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The Less Is More: Theory of Chocolate
by admin on: November 14th, 2011

There are many articles in the ???lay press??? that tout the health benefits of chocolate. Chocolate, itself, is made from plants although it would be a stretch to say that eating a chocolate bar is equivalent to eating a helping of vegetables. However, there are some health benefits that can be had from eating chocolate. The reason? Chocolate contains flavonoids, which are pigments that are found in plants. Flavonoids act as antioxidants, which can reduce cell damage, reduce the clogging of arteries and, thereby, reduce some of the detrimental effects associated with aging and chronic illness. Antioxidants accomplish this by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals have the potential to start chain reactions that end with a negative mutation in the DNA of a cell, which can cause that cell to function poorly, or even result in cell death.

Ok, so now that the ???science??? of chocolate???s health benefits is out of the way, what do the studies indicate? A study published (online in August 2010) in the journalCirculation: Heart Failureexamined heart failure rates in 31,823 Swedish women who were part of an eight-year mammography study. These women were aged 48 to 83 and each had answered questionnaires about their food intake. The results of these surveys indicated that women who ate one to two servings of dark chocolate had 32 percent fewer cases of heart failure than non-chocolate eaters. The study also showed that women who ate one to three servings of chocolate had (approximately) 26 percent fewer cases of heart failure. Of course, women that ate ???too much??? chocolate experienced weight gain and offset the benefits provided by moderate amounts of chocolate.

Though other studies have indicated that the actions of flavonoids are the likely cause for the health benefits, these researchers speculated that the people eating moderate amounts of chocolate may also experience a reduction in blood pressure. Finally, a healthy habit that won???t be difficult to start!

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