Friday, November 11, 2011

Health in Chocolate

I never miss a chance to be a cheerleader for chocolate and research continues to support its role in all circulatory diseases.  Because it has been used pretty exclusively in sugar based products in our own culture there is little taste developed for what we would think of as bizarre formulations.  I hope that will begin to change.  Recall it is used in meat dishes in some Mexican dishes.

I have played with ginger cocoa combos with a little hot spice for a tea.  I would like to see something inspiring.  I suspect that we are actually just beginning to figure cocoa out.

Otherwise, a teaspoon a day tossed into your coffee latte or whatever will get you the appropriate dosage.

More Reasons to Indulge in Chocolate

By RealAge

Not that you need another reason to indulge in chocolate (you probably already know it's good for your blood pressure), but isn't it delightful, delicious, and delectable that there is one? Eating chocolate shaves your risk of "cardiometabolic disorders," a cluster of conditions that nobody wants, including heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Here's the big surprise: We're talking all kinds of chocolate, not just the dark types. Even milk chocolate and cups of hot cocoa have benefits.

We're also not talking slight improvements. Research reveals that consuming a healthy amount of chocolate reduces your risk of heart disease by 37% and stroke by 29% versus eating little or none. (Not coincidentally, it also lowers your bad LDL cholesterol.) In addition, it shrinks your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 31%. These impressive numbers emerged from an analysis of seven studies involving more than 100,000 people.

What's in chocolate that makes it so good for you? Loads of potent plant antioxidants called polyphenols, including flavonoids. Yep, the same good-for-you substances found in blueberries, wine, green tea, and olive oil, as well as many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Among polyphenols' many powers is the ability to sooth inflammation in your body. Internal hot zones are linked to all kinds of trouble, from memory damage to joint pain and accelerated aging. 

 A Little "Dose" Will Do Ya

Like wine, the trick with chocolate is to indulge daily without overindulging. A little goes a long way, because most chocolate contains about 150 calories per ounce, including lots of sugar and fat. Overdo and you could actually increase the health risks you're trying to prevent. In most of these studies, people had an ounce or two a day. Even smarter: Get your fix in a cozy cup of hot chocolate made with real polyphenol-rich cocoa powder, no-fat milk, and sugar-free sweetener. Bingo! All the benefits, none of the bad stuff.

Eat chocolate, die happy, and live longer. Sweet.

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