Chocolate Its a good thing
Can eating chocolate really be good for your health? There’s evidence pointing to several beneficial results from eating everyone’s favorite sweet, as long as it’s in moderation.
It is believed that chocolate may help protect your cardiovascular system because the cocoa bean from which it is made is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavanols, a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage.
Many medical professionals believe that antioxidants also help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals, which are formed by such normal bodily processes as inhaling environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke. Without enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, your body can become damaged by free radicals.
Other studies have linked the consumption of chocolate with anti-inflammatory properties, a lower risk of developing heart failure, reduced blood pressure, an inverse relationship in women and stroke, and improved function, flexibility and verbal fluency in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Flavanols aren’t only found in chocolate, but also in cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine. But before you grab a 1/2 lb. Hershey bar or pan for of brownies, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols. Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols, but when it is made into your favorite chocolate products and processed, it goes through several steps that reduce this taste. And the more it’s processed, the more flavanols are lost.
Although most commercial chocolates are highly processed, the positive information about flavanols has manufacturers looking for ways to keep them in their processed chocolates.
For now, your best choices are likely dark chocolate over milk chocolate (especially milk chocolate that is loaded with other fats and sugars) and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).
And remember – as much as it’s heartening to learn good news about a favorite treat – a little goes a very long way when it comes to eating chocolate!