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Organic Dark Chcocolate Is Rich In Antioxidants And Helps To Lower Blood Pressure
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The Bonus Years Diet: 7 Miracle Foods Including Chocolate, Red Wine, and Nuts That Can Add 6.4 Yearson Average to Your Life
So, Is Chocolate Healthy? Which Chocolate Is Healthy?
Its the best medical news in ages. Studies in two prestigious scientific journals say dark chocolate but not white chocolate or milk chocolate is good for you.
Dark chocolate not white chocolate lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
But thats no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure if youve reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.
Dark chocolate but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italys National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.
Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.
Translation: Say Dark, please, when ordering at the chocolate counter. Dont even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word moderate as you nibble.
Tauberts team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.
Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.
Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.
In the second study, Serafinis team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.
An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.
Chocolate for Blood Pressure: Darker Is Better
What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure.
Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So if youre going to try this at home, remember: Darker is better.
Just remember to balance the calories. A 100-gram serving of Hersheys Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple youd only take in 52 calories. But then, youd miss out on the delicious blood pressure benefit.
A hint: Dont replace healthy foods with chocolate. Most peoples diets have plenty of sweets. Switch those for some chocolate if youre going to try the truffle treatment.
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So is chocolate healthy? Only high quality organic dark chocolate may indeed have solid physiological benefits. The polyphenols, procyanidins and catrechins appear to have antioxidant properties that may reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. UC Davis scientists report, “Regular intake of cocoa components may contribute to a lower thrombotic (blood clot) risk.”
Organic Dark Chocolate - Lavender, 59% cocoa, 12 Units / 2 oz
In addition chocolate may reduce oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol. In moderation it has been shown in a study to increase longevity and we all know the active mood-altering effects of this favorite treat. It acts as a mild aphrodisiac as well as helps fight depression. Scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego discovered that biologically active ingredients of chocolate also target a substance in the brain known to produce “internal bliss,” one of the most common reasons for eating chocolate.
Nearly One Pound of All Dark Belgian Chocolate Truffles.
And good news for woman, the high magnesium content in cocoa has been shown to help with premenstrual symptoms justifying the natural craving for chocolate at that time.
One Pound Of Pure Dark Belgian Chocolate
But not all chocolate is created equal. In today’s chocolate market only 2 tenths of 1% of the chocolates out there are organic. Most mass processed chocolates combine refined sugars, artificial flavors and cheap high cholesterol polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated oils. Their final product is 10 - 20% authentic and mostly a “chocolate filled” product which is much higher in fat, calories and unnatural, unhealthy additives.
In comparison, pure organic premium chocolate is typically 50 -70 % cocoa solids and contains natural sugar, and no vegetable oil. Therefore it has fewer calories and more health benefits.
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Chocolate facts will explain the nutrition secrets and facts that show why the right type of chocolate is a nutrient-dense, high-antioxidant super food.
At the end of a long day, sometimes you’ve just gotta have that chocolate. Why not reach for rich, decadent “healthy” chocolate that is nourishing and beneficial for you?
You’ll have to forget about your favorite milk chocolate and candy bars, though. Those aren’t the healthy kind. And we’re not talking about chocolate cake or cookies or pudding or ice cream either.
Healthy chocolate is pure unprocessed cocoa that is at least 70% dark and does not have any unhealthy sugars, milk fats, oils, dutch processing, or other artificial ingredients added to it.
We’ll talk more about how to identify and find “healthy” chocolate below.
Here’s chocolate facts and myths that might surprise you:
Myth #1: Chocolate is bad for you.
FACT: Pure unprocessed chocolate comes from a natural plant called the cocoa bean. It is a powerhouse of phytonutrition, even rivaling more commonplace fruits and vegetables. It’s nutrient profile is quite impressive: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Vitamin C, copper, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, and, most impressive, high polyphenols and flavonoids – the powerful antioxidants that provide significant health benefits. A cup of cocoa contains nearly twice the antioxidants of a glass of red wine and up to three times those found in a cup of green tea.
Myth #2: Chocolate will make you fat.
FACT: With the right type of chocolate - unprocessed, dark cocoa - you can definitely lose weight, keep off the weight, and improve other areas of your health. Dark chocolate is loaded with key neurotransmitters like tryptophan, serotonin, and dopamine. These nutrient chemicals can suppress one’s appetite and block the pathway that leads to food cravings. High-quality dark chocolate does not contain high amounts of fat. Cocoa butter is generally healthy for humans, and scientists mostly agree that its main fat components all contribute to a healthy lipid profile. Most of the fat in chocolate is added by candy makers during the process of making chocolate candy.
Myth #3: Chocolate has a lot of caffeine in it.
FACT: Pure chocolate contains very little caffeine. It does contain theobromine, a close cousin of caffeine, which provides many good benefits and none of the negative effects that caffeine does.
FACT: In actuality, pure, unprocessed cocoa is very bitter. Just try tasting some unsweetened cocoa you buy from the store. Whoa!The ancient Aztec peoples, who considered cocoa a sacred brew, actually called it xocolatl, which means “bitter brew”.
It’s all the sugar and milk fats that are added to chocolate during the candy making process that turn it into a dessert. We can still find a delicious healthy way of eating it, though.
Myth # 5: You can’t have chocolate if you have diabetes.
FACT: The right type of chocolate actually improves insulin sensitivity and other diabetic symptoms. The flavanols in chocolate can improve the utilization of insulin and can thus reduce blood sugar levels.
FACT: It is the unhealthy sugars and fats that are added to chocolate during processing that increase risk of cavities. Unprocessed, dark cocoa is loaded with nutrients and beneficial ingredients that make teeth stronger and healthier.
Myth #7: Chocolate is bad for your skin and gives you acne.
FACT: Pure dark cocoa actually improves the appearance of your skin. The flavonoids in chocolate increase blood flow to the skin, modulate enzyme activity, and relieve inflammation.
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Health Benefits Of The Unprocessed Chocolate
When you suffer from diabetes, one of the hardest things to do is stick to that restrictive diet. You see other people eating whatever they want… whenever they want it. You would like a little luxury, too. It’s so hard to give up those wonderful foods.
Here’s where ‘healthy and unprocessed’ chocolate comes in. You can eat it without feeling guilty and without feeling like you’re cheating on your restrictive diet. In fact, healthy dark chocolate is scientifically formulated to be good for everyone. It contains and maintains the antioxidant-packed nutrition of unprocessed cocoa, which we’ve all been hearing so much about lately. The sugar in this type of chocolate isn’t highly processed white sugar. It’s sweetened with natural versus artificial ingredients, so you don’t have to worry as much about blood sugar crashes as you do with processed sugars.
This healthy chocolate is a natural appetite suppressant, so no more starving between meals. You can get the same antioxidant health benefits from other dietary supplements, but none of those taste nearly as good. If you’re used to taking a vitamin pill with a glass of water, this is not the same! Weird shakes or powdered concoctions are not nearly as exciting.
Healthy unprocessed chocolate is not the same as other kinds of chocolate. You don’t get the same health benefits from those other highly processed chocolates packed with high-glycemic sugars. They might contain chocolate, but they don’t contain pure, dark chocolate. This product is made of minimally processed cacao with other minimally processed, natural ingredients. Make sure you read all labels and look for ‘unprocessed’ chocolate.
Some other benefits of unprocessed chocolate for diabetics include improved mood, decreased inflammation due to arthritis or fibromyalgia, improved breathing, and improved memory. Unprocessed chocolate helps your body utilize sugars, decreasing the likelihood of other complications of diabetes such as vision problems, kidney problems, and amputations.
You may have heard that that the benefits of unprocessed chocolate for diabetics are minimal, and that eating it could actually damage your efforts to control diabetes. Keep in mind that there are always people who will eat too much of even a good thing. Unprocessed chocolate must be consumed in moderation, just like everything else. It’s part of a balanced diet. Don’t overdo it, and you won’t ruin your diet.
European experts say that eating a moderate amount of dark healthy unprocessed chocolate could help control diabetes. Part of the reason this happens is because dark unprocessed chocolate helps you control your cravings and blood sugar levels between meals. The antioxidant effects are a super-sized bonus that can help every major organ in your body. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
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