Dark Chocolate Contributes to Good Health!
Feb 10th, 2012 | By Sandi Thompson | Category: Health & Fitness, Nutrition
By Sandi Thompson –
So many of us LOVE chocolate! We love the bitter and sweet taste aspects, the texture, and the seductive aroma. All these qualities contribute to our love of chocolate. However, not all chocolate is created equally. Deep dark chocolate has several advantages over its paler counterparts.
First, it is lower in sugar and it comes with a higher percentage of cocoa and cocoa fat which is a healthy fat. That healthy fat is monounsaturated oleic acid. It’s the same kind of fat as in olive oil. We have been hearing for years about the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil. Another reason to choose dark chocolate is directly related to those who are lactose or caseine intolerant. Dark chocolate is a better choice when it doesn’t contain milk.
Be sure to read the label carefully when looking for milk-free chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in a special class of antioxidants called flavonoids. These help keep free radicals, destructive substances formed as by-products from normal daily activities such as breathing, under control. Dark chocolate is high in a particular antioxidant called flavanol which has been shown to increase vascular health by lowering blood pressure. Flavanol also improves blood flow to the brain and heart. Another plus is this powerhouse antioxidant can also make blood platelets less sticky. These all add up to making dark chocolate a heart-healthy choice.
There are a few folks who don’t like chocolate or have an allergy to it. They can also receive the benefits of flavanol by eating cranberries, apples and onions. It is also found in several red wines and tea. The best red wines for antioxidant benefits are pinots, merlots, and syrahs.
For those who do enjoy dark chocolate, these same red wine choices will pair very well. Red wine and dark chocolate share another health benefit: the flavonoid resveretrol. This tongue twister is pronounced RES-VEER-ETRAWL. Along with having heart-healthy benefits, it is considered anti-aging plus it lowers blood sugars.
Perhaps you have not acquired a taste for the bitterness of dark, dark chocolate. A great way to start is by slowly increasing the percentage of cocoa found in the chocolate you purchase. Many milk chocolate choices are have just 35 percent cocoa content. Anything over 70 percent is considered healthy. By slowly adding a few percentage points to your chocolate choices, you will slowly notice an increase in the taste tolerance you have for the more bitter varieties.
Experiment! Have fun! After all, it’s good for you. And share some dark chocolate with your sweet heart for Valentine’s.
Sandi Thompson, NTP, Certified Wellness Coach, Expert Weight Management, at Solutions Through Nutrition specializes in weight management and lifestyle changes for better, lasting health. Eliminate the barriers to eating healthy in a toxic world. Discover your individual nutritional needs and learn the steps to keep moving forward along the path to exceptional wellness. The vision of Solutions Through Nutrition is, “Improving the way America eats, one dining room table at a time.” Find more free health tips at http://www.solutionthroughnutrition.com/.