Chocolate lovers, take heart. Reports from recent studies have given you plenty of reasons to keep on eating chocolate without feeling guilty. In fact, the news from several studies released this spring shows that chocolate is quite effective against the number one killer of Americans, heart disease. Another serious threat to our health, environmental pollution, was significantly reduced by eating chocolate. And the news is even better for females
Studies and results
Epidemiologic investigations have supported the hypothesis that regular consumption of flavonoid-containing foods reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. While flavonoids are found in many plants, cocoa is particularly rich in a subclass of flavonoids known as flavanols. Several dietary intervention trials with flavanol containing cocoa products have shown improvements in endothelial and platelet function, as well as blood pressure. These studies have provided direct evidence of the benefits of flavanol containing foods and have helped to substantiate the epidemiological data.
For hundreds of year, healers used chocolate to cure ailments such as tuberculosis, gout, fatigue, diarrhea, weak digestion, hemorrhoids, low virility, and shortness of breath.
More health benefits of chocolate
Chocolate is chock-full of nutrients. It is an excellent source of potassium and magnesium, and calcium. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E.
Chocolate gives us energy. The theobromine in chocolate stimulates the central nervous system and facilitates muscle exertion. The small amount of caffeine it contains increases intellectual activity, watchfulness, and resistance to fatigue. An average size chocolate bar contains about 6 mg. of caffeine, compared to 100-150 mg. in a cup of coffee.
A study conducted in the U.K. found that theobromine may be more effective as a cough medicine than standard drug treatments. The research showed that theobromine acts on the sensory nerve endings of the vagus nerve, which runs through the airways in the lungs to the brain.
The mood boosting effects of chocolate are due to the endorphins it contains. These natural brain chemicals are released when you eat chocolate. Endorphins also help with premenstrual syndrome. Anandamide acts on brain receptors to help promote the mood boost and enhance feelings of well being.
A researcher from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine says that eating a few squares of dark chocolate every day can reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by as much as 50%. The study found that blood platelets clotted slower in people who ate chocolate.
Another study found that adults with chronic fatigue syndrome who eat 1.5 ounces of 85% dark chocolate were less fatigued.An Italian study found that eating dark chocolate normalizes the body's metabolism of blood sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes and hypoglycemia.In addition to phenols, which promote heart health, chocolate contains catechins which are antioxidants that help protect the body against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Chocolate is also high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid that increases the production of serotonin, antidepressants and stress relievers. Keeping up your tryptophan level may prevent cravings for starchy and sweet foods, and help you if you are trying to lose weight.
adapted from http://www.naturalnews.com/023941.html