Chocolate – everyone’s favourite mood-lifting treat – has been implicated in a slew of health problems, ranging from acne to obesity, but recent studies have shown that in small amounts, the eating this type of chocolate can actually be beneficial to your health.
The key, researchers say, is sticking to high-quality dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants and can even be good for your blood pressure.
Studies have even shown that cocoa may even prevent colon cancer! Research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas suggests that chocolate may also be a natural anti-inflammatory, with benefits for overall heart health.
“Microbes such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria feast on chocolate,” explained study researcher Maria Moore, “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti- inflammatory.” Study leader John Finley added that “when these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke.”
The key to other health benefits of chocolate lies in an ingredient found in cocoa beans, known as flavonoids – flavonoids have a whole host of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to boosting brain power.
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But flavonoids break down when heated or processed, meaning that most commercial chocolate – especially milk chocolate – is relatively devoid of this nutritional content.
So when you’re indulging in this sweet treat, stick to organic dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa – and avoid eating processed, mainstream candies from companies like Russel Stover and Hershey’s. Even a small square of organic dark chocolate is enough to not only improve your mood by stimulating the pleasure centre of your brain, but promote overall health as well. No more feeling guilty about eating chocolate! ….but don’t eat too much.
- http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2014/march/the-precise-reason-for- the-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate-mystery-solved.html