I don't think I have to elaborate a whole lot on the health aspects of dark chocolate. Suffice it to say that research has been quite extensive and is still going on
Wondering whether you can indulge in that chocolate treat staring at you from the store counter without compromising your healthy diet? Well, if you're a lover of chocolate, you may be in luck. There is increasing evidence that chocolate can be part of a healthy diet - and that it may even offer some specific health benefits. As with the different fruits we have already introduced here, the most important thing to realize is that the health benefits provided by chocolate are a result of the flavonoid content found in the cocoa bean. Flavonoids are natural compounds with antioxidant properties - the same compounds that give berries, red wine and green tea their colour (anthocyanins) health benefits.
Flavonoids are antioxidants and antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage, which leads to inflammation, which leads to a host of problems. Too much inflammation means the immune system is being overtaxed and is required to do more than it can. This in turn leads to mitochondrial disfunction and misfolding of proteins, which cause the rise of tumors which van develop into cancerous growths.
Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.
However there is some not so good news for the chocolate lovers : you only need a little bit to get the desired effect.
Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate is good for your heart.
A small bar of it everyday can help keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well.
Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
Lower Cholesterol: Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.
Furthermore and just as important.... almost
- it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
- it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
Fat?: fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:
Oleic Acid: a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
Stearic Acid: a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
Palmitic Acid: also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
More Good News: The last statement is only a half truth and a half truth is usually worse than a lie.
First: Palmitic Acid (or palmitoleic acid) does raise cholesterol, but a causal relationship between cholesterol and heart disease has yet to be proven, and believe me, they have tried.
Second : if it raises cholesterol it more than likely raises large fluffy LDL which is the good LDL which is heavily involved in cell repairs
More Good News