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Eat More Chocolate! For Your Health, Of Course...

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Old 01-12-2007, 02:19 AM   #1
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Got this from my dad today. Just one more reason to make sure we're all eating that 1oz of dark or semisweet chocolate that we're allowed per week in P2 and 3. I love mine...I know we had a thread going somewhere with suggestions for good chocolate...anyone want to look that up and link to it? (boy, I sound lazy! I just remember that it was part of another thread...hmmmm...)

Here's the article:

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A Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Updated 1/11/2007 8:14:50 PM By Daniel DeNoon

Here's news that's hard not to like. Eating a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate every day is good for you. Very good for you, find Mary Engler, PhD, RN, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues.

Now here is a medical experiment you would love to volunteer for. Engler's team divided 21 healthy adults into two groups. One group got a Dove Dark Chocolate bar every day for two weeks. Like other dark chocolate bars with high-cocoa content, this one is loaded with something called epicatechin. Epicatechin is a particularly active member of a group of compounds called plant flavoniods. Flavoniods keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clots, and slow down the immune responses that lead to clogged arteries.

The second group that didn't get Dove bars wasn't totally left out. They, too, got dark chocolate bars. But their treats had the flavoniods taken out.

All subjects underwent high-tech evaluation of how well the blood vessels dilate and relax -- an indictor of healthy blood vessel function. Blood vessel stiffness indicates diseased vessels and possible atherosclerosis. Those who got the full-flavonoid chocolate did significantly better. Why? Blood tests showed that high levels of epicatechin were coursing through their arteries.

"This is the longest clinical trial to date to show improvement in blood vessel function from consuming flavonoid-rich dark chocolate daily over an extended period of time," Engler says in a news release. "It is likely that the elevated blood levels of epicatechin triggered the release of active substances that ... increase blood flow in the artery. Better blood flow is good for your heart."

Why Dark Chocolate Is Different

Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate contains a lot more cocoa than other forms of chocolate. And standard chocolate manufacturing destroys up to half of the flavoniods. But chocolate companies have now learned to make dark chocolate that keeps up to 95% of its flavoniods.

Sure, this seems like a scam. Can't you get more and better flavoniods from other foods? Surprisingly, the answer is "not really." Engler says that dark chocolate contains more flavoniods than any other food -- including green tea, black tea, red wine, and blueberries.

"Many people don't realize that chocolate is plant-derived, as are the fruits and vegetables recommended for a healthy heart," Engler says.

While a little dark chocolate is good, a lot is not better. Chocolate still is loaded with calories. If you're going to eat more chocolate, you'll have to cut back somewhere else. And remember that a balanced diet -- and plenty of exercise -- is still the key to heart health.

Engler's study was funded by the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing. The American Cocoa Research Institute, a nonprofit group funded by the chocolate industry, provided the chocolate used in the study.

The findings appear in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Engler previously reported the findings at the 2002 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association and at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting. SOURCES: Engler, M.B. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2004; vol 23: pp 197-204. News release, University of California, San Francisco.
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:26 AM   #2
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This was interesting thanks! I'd always heard that dark chocolate was good, but wasn't sure why!
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:38 AM   #3
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What great news! Does this also mean that we can have a little chocolate every day, or just save it for a once-a-week treat?
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Old 01-12-2007, 06:58 AM   #4
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My interpretation is that you can have a little every day. Life is good!
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:12 AM   #5
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MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

This is my kind of news. I have heard dark chocolate is better for you also. I usually get a 5oz. Hershey's Special dark chocolate bar and while still in the package break it into the little squares and then break the little squares in half. Then when I really have a chocolate craving I have one of the 1/2 pieces, somedays I eat two half pieces, this really stave off the cravings and gives me a VERY tasty treat.

Chocolate is my weakness.

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Old 01-12-2007, 08:53 AM   #6
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I've always told people that chocolate was good for you!!! Dark chocolate has always been my fav too!! The problem it not limiting myself!!! NEXT WEEK....P2 I'm on my way!! LOL I am looking forward to a little treat here and there....I've been saving a chocolate bar I got for Christmas....I feel like Charlie Bucket from Willie Wonka!! One Little Square here and there...hey that sounds like a good mantra.
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Old 01-12-2007, 01:03 PM   #7
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Should we be eating sugar-free dark chocolate? I really don't know much about dark or semisweet chocolate, beyond chocolate chips. Does unsweetened cocoa have the flavonoids?
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Old 01-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #8
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Mmmm. Makes me feel not so bad about those little Dove chocolates (the square ones) that I've been popping one-a-day of since I got them on post-Christmas sale. I looooooove dark chocolate.
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Old 01-12-2007, 11:04 PM   #9
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Dark Chocolate is the only kind one of my grandsons can have...he can't have anything with milk in it. I read an article like this one before...More healthy for us...next week Phase 2 coming up for me...hurray!
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