Chocolate: Good For You

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Chocolate is now being recognized as a health food not only because it is a source of important nutrients like magnesium, copper, potassium and B vitamins, but also because it is rich in flavonoids, particularly one called epicatechin, that helps the heart other things. Here are some of benefits of eating chocolate: -Lowers insulin resistance -Reduces chronic fatigue -Reduces dementia -Lowers kidney cancer risk -Reduces sun damage to skin -Reduces persistent coughs Chocolate contains stearic acid, which does not raise heart disease risk, but the flavonals may actually reduce heart disease along with exercise and eat a healthy diet. Chocolate reduces heart disease: -Keeps arteries relaxed -Reduces blood clots -Reduces inflammation -Lowers LDL cholesterol -Raises HDL cholesterol -Reduce blood pressure -Antioxidants/polyphenols raise nitric oxide, boost immune system, prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation, help blood vessels to dilate, prevent plaque build-up & protect against cancer, MI & stroke; phenylethylamine, anandamide & serotonin lift depression, provide a sense of well-being/euphoria, -Magnesium regulates heart rhythms & reduces LDL cholesterol; -Copper boosts immune system, prevents anemia Before you reach for a candy bar, keep in mind that not all chocolate has the same benefit. -Dark chocolate has 4 times the concentration of phenols as milk chocolate. Adding milk to chocolate cancels out the beneficial antioxidant - the protein in milk binds with the antioxidants making them less well absorbed by the body. -The more sugar and added fat the chocolate contains, the less beneficial it will be. Sugar increases oxidation in the body and cancels the antioxidant protection. -The standard manufacturing of chocolate eliminates as much as 50-75% of the flavonoids due to high temperatures and alkalization. Some companies are lowering the heat used during processing and avoiding alkalization to preserve up to 95% of chocolate flavonoids. Avoid dutch processed cocoa – it is higher in alkaloids and removes 75-90% of the flavonoids -Researchers suggest chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa content to obtain benefits. Best Sources of Chocolate: -Dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids, 85% cocoa solids, 99% cocoa solids -Dark chocolate bar with fruit, nuts, essential oils Poor Sources of Chocolate Flavonoids: -Milk chocolate, candy bar, white chocolate, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream -We only need 1 ounce of 70% chocolate or 2/3 ounce of 80% chocolate to obtain benefits