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A little bite of dark chocolate each day … can keep you healthy in so many ways

 

According to Mars, Inc., chocolate is made from cocoa seeds. These seeds, more commonly referred to as cocoa beans, come from cocoa pods, which are the fruit of the cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao. Mars claims that since chocolate is a plant-based food, it contains many of the same nutrients as other plant-based foods, including flavanols. “There have been numerous studies conducted with cocoa flavanol containing foods that have shown positive effects on blood pressure, enhanced flexibility of blood vessels, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, as well as platelet function,” the company says on its website. “While these studies are preliminary in nature, they provide promising support for the concept that the consumption of flavanol-rich foods, including cocoa flavanols, may support cardiovascular health.” Indeed, to date several studies flaunting the health benefits of chocolate have already appeared in high profile peer reviewed journals such as Thrombosis Research, JAMA and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

There are several bioactive compounds in chocolate that promote alertness, lessen pain and promote well-being.   For example, the stimulants theobromine, caffeine, tyramine and phenylethylamine (PEA) provide a brain-fogged person with a much-needed lift. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, lessens anxiety by producing the neurotransmitter serotonin; endorphins, the body's natural opiates, reduce sensitivity to pain.

 
Dark Chocolate

In addition, studies show that cocoa powder, dark chocolate and milk chocolate have higher Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) values than many common foods, such as prunes and blueberries. ORAC values measure how powerful an antioxidant a substance is. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen and peroxides, and that include many held to protect the living body from the deleterious effects of free radicals.

Chocolate is loaded with antioxidant polyphenols. These are those same compounds found in red wine, fruits and vegetables that are touted for their heart-healthy and other disease-preventing qualities. Research presented at the American Chemical Society reported that chocolate contained, pound for pound, the highest levels of polyphenols of any food. In fact, two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than four cups of green tea, 1 cup of blueberries and one and half glasses of red wine. or the same amount as five servings of fruits and vegetables.

 

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Disclaimer: Information on this web site was gathered from many sources in public domain such as published books, articles, studies and web sites. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss your health conditions and treatments with your personal physician.

 

 

 

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