A chocolate that is good for the heart has been developed and could be on sale in months
A chocolate that is good for the heart has been developed – and could be on sale in months.
Acticoa, a dark chocolate containing health-boosting plant chemicals called flavanols, is made by Swiss company Barry Callebaut.
Tests show that it increases the elasticity of blood vessels by 1 to 2 per cent, making it easier for blood to flow.
Research shows that an improvement of 1 per cent cuts the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, by 8 per cent.
Cocoa beans are naturally high in flavanols but they are normally stripped out during processing. Barry Callebaut has made adjustments to its processing technique, to preserve the flavanols.
Spokesman Marijke De Brouwer said: ‘This is not about artificially adding a nutrient – it is about preserving what is already present in cocoa.’
A Chocolate Industry Network conference heard recently that interest in Acticoa is high, as the European Commission has given permission to carry a health claim.
Wrappers will be able to state that ‘cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow’.
But Angus Kennedy, of trade magazine Kennedy’s Confection, questioned whether Britons will embrace a healthy version of something meant to be a treat.
He said: ‘We must always remember that chocolate is more or less 50 per cent sugar and 50 per cent fat.
'If you wanted to increase your blood flow, you’d probably go for a jog or take a walk in the park.’
Studies also credit Acticoa chocolate with a host of other health benefits, from fighting wrinkles to sharpening the mind.
Cocoa beans are naturally high in flavanols but they are normally destroyed or stripped out during processing.
Although you may never have heard of Barry Callebaut, it is likely to have made one in five of the squares of chocolate that pass your lips.
The 1,400,000 tonnes of chocolate made by the firm each year help supply household names including Cadbury’s and Thorntons, as well as caters and chefs and it has British factories in Banbury and St Helen’s.
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