typical candy bar contains about 40mg of flavanols.

Researchers said that if a person had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months, on average, that person’s memory would function more like a 30- or 40-year-old’s. The researchers also cautioned that more work is needed because of the study’s small sample size.

The compounds appear to enhance connectivity and metabolic activity in the dentate gyrus. Aging appears to reduce the synapses, or connections, between neurons in that part of the brain. That decline, however, is not related to severe memory loss and cell death in Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, Small said.

Most cocoa-processing methods in use today remove many of the flavanols found in cocoa. But the chocolate maker Mars produced a cocoa flavanol test drink specifically designed for the research, which the company also subsidized.

Photograph by Bogdan Wankowicz/Alamy  
Source washingtonpost.com