Most of us can agree that chocolate is, well wonderful, but try to behave when it comes to eating it. Good news chocolate lovers, dark chocolate, eaten in small amounts daily is actually good for you, and can help keep you heart and cardiovascular system running well.
Chocolate comes from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables, with flavonoids leading the way. Flavonoids help protect plants by shielding them from environmental toxins and help with repairing damage. When we eat plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power. Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing and from environmental contaminants.
Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research indicates that flavanols have other positive influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the brain and heart, making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, and lowering cholesterol. Flavonoids are bitter, causing most commercial chocolate to go through processing steps that remove these compounds, so it’s best to find less processed, or darker chocolates that will have higher levels of flavonoids. Dark chocolate contains nearly 8 times the number of antioxidants found in strawberries.
Chocolate also stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. Chocolate also contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant, and it has theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants. And even better, only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate isn’t good for you. Chocolate contains:
- Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
- Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
- Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk..
When picking out chocolate one should avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings. These fillings are just adding sugar and fat which erase many of the benefits you get from eating the chocolate. And avoid milk, which could prevent the antioxidants from being absorbed by your body.
And one more thing, eating chocolate may even help with math, or at least counting. A study reported in 2009 showed that people did a better job of counting backwards in groups of three after they had a hot cocoa drink, as flavonoids, may increase blood flow to the brain.
Now EO Products Chocolate Mint line isn’t of the eating nature, but they sure smell so good, you sort of kind of want to. Check out the buy one get two free while supplies last at: http://www.eoproducts.com/Categories/Newsletter-Specials.aspx, and enjoy!!!