Chocolate for you health
Chocolate has its share of bad press, but with February being “Heart Health” month, and Valentines day coming up, I thought I would share some of the beneficial aspects of chocolate.
Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. The main health promoting constituents are the antioxidants (flavonoids, epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins), nitrogenous compounds (protein, methylxanthines, theobromine and caffeine), and minerals ( potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium).
The majority of research has been done on the effects of chocolate on cardiovascular health. The antioxidant components cause dilation within the vessels resulting decreased blood pressure. Additional benefits include the decrease of platelet aggregation, which in turn helps to prevent blockages within arteries. The consumption of about 2oz of dark chocolate per day has been linked to improvement of HDL levels (good cholesterol).
For all you chocolate lovers out there keep in mind the higher quality chocolate you consume, the more abundant the benefits.
This means the higher percentage (%) of cacoa, the better!
Latif R.Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review. Neth J Med. 2013 Mar;71(2):63-8.