Jun 5, 2009
Now for something entirely different…………………
Ok I have to admit it I love Chocolate, especially when I am sitting in my studio and painting, I love to have a piece of chocolate to munch on….but up until now I have felt very guilty about this! Well I am happy to tell you that there are some very good reasons to eat chocolate and here they are:
Written by By Dan Fields
I recently spotted a bumper sticker that quips, "If I must die, let it be death by chocolate." It's good for a chuckle, but evidence is mounting that chocolate can benefit the heart in many ways and may even help you to live longer. Dark chocolate is best: It's typically richer than milk chocolate in a group of antioxidant flavonoids called flavanols, and it has a better fat content. Here's a look at recent research on how chocolate can help the heart, brain, skin, and more.
A 2007 study from Germany showed that eating just one-quarter ounce of dark chocolate a day for 18 weeks lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure without increasing weight. More recently, scientists at Yale University reported that consuming a single bar of dark chocolate or two cups of natural cocoa reduced blood pressure and improved blood-vessel function in overweight adults.
Eating about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks improves blood flow to the heart, according to a 2009 study by Japanese researchers. These improvements were independent of changes in cholesterol levels and blood pressure. When your heart receives more blood flow, you are less likely to develop angina (chest pain) or have a heart attack.
A pair of 2008 studies found that eating dark chocolate reduces blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for chronic inflammation that indicates an increased risk of heart disease. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University reported that volunteers who consumed 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day for one week lowered their CRP levels by 23 percent. And Italian researchers discovered that just two-thirds of an ounce of dark chocolate every three days reduced CRP.
In a 2007 study of more than 34,000 postmenopausal women, those who consumed more chocolate were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease over a 16-year period. Earlier research by Dutch scientists revealed that elderly men who ate more chocolate and other cocoa-containing foods had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Fish isn't the only brain food. In a 2009 study from Norway, people in their early 70s who ate an average of one-third ounce of chocolate daily performed better on cognitive tests than those who abstained. (Eating more chocolate didn't necessarily provide more benefits.) An earlier study by Harvard researchers suggests how chocolate may help: Seniors who regularly drank flavanol-rich cocoa boosted blood flow to the brain.
Cocoa butter is a great topical moisturizer, but consuming cocoa or chocolate may also benefit your skin. In a 2006 study of German women, drinking high-flavanol cocoa each day for 12 weeks helped protect the skin from UV (ultraviolet) damage, improved blood circulation to the skin, and reduced skin roughness and dryness. A more recent study by the same researchers found that a single "dose" of a similar beverage also improved blood flow to the skin.
Craving some dark chocolate? Go ahead. Recent research by Danish scientists indicates that the treat is more filling than milk chocolate and lessens cravings for other foods. In the study, young men ate about 3.5 ounces of either dark or milk chocolate in one sitting. (The two varieties had virtually the same number of calories.) Two and half hours later, the participants were offered pizza. Those who had eaten dark chocolate beforehand consumed 15 percent less pizza than those who had snacked on milk chocolate. The men also said that dark chocolate made them feel less like eating sweet, salty, or fatty foods.
People with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke, but consuming cocoa or chocolate may help to minimize these risks. In a 2008 study by German scientists, diabetics who drank high-flavanol cocoa three times a day for one month experienced significant improvements in blood-vessel function. Other research suggests that dark chocolate may benefit diabetics by increasing insulin sensitivity.
Dark chocolate holds promise for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to a small, unpublished study by British researchers. When CFS patients ate about 1.5 ounces of high-cocoa dark chocolate each day for two months, they reported significantly less fatigue than when eating white chocolate dyed brown. Scientists speculate that dark chocolate may help by improving levels of serotonin in the brain
So there you have the latest findings…………I am off to the store for some of those dark Dove chocolates!