Health Benefits of Chocolate Growing

A chocolate egg decorated with bunny like ears...

A chocolate egg decorated with bunny like ears and feet. The ears and feet are made of pastillage (sugar dough). This egg/bunny is a twist on the standard Easter chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easter is around the corner! Chocolate Bunnies are hopping. We can keep in mind the benefits of chocolate while enjoying them.

At the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society , a three-hour symposium was devoted to cocoa science and technology.  At the symposium, Eric Ding, PhD, instructor of medicine and nutritional epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, discussed the benefits of chocolate on heart disease risk factors.

  • lower blood pressure
  • dark chocolate can increase HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • With dark chocolate, insulin resistance improved
  • Blood flow also improved with a bit of chocolate
  • Altogether the results suggest strong benefits against cardiovascular disease

Other benefits of dark chocolate

  • Chocolate may help those with type 2 diabetes minimize the ill effects of high blood sugar levels after eating
  • may help patients with congestive heart failure

What Is the ”Magic” Ingredient in Chocolate? “The flavonol epicatechin, an antioxidant, seems to have an effect on the powerhouse of the cell, known as the mitochondria” says Francisco Villarreal, MD, PhD, a professor at the University of California, San Diego. “Many diseases, including Alzheimer’s, seem to have a mitochondrial component,” he says. He suspects the antioxidant properties aren’t the whole reason epicatechin has benefits.

How Much Chocolate Is Enough? Villareal found that half a square seems to have good effects. (read more)


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