Chocolate Lovers Rejoice!

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Got high blood pressure?  Try a truffle.  Worried about heart disease?  Buy a bon-bon.  It is the best medical news in ages!  The latest study by researchers at San Diego University says dark chocolate – not white chocolate or milk chocolate – is good for you!

Dark chocolate has the highest concentrations of flavonoids of all chocolates.  Flavonoids are compounds produced by plants that function as important pigment molecules.  Since chocolate is made from plants, it will contain many of the same health benefits of dark vegetables.

Flavonoids 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 nearly 8 times the number of antioxidants as strawberries.  Flavonoids also lower blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide.  This will also reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.

Dark chocolate increases blood flow, which is good in a number of ways.  Increased blood flow to the brain will help in cognitive function.  It will also help reduce the risk of stroke.  Dark chocolate keeps your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against Type II Diabetes.  The flavonoids help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally.  Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it will not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Researchers have revealed that apart from protecting your heart dark chocolate tastes good, contains less fat, stimulates endorphins, contains seratonin (an anti-depressant) and theobromine (hardens tooth enamel).

Full of vitamins and minerals, dark chocolate is a sure bet for a sweet, healthy snack.  Unfortunately this does not give you the excuse to overindulge.  Chocolate is still a high calorie food.  The study suggests about 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day to get the above health benefits.

Tune into “The Wellness 411 Show” on Tuesday, May 15th at 4:40 p.m. on WCHE1520 to hear my guest Christopher Curtin, chocolatier and owner of nationally acclaimed Eclat Chocolate, discuss more about his journey and the health benefits of chocolate.  You can “Like” me on Facebook at DrLauren.

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