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.
A new Harvard study found that eating a small square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure for people with hypertension. It found that dark chocolate, the kind that contains at least 50 to 70 percent cocoa, lowered blood pressure in all participants, but most notably in those with hypertension. Dark chocolate also appears to affect cholesterol. The Harvard researchers found some evidence for a small decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and a significant increase in HDL (good) cholesterol.
But it doesn’t stop there….More benefits of eating dark chocolate include:
- · it tastes good
- · it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
- · it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- · it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
Yes, but isn’t chocolate fattening? Not Dark Chocolate…..
Some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:
- · Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
- · Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
- · Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you. The fattest and highest carbohydrate chocolates are milk chocolate, because cream and sugar are primary ingredients. And did you know that white chocolate, isn’t chocolate at all? There is no cocoa in white chocolate and this is the most fattening of all.
So enjoy raiding your kid’s treat bags, hope you find some good chocolate.
Hope you have a less stressed day. Mercedes.