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Chocolate Exposed

“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.” This anonymous quotation expresses the commonly-felt sentiment towards this “food of the gods.” Our like for chocolate is played out in the many roles that we equate it with: we give it as gifts on Valentine’s Day, we binge on it when we’re depressed, we crave it as a comfort food, and in general most of us just need a daily fix. It would be fantastic news for most of us if there was truth to the report that chocolate isn’t as terrible as it is frequently thought….because then we might not feel so guilty after we indulge. Does chocolate indeed possess beneficial qualities?

We’ve all heard the conflicting reports that chocolate is either a healthful treat or a plague to be avoided, but the truth falls somewhere in the middle. While it is right that it contains many excellent-for-you benefits, it is also extremely calorie-dense and usually has too much added sugar and other detrimental ingredients. But on a excellent note, cocoa is a rich source of flavenoids, or naturally-occuring antioxidants that are also found in fruits in vegetables as well as tea and red wine. These properties help to guard against cancer and even heart disease–more specifically, they prevent stout-like substances from oxidizing and clogging the arteries. In addition the nitric acid that is present in cocoa is a compound necessary for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

A study done on an island near Panama may give us an thought of the effect that cocoa has on blood pressure. The residents of Kuna are known to drink about five cups of cocoa a day, as well as including it in many of their recipes. Accordingly, they very seldom develop high blood pressure until they go off the island; the study found that it was not related to salt intake or obesity.

Chocolate is not just excellent for your heart, but studies are showing that it does in fact help improve your mood. More than 400 chemicals have been identified in chocolate, many of them pertaining to your mental state. The consumption of chocolate has also been found to stimulate the secretion of endorphins, or the “feel-excellent” hormones that have been acquainted with the mood-lift you feel after an intense workout. This could clarify the cravings many women endure around their menstrual cycle.

It is vital to realize that the health benefits mentioned are specific to certain types of chocolate. Many factors, including different processing methods and ingredients, reduce the flavenoid content and increase the stout and sugar levels. In particular, Dutch processing has been found to reduce the healthful qualities the most, and obviously white chocolate is not included in the category because it is not a real chocolate. Dark chocolate has been found to be the best choice due to its higher flavenoid and lower sugar content. Care must be taken when consuming chocolate; moderation is always the key.

There is hope for all of the chocolate lovers out there. Despite the fact that it is high in sugar, a small (dark) chocolate as a treat now and then won’t harm you too much, and it may help to keep your arteries free and clear. Of course the best sources for flavenoids are still fruits and vegetables, it is reassuring to know that we’re at least getting something back when we satisfy our cravings.

Brianna Stanley has turned her passion for health and wellness into her business. To find out more about the Freedom Project’s simple 3-step process, click here: miniofficeoutlets.com miniofficeoutlets.com

Tags: cookbook, tasty, Green Tea, food, Health Benefits, today show, dairy free recipes, recipes snacks, Flavors, restaurants food

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