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Dark Chocolate - Good News For Chocolate Lovers

April 26, 2011
Most people enjoy dark chocolate for its taste. However in addition to its unique rich flavor, dark chocolate also has many health benefits. Studies have found out that consumption of dark chocolate may actually be good for health. This may encourage more and more people to prefer dark chocolate over other alternatives such as milk chocolate.

One of the health benefits of dark chocolate is a positive effect on an individual’s blood pressure.

Studies show that individuals suffering from mild elevations in blood pressure may be able to correct the condition by consuming an increased amount of dark chocolate. However, it is very important to remember that dark chocolate must not serve as a replacement for medications and other prescribed treatment. Also, eating too much dark chocolate can result in weight gain and dental decay and as such it must only be consumed in moderation.

The main health benefits of dark chocolate can be attributed to the plant phenols present in cocoa beans. These cocoa phenols are known to lower blood pressure levels. Foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants are beneficial for health as they provide protection from free radicals which can cause damage to the cells and trigger various types of diseases.

Dark chocolate contains several of such antioxidants and regular consumption of dark chocolate helps to prevent conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Dark chocolate even contains a higher amount of antioxidants than certain fruits like strawberries. Blood cholesterol levels are also reduced due to intake of dark chocolate.

Studies have shown that LDL or bad cholesterol levels drop to as much as ten percent after regular consumption of dark chocolate.
To obtain the maximum benefit from the antioxidants contained in dark chocolate, one should not consume it along with milk. Milk may interfere with the absorption of the antioxidants in the body and hence must be avoided. This is the reason why milk chocolate does not provide the same nutritional benefits as dark chocolate. Most individuals may be concerned about the fat content in dark chocolate.

However, only a certain part of the fat content in dark chocolate is unhealthy. This is known as palmitic acid and it can result in high cholesterol and higher risk of heart disease. Palmitic acid only constitutes a third of the total fat content in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate also stimulates the release of endorphins which work as stimulants and produce pleasurable feelings.
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