Category: Food in the News Light

10 delicious movies: Hollywood turns food into art form

Source: Montgomery Advertiser

10 delicious movies: Hollywood turns food into art form

WARNER HOME VIDEO, Illustration by jeremy wyatt using images from thinkstock.com
Gene Wilder appears in a scene from the classic film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
Food is more than fuel — it’s art. Film can capture only one of the sensations of food, but it does so with relish, both for the sensual pleasure of the viewer and the spiritual fulfillment of the characters.

Here’s a countdown of 10 delectable food movies that are just as satisfying as a good meal.

10. “Chocolat” (2000): Lasse Hallstrom’s film is heaven for chocoholics. A single mother and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small, cloistered French village wary of the newcomers and their sinful physical pleasures. Juliette Binoche stars as the chocolatier who challenges the puritanical community with her confections and seduces Johnny Depp along the way. It’s “Babette’s Feast” for dummies, but that doesn’t mean it’s dumb — it’s swirled through with sensual beauty and fairy-tale charm that reminds pleasure need not be sin.

9. “Big Night” (1996): Stanley Tucci co-wrote, co-directed and stars in a film with a very Italian take on food, where it’s not a source of physical sustenance so much as spiritual. He plays restaurant owner Secondo, brother to Tony Shalhoub’s Primo; the former is the businessman struggling to keep the traditional restaurant afloat, the latter the temperamental talented chef, and together they gamble everything on a single, blowout feast that brings them a different sort of fulfillment from the one for which they’d hoped. It’s a film a lot like the meal they make: limited in success, but lovingly made.

8. “My Dinner With Andre” (1981): Written by and starring Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, the oft-parodied “My Dinner With Andre” is either an act of cinematic minimalism or an endurance trial, depending on your patience. A theater director and an actor meet for a meal and conversation at a New York City restaurant. The entire film is a conversation, each man championing a different worldview as the restaurant bustles around them. If you can give in to the film’s singular flow, it captures the hypnotic rhythm of a meal, how it opens a door like little else to conversation.

7. “Soylent Green” (1973): This isn’t on the list just to be cute (though, OK, a little to be cute). Starring in one of his many great dystopian sci-fi films, Charlton Heston plays a detective in an overpopulated future Earth where food is scarce and most survive on rations provided by the Soylent Corporation. He investigates a murder and happens upon a much more gruesome discovery (spoiler alert for a 41-year-old movie): Soylent Green is people. It’s a killer reveal, but it’s also a warning shot against the horrors of outpacing the Earth’s resources.

6. “Like Water for Chocolate” (1992): The youngest daughter in her traditional Mexican family, Tita is forbidden to marry her love, Pedro, and is tasked instead to cook and care for her mother into old age. So, she transfers her emotions into her meals, which manifest in unexpected ways in those who eat them. The film itself is a sensual meal of Mexican magical realism, a fairy-tale concoction of true love, evil mothers, ghosts and Mexican revolutionaries.

5. “Tampopo” (1985): We all love a good spaghetti Western. But a ramen Western? That’s how this movie about a humble noodle-shop owner on a quest to perfect her craft was billed. Tampopo is a widow and single mother toiling in a no-name, nothing-special noodle shop; when a trucker named Goro wanders into town and into her life, they embark on a quest to master the art of ramen. It’s a charming story interspersed with humorous vignettes on the human condition and its complex relationship with food.

4. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (2011): Eighty-five-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono is a marvel of dedication, committing himself body and soul for decades to the perfection of his craft: sushi. You don’t have to have ever eaten sushi in your life to become fully engrossed in this documentary about the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro in Japan (or even to feel compelled to look up the cost of a flight to Japan after). His unwavering focus is fascinating, humbling and even, weirdly, a little sad, as all art must be.

3. “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971): With the exception of maybe a Wonka Bar, I don’t know that you’d actually want to put any of this crazed candymaker’s creations — the lickable wallpaper, the chocolate river, the giant lollipops, even the Everlasting Gobstopper — in your mouth. But as set design, it’s FANTASTIC. A down-and-out boy named Charlie Bucket finds one of five golden tickets to tour the legendary Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and embarks on a psychedelic, candy-fueled trip that became a cult favorite, with good reason.

2. “Babette’s Feast” (1987): In this Danish drama based on a story by the famed Danish writer Isak Dinesen, a pair of pious and elderly Christian sisters oversee an austere, dwindling, joyless sect in 19th-century Denmark far removed from any of the physical pleasures of life. Enter Babette, a French refugee, whom the sisters take in as a toiling cook; when she wins a lottery, she spends the money preparing an exotic meal for the congregation that took her in. It’s more than a meal — it’s a metaphor for healing, sacrifice and giving thanks, and an assertion that it is no sin to enjoy life. The film won the Oscar for best foreign-language film.

1. “Ratatouille” (2007): “Anyone can cook,” this Pixar film asserts, and that maxim extends even to rodents. A rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) dreams of leaving behind garbage bins and putting his finely tuned taste buds to work in the world of Parisian fine dining — not a terribly rodent-friendly business, that. All Pixar films are visually sumptuous, but there’s something particularly striking about the animated flavors of “Ratatouille” in the City of Light, where food isn’t fuel but music you can taste.

Infant Care May Help Explain Race-Linked Obesity Gap

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) — Certain risk factors during infancy may help explain the higher rate of obesity among black and Hispanic children, according to a new study.

Rapid infant weight gain, early introduction of solid foods, inadequate sleep and a lack of exclusive breast-feeding are among the early-life risk factors that account for this racial and ethnic disparity in childhood obesity, the study showed. Most of these risk factors, however, can be changed, the researchers said.

“We know that by the age of 2, black and Hispanic children have close to double the rate of obesity of white children in the United States,” Dr. Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, said in a hospital news release.
Taveras led the study while she was at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The majority of known early-life risk factors for childhood obesity and overweight are more common among black and Hispanic children, the study found, including: read more

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Artwork credit: Created by Glenda Thomas

Soulful 9 Seasoning : A New Spice Blend Created by Glenda The Good Foodie

I NEED YOUR HELP!

Bloggers I NEED you to reblog this post. Help me get the word out about this campaign. Tweet it, Help please!

 

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I have created a new seasoning that is salt-free, sugar-free and gluten-free and Kosher!

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they have been restricted from salt/sodium. This seasoning has been created to make

your food taste good and to keep it healthy. You do not have to give up taste to eat healthily.

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Click on the link above to see how you can be a part of history!

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News flash! GTGF blog has a New Page

I found a great tool that will help you know the nutritional value of food before you make your choices.

There is a page dedicated to this food search engine.

Look at the menu or tabs above and you will see A Calorie Counter. This tool provides more that calorie information. You can use this from your Smartphone to check foods before you go to lunch. Or you can use it while you are at a party and want to make better -healthier food choices. Just use the good search engine to know what you are putting in your mouth.

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Get Optimal Nutrition from Mushrooms

Get Optimal Nutrition from Mushrooms

The “Antioxidant Superstar” Chinese People Eat Daily

 

By Dr. Mercola

Steve Farrar has a Masters Degree in Horticulture from the Washington State University and has worked and studied mushrooms professionally for the last 30 years.

The first 20 years he spent growing them and working primarily with gourmet chefs, but in the past decade, he’s started applying his expertise of mushrooms to health purposes.

According to Farrar, Americans consume about 900 million pounds of mushrooms a year, but 95 percent of that just one species: the common button mushroom and its relatives, the Crimini and the Portabello mushrooms.

In more recent years, mushrooms have received a lot of attention, both in gourmet cooking and in the pharmaceutical industry.

As you will soon learn, mushrooms are a largely untapped resource that can help increase your health and well-being.

The Unique Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms

“Mushrooms are defined as a fungus that forms a fleshy above-ground reproductive structure called the’ mushroom fruit body,'” he explains.

Mushrooms should not be confused with mold and fungi however, which do not form fleshy fruit bodies. To learn more about the details of how mushrooms grow and propagate, please listen to the interview or read through the transcript. The common button mushroom, while not as ‘interesting’ as its more exotic cousins, is an excellent low-calorie food, especially for diabetics. It contains a number of valuable nutrients, including:

  • Protein
  • Enzymes
  • B vitamins (especially niacin)
  • Vitamin D2

However, Farrar’s focus has been on growing various gourmet mushroom species, particularly the wood decaying mushroom species, which differ greatly from your average button mushroom in terms of biology, nutrition and medicinal value, as well as in the production and methodology of growing them.

“By virtue of them being primary decomposers, they have some unique nutritional and also health benefits to them,” Farrar explains. “I tended to focus on species like Maitake, Shiitake, Enokitake, oyster mushrooms, brown beech mushrooms; mushrooms that people over the last 20 years were not really that familiar with.”

The wood decaying mushrooms, which are preferred in Asia and parts of Europe, are quite different in terms of flavors and textures. They also tend to have valuable medicinal properties that differ from the button mushroom. And we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the value and importance of mushrooms as we’ve only classified about 10 percent of all available species.

“I’m continually humbled by my ignorance of what’s going on in this incredible complex world of fungi,” Farrar says. “It’s just mind boggling. Even with the well-studied species, nearly every week they’re finding a new bioactive component… Maybe it’s a polysaccharide, maybe it’s an enzyme, a protein, an antioxidant. They are continually finding new things that have profound effects when we consume them as a food or as a dietary supplement.”

Mushrooms are “Superfoods”

According to Farrar, the effect mushrooms can have on human health is multifaceted, but they’re most well-known for their immune-boosting properties. Long chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha- and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system.

“They’re host mediated responses, meaning that they are not going in like a pharmaceutical medicine and [like] a sledgehammer forcing your body in a particular way. They interact through your immune system itself by stimulating it and making it ready and efficient,” he explains.

Mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants in general as they contain polyphenols and selenium, which are common in the plant world. But they also contain antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms. One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a ‘master antioxidant.’ Interestingly, it’s an amino acid that contains sulfur, and if you listened to my interview with Dr. Seneff on the highly underestimated importance of sulfur, you may recognize why this particular antioxidant may be of particular importance for human health, as many are severely deficient in sulfur.

“[I]t’s one of the only antioxidants identified so far that our cells [use as] a transport system to actively take ergothioneineacross the cell membrane into the cell, to the points of oxidative stress,” Farrar explains. “It’s a very significant antioxidant. It’s probably eventually going to be called a vitamin… they barely even found ways to quantify it effectively. Mushrooms are an excellent source of this antioxidant. We can only get it from our diet. It’s only produced by fungi and certainly soil inhabiting bacteria.”

2009 study in the journal Nature discusses the importance of ergothioneine, describing it as “an unusual sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, histidine,” which appears to have a very specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage. So, if Farrar’s assertions that your body needs ergothioneine, which is fairly exclusive to mushrooms, to effectively transport ergothioneine into your cells, it’s easy to see how mushrooms may be an important part of an optimal diet. If you don’t like to eat them whole, you can also find them in supplement form, either as an extract or whole food supplement, which I’ll discuss more in a moment.

The Immune Enhancing Effects of Mushrooms

According to Farrar, many of the immune benefits obtained from mushrooms are due to the glyconutrients (complex sugars) contained in the fruit body and the mycelia.

“The vital information that can be contained in these sugars is astounding,” he says. “…The way they communicate is… through receptor sites on your cells. It’s described as a lock and a key. There are receptor sites depending on the physical structure of the polysaccharides, the side branches, and the substitutions on it, [and] they will lock on to certain components of your immune system and activate it much like they would be activated by coming into contact with the bacteria.

It’s very profound effects, and we don’t fully understand them… But it’s really these long chained polysaccharides (that are immense complex structures), a lot of times bound with proteins or amino acids or different side chains, that have the effect on your immune system.”

From a practical standpoint, what this means is that you can effectively elicit a very broad-based immune response by consuming a variety of different mushrooms of different species. Most likely, this is exactly what our ancestors used to do, and by eating a diverse variety of foods within each food group, you’re giving your body everything it needs, thereby optimizing your genetic expression.

How Mushrooms Helped Win a Kentucky Derby

Now, some may argue that you typically would not consume the mycelia of the mushroom—which is the thread-like vegetative part of the mushroom that branches through the soil—because if you were to pick it in the wild, you’d typically snap off the top (the fruit body and stem), leaving the rest in the ground. However, Farrar points out that there’s compelling evidence indicating that the mycelia have very valuable health properties.

Studies involving thoroughbred race horses, for example, offer a glimpse into what benefits mushroom products that include the mycelia might harbor. Farrar tells the story of how, in 2007, they convinced an East Coast trainer to put all the horses in his stable on a mushroom blend product developed by Farrar and his team.

“It contained a lot of the Cordyceps species, which is widely recognized as a performance mushroom, enhancing energy production. It had a number of other species and it helped with muscle recovery after strenuous exercise.

Basically, the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner ‘Street Sense’ was a horse that was on our product. The owner and trainer attributed a lot of the success to that. Interestingly enough, part of that was the performance energy component… another part of it was basically a behavioral aspect. It was totally unexpected on our part. The trainer said that [when the horse was] given this blend of mushroom… it was [like] a different horse… racehorses tend to be very fidgety and very high strung and they can be distracted. It’s very difficult to focus their attention. They said once they started along this regimen of a daily dose of this mycelial blend of mushrooms, its trainability and focus [improved]; it was a different animal.

So instead of a lethargic sort of calming effect, it was more like an alert focus… That combined with the performance aspects, the muscle recovery, and the energy generation, was enough to make a difference they thought. Since then they have been spokesman for our products.”

Others have found the same effects giving Farrar’s product to their pets. Owners of elderly dogs in particular have reported that their dogs start acting like puppies again when taking it.

Usage and Dosage Recommendations

When it comes to mushroom supplements, there are two primary types:

  • Mushroom concentrates or extracts—Most of these are so-called hot water extracts, where either the mushroom mycelia or fruit body is boiled for extended periods of time to extract the long chain polysaccharides. Farrar explains:

    “What you get basically is a concentrated form of these beta glucans. But the enzymes, the proteins, the amino acids, the dietary fiber, mostly the antioxidants, are either denatured, destroyed, or simply discarded.

    While you do get a very concentrated amount of these – generally, they also try to purify it to get them down to a minimum of variation [so] they can standardize it… Not to say that those aren’t valuable products. In extreme cases of advanced cancer, tumors, all sorts of things, that is a very appropriate thing… Particularly as a complimentary therapy.”

  • Whole food/Raw mushrooms—Consuming the mushrooms raw or using a whole food mushroom (powdered pill) product is generally a better alternative if you’re reasonably healthy and looking to maintain optimal health, as they help maintain ideal function of your various systems as opposed to imparting a direct effect. Most of the knowledge about mushrooms come from ancient Chinese medicine where mushrooms are regarded as tonics. Tonics are considered to have non-specific beneficial effects across several systems of your body that do not decline over time.

    If you choose to eat your mushrooms raw, make sure they are organically grown, as their flesh easily absorb air and soil contaminants. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure any product you buy is certified organic for the same reason.

    Furthermore, Farrar points out that whole mushrooms also provide healthful dietary fiber that act as “prebiotic platforms for the growth of probiotic organisms in your gut,” which is very important for digestive health. This is yet another reason to opt for a whole food mushroom product.

There are no toxicities or resistance build-up associated with mushrooms, Farrar says. Your body will simply use what it needs and expel the rest. One of the most famous medicinal mushrooms is Reishi, revered as “the mushroom of immortality” by the Chinese, who typically take it every day.

“If you take a massive dose of these mycelial products, you’re not going to overdose on them… You can’t overdose,” he says.“Typically when people start on these products, for the first seven to 10 days we recommend a double dose of it to load your system, and thereafter a moderate dose of one to a couple of grams a day. It’s all that’s needed.

When you’re talking about the isolates of mushrooms, the active ingredients, you’re talking about milligram dosages. If you’re talking about the raw whole food, anywhere from one gram up to 30 grams for very severe cases of cancer cases. People are taking relatively massive doses of it and have had phenomenal effects.”  

Typically, one to two grams is enough for a tonic effect, taken on a daily basis. Farrar recommends taking the product on an empty (or nearly empty) stomach, but it can be taken with moderate amounts of food or liquids.

How to Identify a High Quality Product

In the interview, Farrar describes the techniques used within his industry to produce different kinds of mushroom products, so for more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety or read through the transcript.

One way involves a fermentation process, which can be used for both the fruit body and the mycelia. The cells walls are different in the mycelia compared to the fruit body; they’re more easily digested, making it easier to reap the benefits from the bioactive compounds therein. The technique involves the use of oats, which may raise concerns about gluten content. However, Farrar allays such fears stating that gliadin cannot be detected in the final fermented product. So in its finished form, it’s a gluten-free product.

In a nutshell, when evaluating mushroom supplements, the points of differentiation between products can be broken down to:

  • Isolates versus whole foods
  • Solid state fermentation versus submerged technology
  • The type of substrate (grain) used for the fermentation
  • Percentage of fruit body to mycelium
  • Conventionally grown versus organic

Solid state fermentation is superior to submerged technology when growing the mycelia. Particularly if you’re looking for a complex matrix of nutrition and bioactive compounds.

So-called ‘submerged fermentation’ is typically used by companies focused on extracting particular isolates, and this accounts for up to 70 percent of the products on the market. It’s a more ‘drug-based’ approach that can be beneficial for certain health ailments. However, for a more comprehensively beneficial effect, you’ll want to look for a product using ‘solid state fermentation,’ which is based on the whole food approach where the final product contains more or most of the original compounds and co-factors.

Within the whole food approach, manufacturers may use a variety of different substrate grains for the fermentation process, such as oats, rye, rice, millet, or milo. Farrar tends to favor those using oats, as they tend to have better nutrition than those using rice.

As for the ratio of fruit body to mycelium, Farrar recommends opting for products that contain more of the mycelium. “There is more research directly with the mycelial stage of the mushroom, by far, than the fruit body stage,” he explains. He also discusses several other reasons for opting for mycelium, such as:

  • The mycelia stage of the mushroom is easier to standardize and keep contained
  • Mushrooms grown to the fruit body stage for harvesting opens it up to environmental factors that can be more difficult to control, so there’s more variation in the quality
  • Mushroom fruit bodies attract airborne contaminants, both biological and industrial, so there’s greater risk for contamination

Last but certainly not least, you have the option of simply eating the mushrooms raw, or very lightly cooked. Excellent choices include maitake, shiitake, and king trumpet.

“They are so versatile. You can eat them in anything,” Farrar says. “In the United States, our annual per capita consumption of mushrooms is about four pounds a year. In parts of China and Japan, it’s 20, 25, 30 pounds! Even Canada has twice the consumption of mushrooms that we have. Mushrooms should be a bigger part of our diet.”

Cocao and it’s Health Benefits

Hershey Corp.

Cocao (Pronounced: co-cow) is the chocolate with the health benefits.  I have included in this post a short video  and information directly from Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition.  So we can eat chocolate to our health, but make sure we get the right one.

GTGF

Video by Hershey

Hershey Center for Health  and Nutrition

Cocoa PowderSkip Navigation LinksCocoa Powder > Composition > Antioxidants

Antioxidants

Antioxidants in foods have gained much attention in recent years and cocoa powders tend to have relatively high amounts.  As cocoa makes its way from fresh beans to finished products like cocoa powder and chocolate, the concentration of antioxidant compounds can be affected by a variety of biological and processing conditions.  Genetics can cause as much as a 4-fold difference in antioxidant content of fresh cocoa beans (3, 4).  Fermentation of fresh cocoa beans, while critical for full cocoa flavor, also tends to decrease antioxidant content.  Roasting of cocoa beans and treatment of cocoa powder with alkali can also decrease the final content of antioxidants. A study of the antioxidant content of various alkalized cocoa powders reveals that the antioxidant content decreases proportionally with the amount of alkalization(2). Due to the effect of all of these factors, it has become important to identify the specific types of antioxidants in cocoa products and develop analytical measurements for their contents.

Types

There are several types of antioxidant compounds found in cocoa powder. There has recently been a great deal of interest in polyphenolic compounds, particularly flavonoids, as antioxidants.  Flavonoids are synthesized by all vascular plants.  As a result, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and whole grains are sources of flavonoids in our diet(5).  Cocoa beans are a concentrated source of antioxidants(6) and flavonoids with the flavan-3-ols and their derivatives being present in high concentrations(7).

The discovery of flavan-3-ols and their procyanidin polymeric forms in cocoa can be traced back as early as 1909(8).  These flavan-3-ol compounds were later identified as catechins(9, 10).  In 1939, leucoanthocyanin phenolic compounds were identified(11) and, in 1955, fractionation and characterization of these compounds was reported(12).  The procyanidins in cocoa have more recently been fractionated into monomers through decamers with even higher forms existing (13).  The most abundant polyphenols present in cocoa are the flavan-3-ol monomers, epicatechin and catechin(14), which also serve as building blocks for the polymeric procyanidin forms. The makeup of the polymeric forms is determined by the structure of the flavan-3-ol starter unit and its companion compound.  Two primary forms of procyanidins occur: A-type and B-type which differ by the linkage between the individual compounds. The A-type procyanidins form 2-7 cross links and can be found in cranberries.  The B-type procyanidins form 4-8 cross links.  The B-1 through B-4 types differ only in the arrangement of their catechin and epicatechin units with procyandin B-1 found in grape, sorghum and cranberry, type B-2 in apple, cocoa and cherry, B-3 in strawberry and hops, and B-4 found in raspberry and blackberry(15).

Antioxidant Measurements

The number of antioxidant compounds within a particular food is believed to be an important factor in determining nutritive value.  Antioxidants can be measured indirectly by activity-based tests or directly by compound-based tests.

Activity-based tests do not measure specific phytonutrients; rather these tests measure the total capacity of compounds within a food/beverage to contribute to antioxidant activity. Most activity-based tests are conducted in test tubes.  As a result, there is some question if antioxidant activity in a test tube is a reliable indicator of added antioxidant benefits in the body.

Activity-based tests are particularly useful when comparisons of foods/beverages are made because antioxidant activity represents a “common currency” measure.  Activity-based testing cuts through the difference in phytochemical content of differing foods/beverages permitting scientists and marketers to make rough comparisons of foods/beverages based on the results of these tests.

Activity-based tests have various four to five letter names such as ORAC, FRAP, TEAC, etc.  By far the most common measure in the US is an assay developed and perfected by USDA scientists called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)(16).  The most recent form of the test measures water-soluble as well as oil-soluble antioxidants.

ORAC is a measure of general antioxidant activity in the food/beverage and is commonly used in the US for comparison of different foods/beverages to one another.  USDA has published databases of foods/beverages with ORAC measurements expressed on an equal weight basis and on a per serving basis.  Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are in the top 3% and milk chocolate is in the top 10% of foods/beverages with antioxidant activity.  ORAC is typically expressed as micrograms of Trolox equivalents per gram or serving of food/beverage.

Compound-based tests measure the actual amount of chemical compounds in foods/beverages.  General compound tests measure broad classes of compounds, whereas specific compound tests measure individual or small groups of very specific compounds within the food/beverages.  Specific measures focus on compounds that are either known to be important to human nutrition such as vitamins, lycopene, fiber or compounds implicated in health benefits.  Examples of compound-based tests that are used to measure specific classes of antioxidant compounds in cocoa include  total polyphenols, flavanol monomers, proanthocyandins (PACs), and 4-dimethylaminocinnamaldehye (DMAC).

Total Polyphenols is a general chemical measure of compounds that have a phenolic group associated with them(17).  There are literally thousands of compounds identified in raw materials that will be measured by the total polyphenol test.  Some of the compounds measured will have bioactivity while others will not be bioactive.  Cocoa powder is a food that is high in polyphenols.  Other foods that have high polyphenols include spices, tea, and coffee.  Total polyphenols are typically expressed as mg of gallic acid or mg of epicatechin per gram or serving of food/beverage.

Flavanols are thought to be the chemicals that are, at least in part, responsible for some of the healthful benefits of cocoa and chocolate.  Direct measurement of the flavanols in cocoa and other foods can be done by several means, each method focusing on various size classes of the flavanols.  The basic sub-units of the flavanols are epicatechin and catechin, which can be linked into polymers.  Direct measurement of the subunits of the flavanols can be done in which epicatechin and/or catechin monomers are isolated from the food and separated (19).  In this case, results are expressed as mg of the specific monomeric unit using pure epicatechin and catechin as standards.

.

flavanols

PACs – Flavanol polymers, sometimes called procyanidins, proanthocyanidins or PACs, can be measured in cocoa powder and chocolate as well as in other foods.  These PACS can be isolated and separated into their component parts including the monomeric subunits, small polymers and long chain polymers.  The various polymeric flavanols can be isolated by HPLC based on their size (20).  These peaks are then quantified using chemical standards isolated from cocoa or other flavanol-rich plants.  Data can be reported for individual polymeric units or as a sum of all monomers and polymers as mg of PACs.  The availability of specific standards for each polymer has been lacking in the past and, as a result, much of the PAC data in the literature is based on differently prepared standards.  This makes it difficult to compare data from different labs.  Recently, pure polymeric standards have become available from dimers through decamers.  The Hershey Company has recently chosen to report all new PAC data as the sum of flavanols including monomers through decamers in chain length (PAC-10).

DMAC is a more specific measure of the total proanthocyanidins (PACs) content and is based on the colorimetric reaction of a specific reagent, 4-dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde, or DMAC, with the proanthocyanidins in a food or beverage.(18)  The Hershey Company and other collaborating labs have chosen to use the commercially-available flavanol dimer B2 as the standard for this test.  Results are reported as mg of total proanthocyanidins on a B2 dimer basis, per gram of sample.  This relatively new test allows the more accurate reporting of total proanthocyanidin content in a sample.

The antioxidant activity and compounds in various cocoa powders have been measured using techniques described in this section.  Cocoa powders listed in the table below include HERSHEY’S Cocoa (a natural cocoa powder) and HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa (a blend of natural and alkalized cocoa).  Also included are a variety of commercial cocoa powders that have been alkalized to different degrees ranging from natural/non-alkalized (pH 5.56), to lightly alkalized (pH 6.97), to moderately alkalized (pH 7.35), and to heavily alkalized (pH 7.88).

 Cocoa Powder Description ORAC (micromoles TE/g) Total Polyphenols (mg/g) Flavanol Monomers (mg/g) PAC (mg/g)
HERSHEY’S Cocoa 628 56.4 2.66 36.2
HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa 233 11.5 0.06 4.5
Commercial Natural Cocoa 629 52.6 3.11 34.6
Lightly Alkalized Cocoa 375 29.4 1.39 13.8
Moderately Alkalized Cocoa 279 20.8 0.63 7.8
Heavily Alkalized Cocoa 253 15.6 0.13 3.9

Data from Miller et al., 2008 (2)

References

1.   Chocolate, Cocoa, and Confectionery:  Science and Technology; 3rd ed.; Chapman & Hall: New York, 1989.
2.   Miller, K. B.; Hurst, W. J.; Payne, M. J.; Stuart, D. A.; Apgar, J.; Sweigart, D. S.; Ou, B. Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56 (18) 8527-8533.
3.   Clapperton, J.; Lockwood, R.; Romanczyk, L.; Hammerstone, J. F.  Contribution of genotype to cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.). Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) 1994, 71, 303-308.
4.   Forsyth, W. G. C.; Rombouts, J. E.  Our approach to the study of cocao fermentation. In Report Cocoa Conference; London, UK, 1951;  73-81.
5.   USDA Database for the Flavanoid Content of Selected Foods.http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/flav.pdf .  2003.
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