Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The surprising and welcome health benefits of dark chocolate.

Red wine has a much deserved reputation of containing antioxidants that protect your heart against heart disease.

According to researchers at the University of Southwestern Texas Medical Center in Dallas, the same heart-protecting antioxidants properties are also found in dark chocolate.
Which is great news if you are a chocolate lover.

Here are the specifics.  As nutrition expert John Robbins points out in his book No Happy Cows, the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol is considered to be a major factor in the promotion of coronary disease.  When it oxidizes it tends to stick to your artery walls, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.  However, the polypenols in chocolate inhibit the oxidation which also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque builds up in your arteries.
And there's more good news...
Robbins writes that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate each day can reduce the blood pressure of people who suffer from mild hypertension.

Plus, research done at the Department of Nutrition at the University of California found that dark chocolate thins the blood.  It essentially performs the same function that taking a baby aspirin each day does for people with the risk factors for heart disease.
How much do you need to eat to enjoy these benefits?  According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition only a half an ounce a day.

Two other selling features of dark chocolate?

It contains substances (such as phenethylamine) proven to put you in a better mood.  Plus it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.

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