Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?

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Are chocolate chips better than Viagra? According to Journal of Nutrition’s latest September and October issues, chocolate has some pretty exciting therapeutic potential.

If you want to avoid being on “the little blue pill” you should consider taking a daily dose of the little brown pill.

That’s right—50-200 chocolate chips a day may prevent the cardiovascular damage that is a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. 1

According to recent studies, the flavonoids in dark chocolate naturally enhanced natural nitric oxide levels. The drug Viagra works mechanistically as a phosphodiesterase inhibtor to enhance nitric oxide. Our bodies also synthesize nitric oxide, and nitric oxide works on our blood vessels to dilate them and increase blood flow. With psychogenic etiologies ruled out, erectile dysfunction is typically an issue of blood flow. Increasing blood flow is how Viagra manufacturers have made a fortune.

In September of 2008, Journal of Nutrition published an Italian university study investigating the therapeutic potential of chocolate and found that, “Flavanols from chocolate appear to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, protect vascular endothelium, and decrease cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors….our findings suggest flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa food products may have a positive impact on [cardiovascular disease] risk factors.”


Now as a women’s health physician, I typically avoid topics such as erectile dysfunction like the plague, so I am going to drop my men’s health commentary today and then run for dear life… Photobucket Working as a family practice medical assistant for eight years throughout medical school taught me an important early lesson about men’s health. Most men simply DON’T care about cholesterol, blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, blood sugar, antioxidants or inflammation.

The second you start to nag about this stuff their eyes just glaze over. You can nag and nag and nag about cholesterol and blood sugar lab values, and still no changes will be implemented.

Eventually I realized the secret to men’s health while working as a urology assistant, the only way to get men to care about their health is to hit them below the belt with the facts that matter. Women are typically all about vanity and men are all about virility. These are the motivators I rely on to market and sell my preventive medicine concepts.

PhotobucketDoctors know that all of the aforementioned health issues contribute to erectile dysfunction. But, what most men don’t know is that without a properly functioning cardiovascular system, things below the belt aren’t going to function either.

It’s all about blood flow and elasticity. Photobucket We would never leave our garden hoses to freeze out in the cold of winter, we instead take the time to properly care for them to insure they don’t harden and become permanently dysfunctional. Although garden hoses cannot auto-repair, our arteries do by making scar tissue, and the similar type of destruction from high blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes is repaired by the body by throwing down scar tissue and inflammation.

The more scar tissue and inflammation in your arteries the less elastic they are, and thus the narrower their diameter. Blood pressure just continues to escalate and the damage to your arteries continues in a vicious cycle. Viagra and similar medications such as Levitra and Cialis all work to enhance blood flow.

They are designed to promote the elasticity of those frozen old er…stiff garden hoses. Viagra is a phosphodiasterase inhibitor which increases levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes our blood vessels to EXPAND. Eventually arteries become damaged and hardened to the point where they will no longer respond to nitric oxide. Photobucket Keep in mind though that a “garden hose” left out in extreme harsh “winter conditions” will inevitably lose it’s elasticity, and the hose will have to be replaced. How many “winters” have you left your body out in the cold, not caring about diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation? This is why many men with erectile dysfunction don’t find benefit from Viagra. Blood vessel expansion is the premise of which Viagra has made millions.


I am going to instead give away my natural medicine tips for free, and if the Toll House Chocolate Chip Company wants to send me a billion dollar thank you check, they are more than welcome. What is more important to me is that TODAY you feel inspired and motivated to prevent problems that will inevitably occur down the road TOMORROW.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”—right?

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If you don’t have erectile dysfunction now wouldn’t you like to prevent it from happening? Medicine’s used to treat ED are expensive, have multiple side effects and drug interactions, and are not as well tolerated as the commercials on television make them out to be.

When I worked as a Urology assistant the main complaint was always headaches and that “it just didn’t work”. Well after a while when disease has advanced too far, no medication will be able to work. Think back to the garden hose example. You want your arteries to be elastic and healthy, not hardened from the “harsh winter conditions” of sub-optimally controlled high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.

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So why chocolate chips?

Well chocolate chips are fantastic prevention because they are DARK chocolate and the darker the chocolate the more nitric oxide enhancing flavonoids.

A study was done on Italian men and found that Italian men that ate an ounce of dark chocolate had healthier lab markers.

Keep in mind that 50 chocolate chips or roughly an ounce of dark chocolate is the minimum amount needed to prevent disease according to that study.

I weighed them out and found that 48 chocoalte chips= 1oz. But you have my permission to throw in two extra chips for preventive measure!

Another study cited previously, showed therapeutic benefit with 100 grams of dark chocolate which is about 200 chocolate chips! Is this not the best news ever for chocolate lovers?

Remember though that chocolate as a medicine is not free of calories, cocoa butter, or refined sugar. Pure cocoa products are a great alternative as an ounce of chocolate chips have 140 calories. While 200 chocolate chips pack a whopping 500 calories!

But, for those of you that are already eating too much sugar and saturated fat, chocolate chips are a fantastic way to transition to a healthier dessert diet. I know most of you are probably eating fattening desserts anyways (I mean we do have to enjoy life a little bit right?) so dark chocolate chips are a healthier alternative and I like that they conveniently come in little bits that can be savored throughout the day.

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But, chocolate chips are not the only foods that contain disease fighting flavonoids. So here is the bait and switch. Most fruits and vegetables are also rich in flavonoids.

Berries are chock full of proanthocyanins, citrus is a fantastic source of hesperidin and rutin, and onions are an excellent source of quercetin. Fruits and vegetables are likely going to prevent the need of Viagra too!

Yes–really this is just a giant strategically planned nag on my part to inspire the consumption of more whole foods, especially those rich in flavonoids. And yes it really was too easy to grab your attention with chocolate chips and Viagra and then turn this in to a fruit and veggie nag. But, my point with this “gotcha” is that preventing disease is where it is at when it comes to ED. Winter is coming, and it is time to think about your preventative plan for your “garden hose.”

A healthy dose of fresh fruits, raw or lightly steamed veggies, raw nuts and seeds, and chocolate will work synergistically to prevent the cardiovascular damage that causes disease.

I think any man suffering with ED reading this article would absolutely agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

For diabetics that want to gain the flavanol benefits of chocolate chips, simply enjoy them with a small handful of raw almonds to decrease the glycemic load and increase phenolic compounds (anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer). Almonds are also high in fiber, and fiber consumption also is protective to the cardiovascular system. So add about ten raw almonds to your 50 chocolate chips or make a healthy trail mix with your other favorite raw nuts and seeds.

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I don’t want to leave women out of this nag, so chocolate chips are good news for women too as Dr. Christiane Northrup in her latest book “The Secret Pleasures of Menopause” also emphasizes the importance of naturally enhancing nitric oxide levels through diet and lifestyle to improve sexual function. Grab the book through Amazon, if you care to learn more about ways to naturally enhance nitric oxide.

Those in need of losing weight should also benefit from this simple chocolate chip tip as eating a few chocolate bits throughout the day should help you feel satisfied for sweets and prevent those binges brought on by extreme deprivation and yo-yo dieting that sets the stage for binge eating.

Stick with me, subscribe to my feed, and I will teach you how to be healthy & enjoy life.

Dr. Nicole Sundene

Want more tips for preventing and treating erectile dysfunction through diet and lifestyle?

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Try: Exercise, The Low Glycemic Index Diet, The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Kegels for Men, Cholesterol Lowering Diet, Hypertension, Low Sodium Diet, Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatory Diet and subscribe to my feed as we discuss the therapeutic potential of other healing foods and natural supplements for cardiovascular health and erectile dysfunction.

References

1. Grassi D, Desideri G, Necozione S, et al. “Chocolate and Blood Pressure” J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1671-6.

2. Romina di Giuseppe, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, et al. “Italian Men that eat Dark Chocolate are Healthier” J. Nutr. 138:1939-1945, October 2008

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Comments

16 Responses to “Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?”

  1. Rain Gem on November 19th, 2008 10:18 pm

    What about those for whom chocolate is a migraine trigger? I personally love chocolate, especially dark. But it’s still a trigger. Any advise for migraine people who like chocolate but can’t really eat it?

    Cheers,

    Rain

    Rain Gem’s last blog post..Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?

  2. JD on November 20th, 2008 8:09 pm

    informative

    now i have an urge for chocolate

  3. Kat on November 20th, 2008 8:23 pm

    LOL! My husband was reading over my shoulder and immediately perked up. “50 to 200 chocolate chips a day? You’re going to the grocery store tomorrow, right?”

  4. Miss MatchMaker on November 20th, 2008 11:30 pm

    It always amazes me the little tidbits of information I learn from you each day Doc! You remember what I like about chocolate right? lol

    xoxo~

  5. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog on November 21st, 2008 12:53 am

    Hi Dr. Nicole – Great title that’s bound to get you lots of hits. :) Maybe you need to send a copy to Toll House so they can get that check ready for you as undoubtedly their sales will increase. Haha!

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Chocolate Chips Better than Viagra?

  6. Rod Newbound, RN on November 23rd, 2008 6:07 am

    Of course, you can also improve your nitric oxide levels with a couple amino acids: L-arginine and L-citruline taken together, but it won’t be as much fun as eating chocolate. But, unfortunately, chocolate chips are also loaded with sugar.

    A friend of mine has introduced me to a new healthy chocolate that’s far superior. He even has testimonials from consumers that are loosing weight eating it! Being a total skeptic, I’m testing this myself. And I plan to have fun doing it!

    Thanks for the article.

    Rod Newbound, RN’s last blog post..Why We Should Like Bugs and Worms

  7. Melinda on December 1st, 2008 1:56 pm

    I love, love, love, dark chocolate but limit myself to only having a small piece once a day–because I really don’t need the calories. It is a real treat, though, at the end of the day to sit back with a cup of hot tea and a small bit of my favorite dark chocoate.

    Cheers!

    Melinda

  8. Pol vanRhee on December 17th, 2008 12:24 pm

    What if there was a chocolate that was high in flavanols, didn’t have added processed sugar, didn’t have added caffeine, and was cold processed to keep all the natural nutrients in, would you want to know about it?

    So, basically all the good and little to none of the bad. No triggers for migraines, no weight gain and still tasted like some of the finest chocolate from Belgium.

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  10. Why Pomegranate Juice is Wonderful | Kitchen Table Medicine on March 26th, 2009 7:12 pm

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  11. jurekpompka on May 21st, 2009 3:01 pm
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  13. james on September 22nd, 2009 1:55 am

    The beneficial effect of nitric oxide on high blood pressure has been proven in clinical trials as well. If you suffer from this, you might also think about taking ntiric oxide as a supplement, such as they are used by bodybuilders.

  14. Jay Wallace on November 11th, 2009 2:18 am

    Mmmm, i just ate some chocolate, dark and nutty, and let me tell you, i would much rather take a dose of chocolate than one of the nasty blue pills or something similar. It’s great to know that chocolate has nitric oxide enhancing flavonoids, i had no idea. Thanks Nicole, sweeeet post:)

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  16. Michelle on October 19th, 2011 12:01 am

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