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Heart Healthy Chocolate Contains Beneficial Antioxidants

Jun 6, 2008
New research shows that certain kinds of chocolate may not only taste great but be heart-healthy too. Prestigious scientific journals have published studies that say dark chocolate is healthy chocolate. Dark chocolate is good for you -- not white chocolate or milk chocolate.

When healthy and high-quality natural ingredients are used, it is possible to make a truly "healthy chocolate" from naturally-grown, unprocessed, unroasted, raw cocoa/cacao beans that has little loss of the natural nutrients and lots of antioxidants.

Many of the health benefits contained in dark colored vegetables can be found in chocolate, because it is derived from plants. Healthy attributes include antioxidants (known for possible risk reduction for cancer and heart disease) and minerals, i.e. copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium.

To produce a true "healthy chocolate", unprocessed raw cacao beans or cocoa powder must be used, which are untreated with alkalis (Dutch chocolate processing). Of all the natural foods, raw cacao contains the highest antioxidant concentration. Acai berries have the second highest content. Cacao in its raw form is beneficial in protecting the brain, liver and heart.

Dark chocolate is beneficial to heart health by lowering blood pressure. Studies suggest that individuals with high blood pressure can reduce it by consuming a small quantity of dark chocolate every day. This benefit is from flavonoids, which are chemicals made from plants and which have rich antioxidant properties. Flavonoids offer many nutritional benefits.

Healthy chocolate also contains benefits apart from protecting your heart: it tastes good and stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.

Epicatechin is a compound that can be found in raw cocoa, and has amazing health benefits which rival penicillin and anaesthesia in relation to general public health, reports Marina Murphy in the magazine Chemistry & Industry. A pharmaceutical product that could offer all the health benefits of raw unprocessed cocoa would likely be touted as a "miracle drug".

Here is another important fact to remember when choosing a "healthy chocolate". The term "healthy chocolate" only applies to chocolate made from cocoa beans which have not been subjected to high heat by roasting, treated with alkalis or other chemicals, and adulterated with various additives like hydrogenated oils, animal fats like lard, corn syrup, refined sugar, dairy products, and chemical preservatives. Eating healthy chocolate, with its super-high ORAC value, can be an efficient and enjoyable way to boost your daily dose of antioxidants, reduce the ravages of free radicals and protect your heart.
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Find out how you can benefit from healthy chocolate by visiting Healthy Chocolate and Chocolate Power
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