Monday, April 28, 2008

Luscious Dark Chocolate

Just thinking about the scrumptious chocolate we feel guilty about all the loaded calories we have to carry around but there is a perfect excuse now to dig into the bag, wait a moment not just any sort of chocolates, dark chocolate is the secret guilt free binging I was taking about. It is so good for the health that we shouldn’t abstain from it. The recommended portion is up to Up to 7 ounces per week, average 1 ounce per day i.e 3.5 grams per week and ½ gram per day approximately.
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Plant chemicals like flavonoids contribute to pigment. So, more flavonoids means darker chocolate and potentially greater health benefits. There are two different kinds of flavonoids called catechin and epicatechins. Catechins, which have recently been found to be abundant in cocoa. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are also thought to have a role in slowing the aging process and preventing heart disease and strokes Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.
Dark Chocolate is delicious as well as healthy. Dark chocolate is specially good for the heart, it helps in lowering the blood pressure for those who have it and it also helps in lowering the Low-density lipoprotein LDL i.e the bad cholesterol up to 10 %.
The composition of dark chocolate is that 1/3 oleic acid, Oleic acid is a monosaturated Omega-9 fatty acids found in various animal and vegetable sources, 1/3 stearic acid, is one of the useful types of saturated fatty acids that come from many animal and vegetable fats and oils. It is and 1/3 palmitic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees and these fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol. Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk. That means only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.
The other benefits of chocolate apart from protecting our precious heart is that it tastes mouth watering, it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant ,it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants. Dark chocolate has 65 percent or higher cocoa content. Improve Digestion and stimulate kidneys. Has been used to help treat patients with anemia, kidney stones and poor appetite. Dark chocolate has also recently been found to contain more than 3 times the amount of catechins as that found in tea. Chocolate is also a good source of copper and magnesium, which helps to regulate heartbeat and blood pressure.
Savour the dark chocolate and taste it as if it was your last bite, it is loaded with about 300 or so compounds and chemicals. Don’t mix dark chocolate with milk. Of course eating large amounts of chocolate is still bad for you and could cause weight gain. But, taken in smaller quantities, it could prove to be very beneficial to your health. It all depends on the quantity and the type of chocolate that you are eating.
Stick to dark chocolate for maximum health benefits. Everything brown is not dark chocolate

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