Wonder about dark chocolate health benefits? Is it healthy to eat chocolates, drink hot chocolate or have chocolate strawberries for desert?
Certainly, chocolates can keep the doctor away, as one of the best foods that lower blood pressure. How?
What are the "secret" health benefits of dark chocolate? We've gathered lots of research to reassure you, so grab some chocolates and get the scoop here...
The answer is plant flavanols, or anti oxidant-rich pigments. What do they do?
These relax your blood vessels to lower your high blood pressure! So yes, eat good chocolates for hypertension, but there's more...
Eating a chocolate bar's been shown not only to lower blood pressure AND lower BAD LDL cholesterol, but also to improve how the body uses insulin!
Great news for early symptoms diabetes, but there's more...
Researchers are also finding that chocolate eaters tend to WEIGH LESS and to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), in spite of eating the same amount of calories as those who don't eat chocolates or chocolate bars.
Here's what one scientist says about dark chocolate health benefits:
"Overall, there is compelling evidence that a high dietary flavanol intake reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and the associated risk of premature death." (Ian MacDonald, director of the Institute of Clinical Research at the University of Nottingham)
Flavanols are found in other foods, such as RED WINE, grapes, apples and green tea, but cocoa beans are a particularly rich source.
Why add chocolates to your high blood pressure diet?
High blood pressure is one of the top risks for heart disease, heart attacks, especially for getting a stroke -- worldwide.
The "ORAC value rating" of the antioxidants in darker chocolate is 13,000 per 100 grams, whereas blueberries are rated at 2,400 and spinach at 1,200 per 100 grams!
Well, you may not want the sugar and additives in rich Belgian chocolate. But, you don't have to worry about getting fat from eating the best chocolate. How is that?
While certainly not an obesity cure, it's good news for chocolate lovers and those wanting to lower their heart meds.
NOT ONLY do the flavonoids in this chocolate help your heart by lowering your LDL or BAD cholesterol...
NOT ONLY does eating good chocolates stop blood clots from forming by helping your blood vessels relax, but there is more good news...
Researchers at the University of California in San Diego found that chocolate health benefits also include reducing body fat!
Eating chocolates actually offsets the extra calories that people will warn you about when they don't understand chocolate health benefits.
Dr B. Golomb says that chocolate is "her favorite vegetable!" She and her research group found that people who ate chocolate more often had a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) even though they ate MORE CALORIES!
Surprise! Those who ate chocolate more often but did NOT exercise more, nor had a healthier diet, did WEIGH LESS!
People who ate chocolate at least 5 times a week had a better BMI than people who did not.
Why? Epicatechin, say researchers, boosts metabolism, reduces weight, AND increases muscle mass in animal studies, WITHOUT any change in CALORIES or in EXERCISE.
As usual, moderation is needed, so don't over-indulge in a whole box of chocolates thinking that you will lose weight!
The experts recommend about an ounce of chocolate a day, which is about a third of a darker healthy chocolate bar.
Which chocolate is good for you? The health benefits increase, the darker the chocolate.
The darker chocolate -- not white chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany, in the The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Taubert's team tested six men and seven women aged 55-64, all of whom had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure.
Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got darker chocolate and half got white chocolate.
Those eating white chocolate did NOT lower their blood pressure!
HOW ABOUT MILK CHOCOLATE?
Chocolate is rich in cell-protecting antioxidants.
The darker chocolate has twice as much; white chocolate, none.
A diet that is heart-healthy does not only lower cholesterol, as do statins such as Lipitor, but they have other “side benefits” including improving blood pressure and being anti-clotting.
If you have high blood pressure, a daily bar-sized serving of flavanol-rich chocolate might:
Although we are often told that chocolate is fattening, there is very little risk when you buy high quality 70% to 85% cocoa dark, bittersweet chocolate.
Regular but moderate consumption is best - ONE OUNCE PER DAY.
The best chocolate is not laced with sugar and other ingredients, like the sweeter less "bitter" chocolate candies in a box even of Belgian chocolates.
Confectioners have spent years trying to perfect ways to remove the pungent flavor, because flavanols make chocolate and cocoa taste bitter.
Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So remember, darker is better.
Organic cocoa minimizes your exposure to residue. And, by eating organic Fair Trade chocolate you help yourself and others!
Occasionally trying a chocolate covered strawberry recipe will give variety and add dark chocolate benefits daily to keep healthy.
Be assured that there is a growing body of research that shows this favorite treat to be packed with high-quality "polyphenol" antioxidants.
Rather than the risking the negative side effects of long-term use of heart meds, you can be pro-active, now that you know the dark chocolate health benefits as a healing super food.
Here's a summary of dark chocolate benefits for your heart:
There are antioxidants in chocolate that help block chemical changes in bad LDL cholesterol that would otherwise lead to clogged arteries.
"The results for people eating the darker chocolate and cocoa powder showed that their increased antioxidant levels protected the LDL Cholesterol (BAD CHOLESTEROL) from being oxidized."
Only when oxidized does LDL cholesterol play a part in the process of atherosclerosis.
This research on chocolate was done in Japan, where they fed cocoa extract to rabbits and discovered that it slowed down CHOLESTEROL oxidation, which in turn stopped the build up of plaques in the artieries!
Chocolate antioxidants act like aspirin to reduce blood platelet stickiness and thus the clotting that triggers heart attacks and strokes.
In one study, 30 subjects drank water, a caffeine drink or a
cocoa drink containing the antioxidants of one and a half normal hot
chocolate cocoa drink.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Those who ate the dark, good chocolate in Dr Taubert’s study had a significant drop in blood pressure! (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure)
Chocolate has also been reported as a blood vessel relaxant in research published in the Journal of Nutrition, by Kappagoda and Tissa.
It turns out that chocolates, like aspirin, affects the platelets in the blood that cause blood to clot.
A study at the Johns Hopkins University 's School of Medicine discovered that yes, chocolate does help a little bit.
Here's the history of chocolate bars changing from milk chocolate bars to dark chocolate benfits:
It started in London England in 1991 when someone sent Craig Sams the founder of Whole Earth a sample of dark 70% chocolate that was made from organic cocoa beans.
His wife, who was a confirmed chocoholic, Jo, found the half-eaten bar on Craig's desk and tried it.
Jo was convinced that chocolate lovers would appreciate it in the same way she had, so that she and her husband began to make the world's first organic chocolate.
They made the first dark bittersweet chocolate bar with 70% cocoa solids. Their brand, Green and Blacks Organic Hot Chocolate is made with Fair trade fine flavored cocoa beans.
Ideal for enjoying as a soothing hot chocolate milk drink at night.
Chocolate is not only good for you, but it is the livelihood of many small farmers around the world. So do buy chocolates that have a connection to the growers.
Find out more about buying dignity by supporting small family farmers and fostering sustainable, healthy and profitable farming practices so that it is a win- win for everyone:
We hope you have enjoyed our research revealing "nature's secret" dark chocolate benefits.
We think that it's very good news that chocolates -- good dark chocolate benefits as much as your heart meds with their dangerous "side effects"!
The darker the chocolates, the more the flavenols with the health benefits, and with Fair Trade you also help the planet!
Here’s to enjoying a longer life with fewer medications feeling great with dark chocolate benefits!