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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chocolate Is Just As Healthy For You As Fruits And Veggies -- Here's 3 Reasons Why

Next time you get a box of chocolates, don't feel so guilty about eating them. Chocolate is not as bad as most people think. In fact, some chocolates can actually be good for you. Eating chocolate in moderation can help protect your cardiovascular system. How? It all comes down to the 3 primary natural chemicals found in the cocoa bean from which chocolate is made.

#1 - Flavonoids - In plants, flavonoids not only give flowers their color but also protect plants from disease and helps repair damage. This benefit can be enjoyed when we eat foods that are rich in flavonoids, such as chocolate as well as apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, and tomatoes.

#2 - Antioxidants - This molecule reduces cell damage, or oxidation. Oxidation can occur during breathing and from cigarette smoke. It can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) that builds up plaque on the walls of arteries. Chocolate and other foods rich in antioxidants, such as red beans, wild blueberries and cranberries, contain antioxidants that help body cells resist damage.

#3 - Flavonols - this is a type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. Flavonols not only have antioxidant power but can also lower blood pressure and increase the amount of blood going to the brain and heart. Besides chocolate, other foods containing flavanols include apples, cranberries, red wine, onions and peanuts.

But Not All Chocolate is the Same

So, now that we know chocolate is good for you, we can eat all we want, right? Wrong! One ounce of plain, dark chocolate a few times a week is healthy. What is not healthy is choosing chocolate that is loaded with other ingredients like caramel and marshmallows. Moderation is the key to enjoying chocolate and good health.
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