Okay, maybe it’s not quite the eighth wonder, but recent studies are suggesting that the health benefits of dark chocolate are certainly exciting.
Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate has long been recognized for its ability to decrease the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate has now been shown to have other significant benefits as well, including lowering the risk of developing diabetes.
Hypertension and impaired insulin sensitivity are two major risk factors for diabetes; both have been shown to be decreased by a daily dose of dark chocolate. A new study reported in the January 2006 issue of Heart has demonstrated dark chocolate’s potential to also enhance endothelial and platelet function, an important cardiovascular benefit. In short, chocolate is now a heart-healthy food!
While this news is definitely not too good to be true, there are, of course, a couple of caveats. Dark chocolate can be healthy, but eating pounds of it is decidedly UNhealthy. Antioxidants and flavonoids are great, but don’t forget the perpetual enemy: the calorie. A moderate amount (one dark chocolate bar) contains around 500 calories. Eating one bar of dark chocolate every day will allow us to reap all of the newly discovered health benefits, but those 500 calories must be cut from other parts of our diet.
It’s very tempting to read of these benefits and think, “I have heart disease and diabetes! If I eat dark chocolate, I’ll be cured! Why didn’t my doctor tell me this before?” The answer is simple: because it’s completely untrue! Dark chocolate will not cure heart disease or diabetes; it merely lowers the risk of these conditions.
In an age of fad diets, where weight loss is society’s epicenter, and deprivation is the only way to achieve it, it’s a comfort to know that there is still room for small indulgences. Staying healthy has never been easy, but for those with a sweet tooth, this news is sure to boost morale.
It may be time to revamp an old saying: “A chocolate bar a day keeps the doctor away!” Ready for some chocolate? Please take time to browse our website if you would like to buy chocolate or send chocolate to a friend.
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