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The Healing Power of Chocolate

What is chocolate?
Chocolate is derived from the cocoa bean. Beans are removed from their pods, fermented, dried, roasted, and then made into a cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. This is then pressed to make cocoa butter and cocoa cake, which is then ground up into powder. Read More
Cocoa is a rain forest herb, technically known as Theobroma Cacao. Cocoa has been used by indigenous tribes in South and Central America for thousands of years. The tribes have used it to fight parasites, heal snakebites, and as a general antiseptic.
How does chocolate heal?
Research from University of California, Davis shows that eating dark chocolate boosts oxidation levels. Chocolate contains flavonoids, which are part of the group of antioxidants found in tea, red wine, and various fruits and vegetables. Increased levels of flavonoids lowers the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Eating dark chocolate also decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation and thus reduces the risks of blood clots, lowers blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the arteries.
How much chocolate should I eat and what kind is best?
1 ounce of dark chocolate a day or 7 ounces per week provides the needed antioxidants. Dark chocolate, known as “bittersweet” or “semisweet” chocolates are best. These chocolates have a higher percentage of cocoa and little or no added sugar. The dark chocolate should be made from cocoa butter rather than fats like palm or coconut oils. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids are in the chocolate. Milk binds to antioxidants, making them unavailable, so milk chocolate is not an antioxidant source. Milk chocolate candies are pretty much just candy and don’t have nutritional value to you. Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa and would be good to try.
Should I replace fruits and vegetables with chocolate?
No. Fruits and vegetables also contain natural antioxidants and are lower in calories. A 100 gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate has 531 calories, but a 100 gram raw apple has only 52 calories. Fruits and vegetables have more flavonoids than chocolate and also have vital vitamins and minerals
that chocolate lacks.
You can maintain a healthy diet that includes chocolate!! Add dark chocolate to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and you’ll have a healthier heart and a smile on your face.