We hear it frequently that chocolate is a good anti-oxidant and has, therefore, health benefits. So what is an anti-oxidant agent and how does it work. It’s not difficult to explain and there is research available for those who need more information. Generally, however, one should look upon it as something that counter-acts disease. It does this by ‘hooking’ itself onto a free radicle, which is a disease laden molecule looking for a cell to engage.
Anyone with a background in chemistry, even at school level, will understand how molecules of matter join with others to form elements. They comprise a nucleus with an electric charge that has room for opposite charges to attach to it. In other words they have either a positive or a negative charge.
Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. As they enter the body they search for cells that can be robbed of electrons. This causes damage which, over time, can manifest as conditions ranging from aging of the body to cancer.
When anti-oxidant levels are low, such as through poor nutrition, the immune system is overloaded and toxins take effect more readily. These unpaired electron microbes are extremely dangerous. They are looking for what other cells have that they require and can easily capture. That’s why food that are known anti-oxidants are important.
They catch the free radicals by offering to pair them and thus cancel out cell damage. The more we have the greater the protection. Vitamins are great anti-oxidants and the effect of vitamin C’s action against viruses is well-known.
So what about things like chocolate? Cocoa from which it is manufactured contains powerful anti-oxidants called polyphenols. It is the same found in grapes, berries, and wine. It also contains catechins and epicatechins that are found in green tea. These elements are found in the beans, however, not necessarily the finished product.
Chocolate goes through a refining process and is manufactured using things like sugar, protein, and fat. Any heat applied to an anti-oxidant has the power to kill it and the way this finished product is produced is through heat.