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Why dark chocolate is good for the liver

When its cocoa content exceeds 70%, chocolate has many virtues.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants useful in the fight against cell aging and inflammation. The cocoa content of chocolate is therefore essential. But milk chocolate does not contain enough - antioxidants are there in a trace state - and white chocolate is devoid of it because it is based on cocoa butter and not cocoa.

Why dark chocolate is good for the liver

“The antioxidant capacity of cocoa would be four to five times higher than that of black tea, two to three times greater than that of green tea. It is explained by the presence of polyphenols, in particular slower elimination flavonoids, and therefore effective longer, as well as by the presence of anthocyanins with recognized anti-cancer properties. It is also explained by a wealth of minerals such as zinc (antioxidant and immunostimulant), copper which, with the first, enhances the action of a key antioxidant enzyme for the body (superoxide dismutase), selenium, which activates an enzyme blocking the free radicals responsible for oxidation (glutathione peroxidase), and manganese, also anti-inflammatory ", confirms Dr. Franck Senninger, nutritionist and author of Les Virtues du Chocolat (Éditions Jouvence).

Thanks to its richness in antioxidants, cocoa is a real liver protector

The famous "liver attack" wrongly attributed to chocolate is actually explained by the fats which are present in greater quantity in milk chocolates and white chocolates. In the event of abuse, they are the ones that slow the emptying of the stomach and cause nausea and vomiting. They are also the ones that stimulate the gallbladder and cause abdominal pain.

Conversely, cocoa, thanks to its richness in antioxidants, is a real protector of the liver. This had already been shown in healthy people. This has just been tested in people whose liver is sick due to a viral infection.

Pr Philippe Sogni (hepatologist at Cochin hospital) and Patrizia Carrieri (epidemiologist at Inserm)

Good news for cocoa addicts. “Even if we could not measure the type and quantity of chocolate consumed, we know that the effect is attributable to certain polyphenols - epicatechin in particular - and that an adapted consumption of dark chocolate ensures an effective dose. Thirty or forty grams of dark chocolate (70% or more) per day - three or four tiles per day - could make it easier to get doses of polyphenols with a hepatoprotective effect without weighing too much on calories. "

The liver is not the only organ to benefit from the hundreds of molecules provided by cocoa. It is also useful for the protection of our arteries, to thin the blood, to fight against the resistance of cells to insulin (prediabetes), and therefore interesting for the heart as for the brain.

Small disadvantages

To be completely honest, cocoa can pose a problem for some: “Its theobromine acts on the diameter of the vessels and promotes a migraine in predisposed people. In addition, people prone to calcium oxalate stones must learn to do without chocolate, too rich in oxalate.

Finally, at a rate of 520 to 550 kilocalories per 100 grams of chocolate, this food quickly tipped the scales on the wrong side in case of abuse. And if some consider themselves to be downright “addicted” to chocolate, it may be due to the presence of theobromine (which makes chocolate so dangerous for dogs and cats), caffeine and salsolinol, because they act on dopamine receptors involved in the pleasure circuit. However, if the pleasure caused by tasting chocolate is accompanied by the release of antistress and antidepressant endorphins, this does not go so far as to cause real dependence, as is the case with nicotine or drugs "Concludes Dr. Senninger.