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The Benefits of…Chocolate?

Posted by itsupportgroup
itsupportgroup
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on Monday, 21 September 2015 in Health & Nutrition

ChocolateIs it true? Could it be? Chocolate … healthy? Yes, it is!

 

Chocolate (dark chocolate, that is!) contains many naturally occurring ingredients; scientists have found over 300 so far!  You have probably heard of caffeine, but, there are many others with health benefits, such as antioxidants. Antioxidants are a group of disease fighting chemicals that act to fight free radicals in our bodies, which can cause many ailments, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. 

 

Chocolate is heart healthy, too. Chocolate is known to benefit your heart in two ways: by lowering blood pressure and by lowering cholesterol. It can lower your blood pressure by helping arteries stay dilated or relaxed. That means blood can flow more easily, reducing pressure. Chocolate can help lower cholesterol because it contains flavonoids, which help lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol. Chocolate also contains Oleic acid, the same healthy fat found in olive oil.  This may have a cholesterol lowering benefit as well.  The proof that chocolate is heart healthy has been found in a recent study in the American Heart Association’s Journal. This study looked at about 32,000 women and found that those who ate Swedish chocolate weekly had lower incidence of heart disease.

 

So many reasons to eat chocolate! Why not? Chocolate feels good too!  It stimulates the production of endorphins, which give us a feeling of pleasure. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that causes release of serotonin in the brain; serotonin acts as an antidepressant. Chocolate also contains theobromine. This is a stimulant, which though related to caffeine, does not have as strong of an effect on your nervous system. Of course it has caffeine too; in fact, a full size bar might contain about an eighth of what you would get in a full mug of coffee. 

 

So eat your chocolate, but make it dark chocolate for the health benefits, and do so in moderation!

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