Acticoa chocolate: ©Barry Callebaut You may have been okay with the evidence that dark chocolate is great for your immune system as it fights free radicals. But then, consumers were warned that the healthy chocolate had to be eaten raw from the cocoa bean, because the process of making chocolate removes the flavanols, the antioxidants that mop up those free radicals.
Now, the Swiss-based Barry Callbaut, the largest chocolate distributor in the world, has discovered a process to extract the flavanols from the cocoa beans and reintroduce them into processed chocolate. The formula is called Acticoa© cocoa, and it's one of the richest known sources of flavanols.
Acticoa chocolate process reserves important flavanols: ©Acticoa
Want some proof? As is happens Barry Callebaut conducted a 6 month, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, albeit small (30 participants), that revealed a "significant and sustained improvement in skin elasticity amongst participants from the cocoa flavanol group of up to 34 percent after 6 months." These participants only took 300mg of the Acticoa© cocoa twice a day for 6 months. That amount of Acticoa© cocoa is the equivalent of two 10g servings of a bar - not even an ounce!
Barry Callebaut claims that the Acticao cocoa results are equal to, if not better than, than one gets from the best skin creams. (Hmm. Skin cream... cocolate... skin cream... chocolate...) There has been evidence that Acticao does perform as a 'sunscreen,' and that is born out by the fact that the above study was conducted during part of the summer and the results still showed improved skin elasticity. There have been many significant studies on the health and skin benefits of chocolate flavanols, and you will find many of them on a resource list on the Acticoa website.
As for the chocolatiers that are incorporating Acticoa in their chocolates, a British chocolate house, Chocacao, has dedicated itself to Acticoa products. As you can see below, Acticoa can also be blended into milk chocolate!
Chocacao Acticoa Chocolate: ©Chocacao
There are many other chocolatiers - European and British - joining the Acticoa bandwagon and you can find a great list, by country, from the Acticoa map. Acticoa is so new that many of the chocolatiers don't have their products ready yet!
You know, my body is really starting to crave a nourishing piece of chocolate, one that maintains my heart, my brain, keeps my face from the surgeon's knife, and satisfies my chocolate addiction!
sources: Acticoa, Barry Callebaut, via Telegraph.co.uk
Keeping you posted...