Phytochemistry: Chocolate / Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) contains a group of phytochemicals called N-acylethanolamines (NAEs). These can include N-linoleoyl ethanolamide, N-oleoylethanolamide and palmitoyl ethanolamide (PEA). These phytochemicals inhibit the breakdown of natural cannabinoid chemicals in the brain by inhibiting an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), possibly producing a mild anti-anxiety effect. Also contains flavonoid polymers called proanthocyanidins which have antioxidant effect. The methylxanthines caffeine and theobromine are also present.
Uses: medicinally cocoa is used to decrease platelet aggregation and thereby improve circulatory disorders. Cocoa and chocolate rich in cocoa can have mild anxiolytic effects. Also have a strong antioxidant effect. The antioxidants in cocoa can have a general health effect. The caffeine and theobromine may have anti-fatigue effects.
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