Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dark Chocolates Lowers Blood Pressure

I used to eat lots of chocolates but now I dare not eat too much as I am scared of putting on more weight each time I consume that mouth watering chocolates. I hardly buy or eat chocolates these days until I passed by the chocolates corner at Boulevard Hypermarket this morning.

I saw this nicely cute packed vochelle chocolate at the chocolates shelf and I just grabbed one and paid it. Took few bites of it and then I start to wonder again. Why do I love eating chocolates so much. Is chocolate really good for health and does it really make us put on weight easily?

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Dark chocolate contains a lot more cocoa than other forms of chocolate. Taking a little dark chocolate is good for you but as people always say eating lot in anything is not good for you. In fact anything that is consumed too much is bad for health.

Chocolate is infact loaded with calories. If you have in mind to eat a lot of chocolate then it is time for you to cut back somewhere else in other food with high calories.

When I was surfing the net I came across an article by By Karen Collins, R.D. wrting about:-

Is chocolate good for you?

Recent research shows that chocolate can provide natural health-promoting substances called flavonoids.

Since flavonoids seem to help prevent heart disease and cancer, the idea of eating chocolate sounds like a tempting and delicious way to better your health. The complete message is, however, that although chocolate might be preferable to other treats, it is no substitute for vegetables and fruits, which also contain flavonoids.

The flavonoids in chocolate that laboratory studies demonstrate to have powerful antioxidant effects are called flavanols and procyanidins. These two compounds come from the flavonoid “family” that includes resveratrol, found in grape juice, and EGCG, found in green tea. When people consume these substances in chocolate and cocoa, the antioxidant status of their blood increases.

This rise in antioxidant levels helps protect us from damage to the heart and blood vessels, while it also guards our DNA from damage that can lead to cancer.

In addition, the flavanols and procyanidins in chocolate improve the function and flow of blood vessels and help control inflammation.

The antioxidants in chocolate have generated a lot of interest because studies show that these compounds are more powerful antioxidants than EGCG in tea, which is a strong antioxidant.
Scientists have found that eating dark chocolate appears to improve the function of important cells lining the wall of blood vessels for at least three hours.

The study, involving 17 healthy young volunteers who agreed to eat a bar of dark chocolate and then get an ultrasound, found that eating dark chocolate seemed to make the blood vessels more flexible, which helps prevent the hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks.

One study that compared the total antioxidant activity in single servings of cocoa, green tea, black tea and red wine scored cocoa markedly higher than the rest.

Yet the flavonoid content of cocoa and chocolate is highly variable. The more cocoa in a chocolate product, the higher the antioxidant flavonoid content is.

Because dark chocolate is more concentrated in cocoa content, it is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate. For this reason, dark chocolate is used in research studies. White chocolate has no cocoa content.

Beware of calorie. Load a cup of hot or cold cocoa may sound like a health drink loaded with antioxidants, but almost all cocoa drink mixes contain cocoa treated with alkali (also called Dutch cocoa) to produce a darker, richer taste. Unfortunately, this process drastically reduces flavonoid content.

Unless you find a chocolate mix made with untreated cocoa, start with plain cocoa (not Dutch) and add your own sweetener and milk to make a flavonoid-rich cup.

Surprisingly, the fat content of chocolate is not a reason to avoid it. Technically, chocolate contains saturated fat, but the particular type of saturated fat – stearic acid – is unique because it does not raise blood cholesterol.

Studies show that neither dark or milk chocolate is a cholesterol concern in moderate amounts. But keep in mind that other ingredients added to some chocolate candies can change their nutrition impact.

But one of the reasons you shouldn’t rely on chocolate for antioxidants, in the place of vegetables and fruits, is the calorie load. A small piece of dark chocolate has only 50 calories, but most candy bars contain at least 200.

In comparison, a serving of vegetables and fruits contains a generous amount of health-promoting phytochemicals and only 25 to 80 calories. An antioxidant-rich serving of green tea has no calories at all.

Besides, vegetables and fruits have more than flavonoids. They provide vitamins, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and phytochemicals that protect our health in other ways. Some, for example, block the activation of carcinogens, while others interfere with the life cycle of cancer cells and promote their destruction.

Recent research on the flavonoids in chocolate implies that we can enjoy limited amounts of this sweet treat without guilt. But this news shouldn’t discourage us from eating a mostly plant-based diet loaded with vegetables and fruits.

Is chocolate good for you article is taken from:


Anonymous said...

Wow, unexpected that dark chocolate is so good for health although its taste is bitter!

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