Chocolate may be your “guilty” pleasure, but you shouldn’t feel very guilty at all about eating it quite regularly. A new study has found that chocolate can actually help to improve the health of your heart, but its benefits don’t stop there.
Chocolate is full of nutrients, such as vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E. Of course it is important to first look at the quality of the chocolate before biting in. It is important that the chocolate is organic, and contains at least 70% cacao content. The higher percentage of cacao, the better the chocolate is. This means that the chocolate will be darker, but not dark to the point of bitterness.
Oftentimes brand name chocolate found in grocery stores contains high fructose corn syrup and other harmful additives, making it a poor decision to eat or feed to your children on Halloween or any other time. Make sure to check the ingredients list of your chocolate product to ensure it is free of these additives.
Epidemiologic investigations have found through numerous studies that chocolate consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is due to flavonoids that are present in cacao, which promote heart health. The April, 2008 Journal of Nutrition published a double-blind controlled study that evaluated the effects of flavanol-containing dark chocolate. 49 adults participated in the study, who ate a diet set by the American Heart Association.
Participants consumed 1 cocoa dark chocolate bars 2 times daily (which was a lot more than I would recommend due to high fructose content, but it was just to amplify the results of the study), while keeping activity levels the same. The results were very interesting. Chocolate consumption reduced systolic blood pressure after 8 weeks, and reduced bad cholesterol by 5.3%.
You can stay healthy and enjoy a treat at the same time with high quality organic chocolate. Organic dark chocolate can often be found at your local grocery store for a reasonable price. Reward yourself and your children with a treat that both tastes great and improves overall health.
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