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Apr/May 2012 15
Chocolate really
does make you
feel good, too. It is
known to stimulate
the secretion
of endorphins,
producing a
pleasurable
sensation similar to
the “runner’s high”
a jogger feels after
running several
miles. Chocolate
also contains a
neurotransmitter,
serotonin that
acts as an anti-
depressant. Studies
in England show
that even the aroma
of chocolate gives
a bout of euphoria
and will help lift the
spirits.
believed to help reduce the risk of heart
disease by helping prevent atherosclerosis
.
Te favanols in chocolate appear to help
the body use nitric oxide, which is crucial
for healthy blood fow and blood pressure,
which means that chocolate might help
reduce hypertension as well
.
Red wine is know for
its high phenol content,
but an average bar of
dark chocolate contains
more phenols than 8
ounces of red wine
.
Scientists at Cornell
University and Seoul
National University
examined the cancer
-
fghting antioxidant
content of hot cocoa,
red wine, and tea,
and found that cocoa
had nearly double the
antioxidants of red wine
and four to fve times
more than tea
.
Holland’s National Institute of Public
Health and Environment found that dark
chocolate contains 53.5 mg of catechins
per 100 grams
. (
Catechins are the powerful
antioxidants that fght against cancer and
help prevent heart disease
).
By contrast, a
cup of black tea contains only about 14 mg
of catechins and green tea has about 30 mg
of catechins
.
A study at University of California Davis
found that participants who ate chocolate
showed a reduction in platelet activity
.
Tis
means that chocolate has an anti
-
clotting,
blood
-
thinning efect that can be compared
to aspirin
.
A Harvard University study of 8,000, with
an average age of 65, revealed that those
who consumed chocolate lived almost
a year longer than those who did not
.
Tose who ate one to three candy bars
per month had a 36 percent lower risk of
death
(
compared to the people who ate no
candy
)
, while those who ate three or more
So go ahead and indulge in a little chocolate, in
moderation of course
.
I would recommend that you
try to fnd organic chocolate, and stick with darker
chocolate because it has more chocolate favonoids and
less sugar
. (
Sugar weakens the immune system; so don’t
consume sugar if you are ill
.)
And a little bit of milk
chocolate is alright when you need an occasional milk
chocolate brainpower boost, such as before a test
.
candy bars per week had a 16 percent lower
risk
.
A study of older men in Te Netherlands,
known for its chocolate, showed that those
who ate the most chocolate, an equivalent
of one
-
third of a chocolate bar every day,
had lower blood pressure and a 50 percent
lower risk of death
.
Te researchers also
noted the men eating the most cocoa
products were not heavier or bigger eaters
than the men who ate less cocoa
.
And it’s not just dark chocolate that is the
only healthy type of chocolate
.
Most studies
talk about the benefts of dark chocolate,
but some of the most recent news about
chocolate includes good news for milk
chocolate lovers, who have been lef out in
the past
.
Te Wheeling Jesuit University in West
Virginia did a study that shows that milk
chocolate seems to boost brainpower
.
Te
groups in the test consumed, on diferent
occasions, milk chocolate, dark chocolate,
carob and nothing
.
Ten they were tested
for cognitive performance including
memory, attention span, reaction time, and
problem solving
.
According to Dr
.
Bryan Raudenbush,
“Composite scores for verbal and visual
memory were signifcantly higher for milk
chocolate than the other conditions
.
” Te
study also found that consumption of milk
and dark chocolate was associated with
improved impulse control and reaction
time
.
It seems that by consuming chocolate
you get stimulating efects from substances
found in chocolate, such as theobromine
and phenylethylamine, which then lead to
increased mental performance
.
And now people are looking at chocolate
for skin care
.
According to Marlies
Spinale, director of Tru Spa, “Like many
other antioxidants, cocoa polyphenols
are thought to ofer the skin protection
from free
-
radical damage caused by sun,
pollution, stress, alcohol consumption and
other factors
.
I believe that we will hear
more about the benefts of chocolate in skin
care
.
Some people have been avoiding chocolate
because one of the main ingredients of
chocolate is cocoa butter
.
It was thought
that it was an unhealthy fat, but actually
cocoa butter is not unhealthy
.
It is made
up of the benefcial fatty acids
--
oleic acid
(
a heart
-
healthy monounsaturated fat also
found in olive oil
)
, stearic and palmitic
acids
.
Stearic and palmitic acids are healthy
forms of saturated fat
.
Plus chocolate
contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as
well as potassium, sodium, and iron
.