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Posted by Jason Vishnefske on March 02, 2017
Amyloidosis | Can Chocolate Diet Help Slow Onset?
An amyloid is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited anywhere in the body. It’s known as an abnormal protein because it can deposit or collect incorrectly. By nature, an Amyloid is chemically sticky and gradually builds up to form plaques. The amyloid build-up in the body is undesirable due to various reasons- all pertaining to dangerous diseases that could affect different organs such kidneys, heart, liver, spleen, nervous system, and digestive tract. Amyloids are responsible for diabetes, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease and other diseases .
In healthy people, the amyloid buildup is removed before they can cause problems. Unfortunately, in some people, the protein buildup is not removed quickly enough in organs and especially in the brain, and this buildup of amyloid plaques adversely affects these organs. The amyloid physically disrupts the tissue architecture resulting in the disorder of function in an organ. Amyloid-related diseases such as Diabetes or Alzheimer often have no cure and result in gradual organ failure and permanent memory loss. The goal as a result is to avoid the build-up of the amyloid protein in the human body.
Can Amyloid Protein buildup be prevented?
It’s likely important to choose a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious food intake  such as Mediterranean diet , which is eating super foods like fruits and vegetables. It is also likely critical to maintain an active regime which should include both body and mind exercises. It has been scientifically proven that exercise can stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are very important for healthy cognition. This will ultimately help in keeping the buildup of sticky amyloids at bay. So you're less likely to suffer from dementia and other brain-related diseases which are the 6th leading cause of death in the US.
Super foods which are foods that boost mind and heart health, prevent the risk of heart diseases, lower the risk of high blood pressure or cancer, encourages blood flow to the brain and are usually low in fat and cholesterol. Foods like blackberries (source of antioxidants known as polyphenols) coffee (caffeine is linked to memory boosting  and thinking), apples (source of quercetin ) extra virgin olive oil (It's rich in oleocanthal , a compound that disables dangerous amyloid-derived diffusible ligands) salmon (great source for omega 3 fatty acid ) cinnamon (the spice contains two compounds known as cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin , they help in prevention of the tau protein, which is a possible contributing cause to Alzheimer’s) and chocolate - especially dark chocolate (that is high in cocoa solids) is a super food that studies suggest lowers blood pressure, is heart friendly and also could keep the mind sharp.
How could dark chocolate prevent the buildup of Amyloid protein in the body?
Dark Chocolate - Memory boosting Super Food
Chocolate is made from fermented, roasted, and finely ground seeds of Theobroma cacao tree usually found in tropical regions. Dark chocolate that is 70% contains at least 70 percent cacao and 30 percent sugar (the sugar helps contribute to the taste adding sweetness). The cacao itself contains a powerful mixture of phytochemicals that offers multitudes of possible medicinal properties.
Dark chocolate is considered by many as an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory super food for the mind and body. This is due to the fact that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and contains natural chemicals, that if taken daily in small dosages, can possibly improve blood flow, boost heart and mind health, keep the cardiovascular system pumping, and your mood... calm and happy. According to researchers at Harvard , there is a strong link that chocolate prevents amyloid buildup and provides protection against mind related diseases such as Alzheimer, dementia, and various heart diseases.
These natural chemicals, which are found in dark chocolate, are:
The primary photochemical found in dark chocolate are polyphenols. It’s a class of nutrients that perform various important functions such as controlling growth hormones, protecting against UV damage, and preventing infections. Science has shown that polyphenols actually prevent amyloid plaques.
Polyphenols are one of the main reasons dark chocolate is touted as a healthy treat. The polyphenols that are found in both dark chocolate and coffee are known as Catechins which have been proven to block plaque buildup and help minimize Alzheimer’s disease effects on the brain.
Polyphenols are found in dark chocolate or raw cocoa and is in lower concentration in highly processed chocolates or chocolates with high sugar content.
Resveratrol  is usually found in dark chocolate and grapes and is known as the wonder-molecule. Resveratrol is different from almost all other antioxidants because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help protect the brain and nervous system. It is found to be potentially beneficial against many age-related diseases that include cancer, diabetes, and neurological problems. Resveratrol is said to activate a group of enzymes called sirtuins which seem to affect gene expression which provides protection against the effects of stress. Resveratrol also seems to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as it protects cells from free radical damage and increases the lifespan of human cells.
Chocolate contains both flavanols and flavonols that are two types of flavonoids. Flavanol  is a natural chemical that has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain in young and old alike, which helps short term memory and prevents mental decline. Flavonoids are known for antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-oxidant benefits.
Flavonol is also said to reduce the risk of coronary diseases as it is highly antioxidant and has an anti-inflammatory mechanism. It helps in reducing free radical production.
The Flavonol found in dark chocolate is the main factor that contributes to the bitter taste.
Cocoa is one of the main sources of methylxanthines  which have been known for centuries for their health benefits. Methylxanthines along with polyphenols are said to work together to reduce the levels of glucose in the blood. According to a Malaysian based study , it was confirmed that methylxanthines contribute to cocoa’s ability to lessen the amount of free fatty acids in the blood as well as contributing to antioxidant-boosting capacity- which is crucial for robust brain function and a healthy immune system.
Benefits of Chocolate for mind boosting health
Effects on mood- Both flavanols and methylxanthines are said to play a role in chocolate’s mood enhancing effects. In one study , it was concluded that people felt more calm and content after consuming a daily dark chocolate drink which contained a high amount of polyphenols. Whereas people who drank a placebo chocolate drink containing no polyphenols experienced no change in their mood.
Cognitive functions- As per research , when you consume chocolate, flavonols get absorbed in the blood which then penetrate and accumulate in the regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, especially the hippocampus. This promotes the formation of new neurons as well as improving the functioning of neurons by enhancing the connection and providing protection against free radicals.
Amyloid buildup (Amyloidosis) is a disease that modern science is working to find a cure. Thanks to scientific research and experimentation we are being guided in ways to help tackle this disease and to help prevent or slow the onset with simple methods such as a proper diet.
Dark chocolate can be helpful. It is very important to make sure chocolate is eaten in a moderate measure. Excess consumption of chocolate can have an adverse result to health. Chocolate types and cocoa powders have differing amounts of flavanol, polyphenol, and methylxanthine depends on the cocoa content and the manufacturing procedures. Choose wisely and select a good brand of chocolate with higher cocoa solids and lower sugar.
To keep your brain in top shape and possibly prevent amyloid buildup, make sure to include a variety of superfoods in your diet along with maintaining a healthy active lifestyle.
References/ Material are taken from these links: