Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Thoughts: Theobromine - meet the bitter alkaloid (a naturally occurring chemical compound containing basic nitrogen atoms) of the cacao plant, found in chocolate, the thing that creates the addiction, craving and is responsible for the lurrrve making later on (aphrodisiac!).
Earth Dieter and reader Warwick Horwood suggested I create a blog on Theobromine after trying one of my chocolate balls! (recipe below). Cocoa is the main ingredient in the chocolate balls, and Theobromine is a naturally occuring substance found in Cacao, know to have positive effects on the body. Cocoa powder can vary in the amount of theobromine, from 2% theobromine to at least 10%.
Following its discovery in the late 19th century, theobromine was put to use by 1916,where it was recommended by the publication Principles of Medical Treatment as a treatment for edema (excessive liquid in parts of the body), syphilitic angina attacks, and degenerative angina. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that theobromine was once used as a treatment for other circulatory problems including arteriosclerosis, certain vascular diseases, angina pectoris, and hypertension.
In modern medicine, theobromine is used as a vasodilator (a blood vessel widener), a diuretic (urination aid), and heart stimulant. In addition, the future use of theobromine in such fields as cancer prevention has been patented.
Theobromine has also been used in birth defect experiments involving mice and rabbits. A decreased fetal weight was noted in rabbits following forced feeding, but not after other administration of theobromine. Birth defects were not seen in rats.
The amount of theobromine found in chocolate is small enough that chocolate can, in general, be safely consumed by humans. However, theobromine poisoning may result from the chronic or acute consumption of large quantities, especially in the elderly In extreme cases, emergency room treatment may be required. Serious poisoning happens more frequently in domestic animals, which metabolize theobromine much more slowly than humans, and can easily consume enough chocolate to cause chocolate poisoning.
While theobromine and caffeine are similar in that they are related alkaloids, theobromine is weaker in both its inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases and its antagonism of adenosine receptors. Therefore, theobromine has a lesser impact on the human central nervous system than caffeine. However, theobromine stimulates the heart to a greater degree. While theobromine is not as addictive, it has been cited as possibly causing addiction to chocolate. Theobromine has also been identified as one of the compounds contributing to chocolate's reputed role as an aphrodisiac.
Theobromine can also be found in small amounts in the kola nut, the guarana berry, and the tea plant.
A diagram of the bronchus. The loosening of the muscles in the bronchus caused by theobromine helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma.
Challenges: Hmmm can I get theobromine poisoning if I eat too many chocolate balls?
Triumphs: I love that I can eat chocolate everyday wooo wooo! Organic, raw and totally totally healthy! Recipe below :)
What I Ate Today:
Breakfast: Spinach and carrot juice. 4 nectaries.
Lunch: 2 nectarines and 5 handfuls of Macadamia nuts (yes too many nuts in one sitting as I found out later in the Bikram Yoga class...body not happy jan hehe)
Dinnner: Salad with green lettuce and spinach and raw snow peas and avocado and lemon juice.
Dessert: 5 nectarines
Snacks: ginger tea (ginger boiled in water) mmm mmm
Recipe: Chocolate Balls
Ingredients: (use your own measurements and human instinct to create the perfect amount of each ingedient for you)
1. Cocao powder (or cocao beans if you totally want to make them from scratch)
2. Agave syrup
3. Nut meal...ethier almond meal and hazelnut meal
4. Whole nuts...my favourite are walnuts and hazelnuts and macadamias
1. If you buy cocao beans you need to roast them for 40 minutes and then peel them and grind them into powder. If you do this you will absolutely appreciate your chocolate!
or add cocao powder and the same amount of nut meal to a bowl and stir.
2. Add agave syrup to make it sweet and a little water to create a consistency that you love. I love it smooth and bulky so I can roll it into balls.
3. Add the whole nuts. Mix with hands.
4. Roll into balls and put in the fridge for later to eat cold, or eat as a paste now.
Exercise: I long sweaty Bikram Yoga class at Hermosa Beach LA www.bikramyogahermosabeach.com
250 days to go!!!