Second International Congress on Chocolate and Cocoa in Medicine Held in Barcelona, Spain, 25–26th September 2015
Margarida Castell 1,2,†,*, Sandra Saldaña-Ruíz 1,2, Maria José Rodríguez-Lagunas 2,3, Àngels Franch 1,2 and Francisco J. Pérez-Cano 1,2
Received: 6 November 2015; Accepted: 16 November 2015; Published: 1 December 2015
1Department of Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain; firstname.lastname@example.org (S.S.-R.); email@example.com (A.F.); firstname.lastname@example.org (F.J.P.-C.)
2 Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute, University of Barcelona,
Santa Coloma de Gramenet 08921, Spain
3 Department of Physiological Sciences II, Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona
L’Hospitalet del Llobregat 08907, Spain; email@example.com
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: +34-93-402-45-
† On behalf of the International Society of Chocolate and Cocoa in Medicine.
Cocoa powder is a product derived from the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree, which is considered a good source of fiber (26%–40%), proteins (15%–20%), carbohydrates (about 15%) and lipids (10%–24%; generally, 10%–12%). It also contains minerals, vitamins and some bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, fiber, and methylxanthines, as is the case of theobromine. In recent years, cocoa and its derivatives such as chocolate have been the focus of increasing interest, mainly because of their high content of flavonoids, which are compounds with antioxidant activity. Cocoa contains flavanols such as (–)-epicatechin and catechin as monomers, and dimers or larger polymers derived from both of these, known as procyanidins. Due to this particular composition, and mainly based on its activity as an antioxidant, as well as through other mechanisms, cocoa consumption has been reported to promote beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, metabolism, brain and immune functions, and in cancer prevention, among others.
In order to further our understanding of, and disseminate the latest findings on the healthy properties of cocoa and chocolate, the International Society of Chocolate and Cocoa in Medicine (ISCHOM) was founded in 2010 in Florence (http://ischom.com/ischom/). This Society aims to gather information and become a forum of discussion and debate on cocoa and chocolate, not only among researchers from around the world, but also to introduce the science involved and the latest findings to the public. Cultural and educational promotion of the benefits of cocoa and chocolate on human health is another of the Society’s major concerns. Finally, ISCHOM provides information on developing healthy habits regarding the inclusion of cocoa and chocolate in our diet.
In this context, after the first congress in Florence in 2014, ISCHOM held its second meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on 25 and 26 September 2015 (https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/117409/ 263536/). By means of these annual meetings, the Society pursues the constant sharing and updating of current knowledge concerning the health properties of cocoa and chocolate. The event not only brings together international researchers, but also diverse companies in order to strengthen the knowledge in this field. About 90 delegates from 12 different countries attended the Society’s second congress. It was organized into five scientific sessions with two lectures each.
The sessions that took place in Barcelona were focused on different topics in order to shed some light on a wide range of valuable effects of chocolate and cocoa on our health. Some of the issues discussed were the role of chocolate and cocoa as cardioprotective agents and its health claims, their effects on metabolism and their own metabolism; the possible role of cocoa as a preventive Department of Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain; email@example.com (S.S.-R.); firstname.lastname@example.org (A.F.); email@example.com (F.J.P.-C.) Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute, University of Barcelona, Santa Coloma de Gramenet 08921, Spain Department of Physiological Sciences II, Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Nutrients 2015, 7, 9785–9803; doi:10.3390/nu7125502 www.mdpi.com/journal/nutrients Nutrients 2015, 7, 9785–9803 therapy for diabetes and allergies; its influence on microbiota; and the beneficial effects of cocoa on the nervous system.
The opening session outlined the scientific thought on this matter spiced with wit. The congress also included a special session focused on heritage and innovation in chocolate that delighted the audience. Furthermore, two discussion sessions of oral communications also took place. The first session related to assessing the intake of cocoa and its effect, the relationship between cocoa flavanols, cognitive performance and cerebral blood flow; and the effect of other bioactive compounds of cocoa, methylxanthines such as theobromine, and their outcomes on rat lymphoid tissues were ascertained. The second oral communication discussion session concerned the assessment of the antioxidant capacity and polyphenol content of different varieties of cocoa, how cocoa intake improves hepatic lipid metabolism in rats, and how flavanols present in cocoa may confer benefits by diminishing brain damage caused by strokes in mice. In addition, the poster session was exhibited during the entire congress showing state-of-the-art research about chocolate and cocoa in medicine for all the attendants.