Chocolate as a Health Food?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 26, 2008 1:10 AM GMT
    Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Extra fine Dark Chocolate bar
    (3.5 OZ, 100 g)

    4 squares
    Calories 120 calories from Fat 160
    Total Fat 18g 28%
    Sat Fat 11g 55%
    Trans 0g
    Cholesterol 0g
    Sodium 20g 1%
    Total Carbohydrates 8g 3%
    Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 4g

    Calcium 4%
    Iron 15%

    Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure
    Dark chocolate -- not white chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    But that's no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure -- if you've reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.

    Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate
    Dark chocolate -- but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk -- is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

    "Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate ... and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate."

    Translation: Say "Dark, please," when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don't even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word "moderate" as you nibble.

    The Studies
    Taubert's team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure -- on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.

    Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.

    Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.

    In the second study, Serafini's team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.

    An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.

    Chocolate for Blood Pressure: Darker Is Better
    What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols -- cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure.

    Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So if you're going to try this at home, remember: Darker is better.

    Web MD
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 01, 2008 7:57 PM GMT
    Nobody's probably read this since it sound like something you'd hear from Oprah.

    Chocolate needs a better PR rep.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 01, 2008 8:48 PM GMT
    It's interesting milk blocks absorption of chocolate's antioxidants, since it does so for tea as well.
  • VinBaltimore

    Posts: 239

    Sep 01, 2008 9:41 PM GMT
    These are freakin' awesome:
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Sep 01, 2008 11:33 PM GMT
    Well, not like there's much to argue here.

    I mean, the only person I know who doesn't like chocolate is because she's violently allergic to it.