What Makes Chocolate Healthy?

Whether you're an avid baker, or
just love a sweet treat, it's hard
to resist the appeal of chocolate.
But increasing evidence shows
that resistance may not be
necessary. Studies demonstrate
myriad benefits of chocolate,
from creating a feel-good buzz to
boosting cardiovascular health.
Read on to learn more, then try
some healthy recipes.
The Latest Research
A recent study in the journal
Heart shows that habitual
chocolate consumption is linked
to a lower risk of cardiovascular
disease and stroke. Keeping in
mind that the study only
demonstrated correlation (not
causation), it's nonetheless
exciting to see that among
participants who consumed a
relatively high volume of
chocolate every day, 12%
developed or died of
cardiovascular disease during
the 12-year study. Compare that
to participants who didn't eat
chocolate at all, among whom
17.4% developed or died of the
disease. How much were the
chocolate-eaters consuming?
About 16 to 100 grams per day,
or roughly one half to two typical
chocolate bars.
What Makes Chocolate Healthy?
The potential health benefits of
chocolate may come from
flavonoids, a type of polyphenol,
which cacao, the plant chocolate
is derived from, has in spades.
Flavonoids (and polyphenols) are
often touted as an antioxidant,
anti-carcinogen, and anti-
inflammatory.
However, not all chocolate is
created equal. A general rule of
thumb asserts that the higher
the cacao percentage of a
chocolate bar, the more health
benefits it contains. A lower
percentage bar will contain less
good-for-you cacao and more
sugar and dairy. That's why many
recommend dark chocolate over
milk. Research shows that dark
chocolate may improve mobility
among the elderly, raise good
cholesterol, lower bad
cholesterol, and benefit cognitive
function.
Source: yahoohealth

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