The Health Benifits of Dark Chocolate | Health Benefits of Chocolate | Chocolate for Health Benefits
You know that Dark Chocolate is really healthy for you. It’s been advertised
as being good for us, but it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. If
you’re not sure whether the benefits you’ve heard about are really available
from chocolate, here are some of the basics to help you decide.
Dark chocolate’s primary benefit comes from flavonoids, a type of substance
that falls under the umbrella of antioxidants. Many of the diseases we suffer
from can be caused or aggravated by oxidant damage to our cells. Antioxidants
can help reduce these problems, including some of the effects of aging, by
preventing the completion of the oxidant reaction.
Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.
Health Benefits of Chocolate?
few studies have found that chocolate contains flavonoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant. Research conducted at the University of Scranton has demonstrated that the quality and quantity of antioxidants in chocolate is relatively high when compared to other high-antioxidant foods. Cocoa powder ranks the highest of the chocolate products, followed by dark chocolate and milk chocolate. According to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, dark chocolate contains about eight times the polyphenol antioxidants found in strawberries.
In November 2001, researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that people with a diet high in flavonoid-rich cocoa powder and dark chocolate have slightly higher concentrations of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) when compared with the control group. This study, however, only investigated the health effects of cocoa in 23 people.
In a more recent study published in Hypertension journal in August 2005, researchers from Italy found that dark chocolate may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. The research also found that levels of LDL cholesterol in these individuals dropped by 10 percent. It is important to note that this study also used a very small test group with only 20 subjects.
But On The Negative Side…
1. Chocolate may trigger headaches in migraine sufferers.
2. Milk chocolate is high in calories, saturated fat and sugar.
What About Chocolate And Your Pets?
Chocolate is considered dangerous to animals because it contains a stimulant called theobromine, which they can’t digest.
Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are even more dangerous because they contain higher concentrations of the substance. This applies whether chocolate is in candy bar form, or an ingredient in cake, cookies, puddings or ice cream.
If a pet becomes ill after eating chocolate, take it to the vet immediately.
Dark Chocolate Versus Milk Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains more cacao and less sugar than milk chocolate. It follows that any health benefits would be more pronounced in dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is allowed on the popular Montaignac diet while milk chocolate is not.
You’ll need to do a little research if you have any health concerns about eating chocolate. But with products like gluten-free and sugar-free brands finding their way onto supermarket shelves, you’re sure to find some form of chocolate you can enjoy with a clear conscience.