Chocolate is Good For You

 

Chocolate is Good For you Sin in a Tin

Dark chocolate (cocoa) has significant health benefits:

 

Lowers Blood Pressure

People who eat a square of dark chocolate every night can reduce their blood pressure. Healthy compounds in cocoa increase nitric oxide.  Nitric oxide “opens up” blood vessels.  A different study shows that eating a whole bar enhances blood flow through arteries.

Reduces Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol is lower in people who eat dark chocolate everyday. The optimum dose isn't know, but some researchers indicates that it doesn't take huge amounts.

Reduces Inflammation

Dark chocolate reduces inflammation in arteries associated with heart disease.

Chocolate eaters are more likely to survive a heart attack

Swedish researchers discovered that people who eat chocolate twice a week or more were more likely to survive a heart attack.

Increases Endurance

Cocoa catechins help muscles generate more energy. May reduce the risk of heart attack during exercise.

Reduces the risk of diabetes

Compounds in cocoa, wine and berries normalize insulin levels and other abnormalities in type 2 diabetes. Cocoa contains the same antioxidants as green tea, grapes and wine. They're known as catechins and procyanidins.

Elevates Mood

Cocoa has been called a drug because of the bioactive compounds it contains, including caffeine. Research shows that cocoa can increase serotonin in the brain. Chocolate itself contains the mood enhancers serotonin and dopamine.

Sources:

Jennings A, et al. Intakes of anthocyanins and flavones are associated with biomarkers of insulin resistance and inflammation in women.  J Nutr 144:202-208 (2014).

Berry NM, et al. Impact of cocoa flavonol consumption on blood pressure responsiveness to exercise. Br J Nutr 103(10):1480-84 (2010).

Allgrove J, et al. Regular dark chocolate’s consumption’s reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid mobilization in response to prolonged cycling. Int J Sport Nutr Exer Metab 21:113-23 (2011).

Khan N, et al. Regular consumption of cocoa powder with milk increases HDL cholesterol and reduces oxidized LDL levels in subjects at high-risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2011 May 5 [Epub].

Tokede OA, et al. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr 2011 May 11 [Epub].

Taubert D, et al. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 298:49-60 (2007).

Grassi D, et al. Blood pressure and cardiovascular risk:
what about cocoa and chocolate? Arch Biochem Biophys 501:112-15 (2010).

Allgrove J, et al. Regular dark chocolate consumption’s
reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid
mobilization in response to prolonged cycling. Int J Sport
Nutr Exerc Metab
21:113-23 (2011).

Pérez-Berezo T, et al. Effects of a cocoa diet on an intestinal inflammation model in rats.Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 237:1181-88 (2012).

Ramos-Romero S, et al. Effect of cocoa-enriched diets on
lymphocytes involved in adjuvant arthritis in rats. Br J Nutr 107:378-87 (2012).