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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

You Can Eat Healthy Chocolates Without Feeling Guilty

Various types of chocolate.Image via Wikipedia
By Roy Mullen

We should all subscribe to a healthy diet to maintain our heart's health and to live a long and disease-free life. There's a kind of chocolate that is not only delicious, but nutritious too.

Prevention Magazine has provided a list of seven foods that are essential to our heart's health. The list includes some that we know already, like fruits, vegetables, and foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. But Prevention quoted from a recent study that those who eat about 20 gm per day of dark chocolate show a significant improvement in the flow of blood.

The chocolate mentioned is the dark kind, and not the usual chocolate bars that we know. Dark chocolate's nitric oxide content is shown to increase the arterial dilation, which improves blood flow.

The study also showed that milk can prohibit the absorption of heart healthy chocolate's beneficial polyphenols, so dark chocolate needs to be consumed without milk in the ingredients or drinking milk while eating dark chocolate. Ironically, consuming teas work the same way as the heart healthy chocolate. If you add milk to your tea, you'll reverse the benefits that tea can bring to your cardiovascular system.

CocoaVia and Xocai are often mentioned as containing heart healthy chocolate. Antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytosterols in them are responsible for the beneficiary effects. In fact, dark heart healthy chocolate contains eight times the beneficial antioxidants found in strawberries.

Dark chocolate minimizes your risk for heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and reducing the effects of LDL cholesterol. In a Harvard study, candidates for heart disease can lower the risk of dying from a heart attack by as much as 19%. That is a really great conclusion on the good you get from dark chocolate.

The benefits of chocolate, including its protection for the cardiovascular system, are known ages ago. Now that more research has been done to validate those claims, more and more people are "indulging" in heart healthy chocolate and sales have increased by 50%.

Most of the dark chocolates come with labels that indicate where the cocoa beans come from. Look for chocolate made from cocoa beans grown in the regions of Columbia, the Ivory Coast, the Amazon and Ecuador. The cocoa beans from these areas tend to contain more beneficial components than others. You can be healthier by adding healthy chocolate into your diet.

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