Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

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Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

Dark Chocolate

I just learned that a recent Italian study, scheduled to be published in the Journal of Nutrition’s October issue, adds just one more check in favor of chocolate’s health benefits. This study noted that people who ate a moderate amount of dark chocolate had significant reduction in their CRP levels.

CRP — C-reactive protein. This is a blood marker of inflammation that is correlated with heart disease, heart attack, and stroke risk. Many studies have shown that elevated CRP may be even more important than high cholesterol in determining your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Getting your CRP levels down is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. The Italian study showed people eating one serving of dark chocolate a few times a week had significantly lower CRP levels than those who didn’t. The drop in CRP was enough to decrease the risk of heart disease by one-fourth in men, and one-third in women.

Before you go out and purchase chocolate by the bushel, you should know that the researchers noticed that when people ate too much chocolate, all of the health benefits disappeared. Just like the studies about red wine, a little is really good for you, but a lot is not.

It also really does seem to matter the quality of the chocolate. A piece of milk chocolate or white chocolate does not seem to have any health benefit. It has to be dark chocolate, with the higher concentration of cocoa the better. Be wary of mass marketed “dark” chocolate bars that are simply dark colored milk chocolate that may not have the medicinal value that a real piece of dark chocolate has. Buying organic dark chocolate is even better. This is one of those times where it is worth it to spend a little more on a high quality chocolate bar, but only eat a few squares a week.

Why Chocolate?

The magical constituent in cocoa is still debated, but most researchers agree that the high flavonoid content in dark chocolate is part of what helps the heart. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that help protect the cells of our bodies from damage and inflammation. Other foods high in flavonoids include berries, green tea, and red wine. So if you love chocolate Dark Chocolate is the way to go!

For more information about chocolate stop by the office or give us a call at 773-385-9432 and we will be glad to answer all your questions.


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