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  • Date :
  • 2/17/2009

Chocolate Can Be Healthy

A bar of chocolate isn’t just a sweet treat; it can also be a boon to the body.

The ways, in which the compounds in chocolate interact with our bodies’ systems, from the stomach to the heart, have been an active area of research in recent years, Live Science wrote.

Several studies have found that in small amounts, dark chocolate in particular can help prevent the blood from clumping up, keep the heart healthy and even provide some anti-cancer benefits.

Scientists caution that chocolate is far from being a cure-all, of course.

Chocolate is produced from the seeds of the cacao tree, which is native to parts of South America. The nibs at the hearts of the seeds are ground and liquefied into the pure chocolate form. The chocolate can be separated into its two components, cocoa solids (the nonfatty component) and cocoa butter (the fatty part).

As any chocolate lover knows, chocolate comes in many forms. The form depends on the relative amounts of cocoa solids and butter, as well as how much sugar and milk are added:

Dark chocolate has a little fat and sugar added in; milk chocolate, as the name suggests, has milk added in on top of the fat and sugar; white chocolate has only the cocoa butter, and sometimes not even that, with vegetable oils added instead, in which case it isn’t really chocolate.



The less sugar and milk in the chocolate, the more bitter it tastes. But with that bitter taste (which varies depending on what percentage of the chocolate is pure cocoa), comes some possible health benefits.

Studies have shown that dark chocolate contains certain antioxidants called polyphenols that could help fight chronic inflammation of tissues in the circulatory system, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

 One study of Italians showed that people who ate a moderate amount of dark chocolate daily (about 6.7 grams though these are milk chocolate) had lower levels of a protein associated with inflammation.

Other links:

Chocolate useful for pregnancy

Walk to Curb Chocolate Cravings

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