Gout and Chocolate Cocoa

Gout, Cocoa and Chocolate

Does eating chocolate help with your gout?

Around 1500 AD, a Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico and who had observed the emperor of the Aztecs, Moctezuma II, stated that he took no other beverage than chocolate, served in a golden goblet and flavoured with spices like vanilla; his chocolate beverage was whipped into a froth that dissolved into the mouth. Sounds yummy doesn’t it? That was the first introduction of cocoa to the Europeans and became a very popular beverage by the mid 17th century; the rest is history as we say. Cocoa comes from the Theobroma cacao tree which is native to Central and South America, grows the fruit and inside the fruit; there are about 20 to 50 beans.

Cocoa is very rich in polyphenols like isoflavones, anthocyanins, flavanones, catechins, flavonols, flavanols and flavones. From all the foods known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease like tea, apples, red wine, onions; cocoa comes out on top with the highest antioxidants with polyphenol content providing you and I with the greatest cardio protection. The reason for this is that cocoa thins out the blood to avoid blood clots and has the same benefits in aiding you to avoid blood clotting as aspirin!

The Science behind the Cacao bean

A 2007 Harvard Medical School study followed Panama’s Kuna people, which their diet consists mainly of cocoa, to study the effects of cocoa and flavanols. In general, cocoa and chocolate is rich in antioxidants and flavanoids which benefits your cardiovascular health, including avoiding the risk of stroke and may impart anti aging properties, protecting our cells from premature destruction. It should be noted that what we are talking about here is not milk chocolate that we are so accustomed to, which is basically candy but raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes. Adding milk reduces the overall cocoa content and increases saturated fat levels, missing out on the potential health benefits. What the researchers found was that the Kuna Indians who lived on the islands had decidedly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to the Panamanians who lived on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as the Kuna Indians! Other studies have proven also that consuming cocoa reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Finally, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 followed elderly men for 15 years as they consumed cocoa compared to other men who didn’t and found that the group of men that consumed cocoa had a 50% less risk of cardiovascular mortality and a 47% reduction in all-cause mortality. So the health benefits of cocoa are unanimous!

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

So how does cacao benefit gout?

Very simply, cocoa contains flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that fight the symptoms of gout lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and as these antioxidants improve blood circulation, they in turn increase the amount of uric acid levels that is dissolved in your bloodstream being finally processed properly and out of your urine and into your toilet bowl. Raw cacao prevents inflammation due to its interaction with leukotrienes providing relief from a gout attack working the same way NSAIDs do whereby the flavonoids and polyphenols work together and act as COX2 inhibitors decreasing pain in your joints. Cocoa’s antioxidant properties help keep your body functioning at its optimal best and that also includes the proper functioning of your kidneys which is so important for the gout sufferer in preventing future gout attacks. Let’s not forget that cacao is also mood lifter which will provide you with a more positive and cheerful outlook on life!

What kind of chocolate can I eat?

Most chocolate is just bad for you which contains unhealthy fats, loads of sugar, artificial flavorings, lots of preservatives, has barely any real cocoa in it and has been heated to high temperatures killing most flavonoids! If you eat this type of “candy” chocolate, you will get gout and should be not part of your diet whatsoever. What I’m talking about is raw cacao chocolate products or raw certified organic cacao powder and raw cacao beans which you can find in your local health food store or on Amazon.com. You can eat some dark chocolate from time to time in very minimal amounts, I prefer 99% pure dark chocolate but watch out since excessive consumption of any kind of chocolate, dark or milk chocolate will cause weight gain which will lead to obesity and will worsen your gout. Please consult your doctor before adding raw cacao in your diet.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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16 Comments

  • David

    Reply Reply February 8, 2017

    Theobromine exists in pure cocoa in quantities of roughly 17 mg per gram. Theobromine converts to different uric acids in the liver . I just figured this out, and I’m very bummed.

    Maybe there are great antioxidants too, but you’re also giving yourself quite a load of uric acid when you eat a bunch of chocolate

    https://www.researchgate.net/figure/13082147_fig3_Figure-1-Pathways-of-theobromine-metabolism-in-humans

  • Gary Noyes

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    I have had two heart attacks from clogged arteries and have three stents with minor heart damage, and I couldn’t get my triglycerides below 150 even with 80 mg of simvastatin. I heard that cocoa had antioxidants for the heart so I started taking one Tbsp of raw cocoa powder daily and my triglycerides dropped down to 60 the following month in my test results.

    So I ate a bunch of candy to bring them back up plus cut the simvastatin down to 20 mg and my trigs went up to 80. Then I stopped the candy and cut the simvastatin down to 10mg and will see in a couple of weeks if my trigs are still too low, also I started eating one serving of oatmeal daily and my bad cholesterol dropped 38 points and is now at 108 total cholesterol which is almost too low.

    When I started treatment in 2010 my Cholesterol was 250 and my trigs were 205. So this next test will tell if I can stop the Medicine all together and use the alternative cures I am using now and that is GREAT as the Cholesterol medicines is hard on you liver and they have to run liver tests on me every 3 months. Hope this helps others with the same problem.

  • Ira Nu

    Reply Reply July 3, 2016

    I would really like some clarity on this – as I have already eliminated chocolate from my diet. I have a fairly authoritative Purine list and Theobromine is the very very top of that list.
    Here’s what Wiki says the chemical is:

    Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose,[1] is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2.[1] It is found in chocolate, as well as in a number of other foods, including the leaves of the tea plant, and the kola (or cola) nut. It is classified as a xanthine alkaloid,[2] which also include the similar compounds theophylline and caffeine.[1] The compounds differ in their methylation.

    ???
    thanks

    • Hi Ira!

      If you read this study that I have linked to here you will see that the study concluded that theobromine inhibited xanthine oxidase leads to reduced uric acid. Mind you the study was conducted with rats but most studies are. The evidence does suggest that theobromine lowers uric acid levels in the blood and therefore is good for gout. Besides there is very little theobromine in chocolate and is considered safe for consumption.

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply June 7, 2016

    Can 2% chocolate milk affect gout? The diet I have from the doctor stated that milk will help lower uric acid.

    • Hi Deborah!

      Not really! I mean it is preferable to drink regular milk, check the sugar content in your chocolate milk brand, that could add to your glycemic index and can lead to a gout attack but if you drink it in moderation, you should be fine. Yes dairy in general does seem to lower uric acid levels. See my post on the subject here–> Gout and Dairy

  • Dan

    Reply Reply March 24, 2016

    can almond milk with the dutch process chocolate give you gout?. This is in the product of Silk almond chocolate drink.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply March 25, 2016

      Hi Dan!

      Yes it can if you overdo it of course, if there is sugar it can cause flare ups.

  • Daniel

    Reply Reply January 15, 2016

    Thank you for all the info! I awoke to a nasty bout of gout and after reading your blog, I found a container of 100% baking cocoa in the pantry. I added it to some hot water and am consuming it as I write. My question; is this type of cocoa useful and is the application ok?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 15, 2016

      Hi Daniel!

      As long as it’s 100% heck even 90% or more pure cocoa, then it is fine, check the nutrition label. Raw Cocoa Powder would be ideal.

  • huy

    Reply Reply November 28, 2015

    thank you for your continued research on gout. I found it very useful

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