Last month, I advised you to go ahead and eat some dark chocolate over the holidays. You see, dark chocolate contains epicatechin, a powerful flavanol that combats chronic inflammation. And a recent study found that patients who ate dark chocolate with 100 mg of epicatechin improved their muscle function on a cellular level. It also improved their HDL (good) cholesterol levels. And their brain peptides levels as well.
After I published that Daily Dispatch, I received an excellent response from a concerned reader. And I thought I’d share it with you today. Here’s what he wrote:
Dark chocolate does appear to have benefits for muscles, including the heart. But it does have a drawback, i.e. it has a higher concentration of oxalate. A few years ago, I incorporated dark chocolate into my diet on a daily basis. Within a year on this routine, I developed a large kidney stone, which my body attempted to pass with painful consequences. It had to be treated with Lithotrypsy to obtain relief. The stone was found to consist of calcium oxalate. I have eliminated dark chocolate from my diet since then with no further kidney stones. For some of us dark chocolate has a significant side effect that I don’t want to experience again!
This observation is important. Yes, chocolate has some oxalic acid. But regular teas–such as green and black teas (Camellia sinensis)–contain much higher levels of oxalic acids. In fact, long-term green/black tea drinking is strongly associated with the development of kidney stones.
In addition, tea, coffee, and cocoa contain three active biochemicals: caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. These potent, biologically active plant chemicals stimulate the central nervous system.
And they’re powerful diuretics too. This helps you go to the bathroom. But it also causes the body to lose water. And it can lead to a higher concentration of constituents such as calcium, oxalate (already present from the tea), or other minerals and salts. This effect can also contribute to the development of kidney stones.
However, it generally takes a long time to develop kidney stones. It would be very surprising to find that regular dietary consumption of cacao/chocolate for just one year could cause the development of a clinically significant kidney stone, in and of itself. It’s a complicated business. And mainstream medicine appears too quick to blame any natural product for problems that occur. And too quick to overlook the effects of diet, drugs and other lifestyle factors.
In short, I can say with considerable confidence that eating chocolate for just one year most likely did not cause your kidney stone. And if it did, your case should appear in the annals of medical history. It’s more likely that a combination of factors contributed to your kidney stone.
But here’s some advice if you’re prone to kidney stones…
Don’t worry so much about the dark chocolate or cacao. But cut back on coffee and regular tea. And drink tea made with red bush instead. Red bush is a plant that comes from South Africa. It does not contain oxalic acid. And has no associated risk of kidney stones.
It’s an excellent substitute for regular tea or coffee. Because, unlike a diuretic, it provides optimal hydration on a cellular level. Plus, you can drink it hot or cold.
Of course, red bush tea also has fewer tannins and acids than regular tea or coffee. But it has the same profile of beneficial antioxidants as green tea. We offer a brand of red bush called “Red Joe” here on my website . You simply add Red Joe water-soluble powder to plain tap water, bottled water, or other beverage, hot or cold.
In the February issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I will report on still further benefits of red bush, which is proving to be the single most important natural breakthrough I have uncovered in the past 30 years.