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Is Dark Chocolate Really a Superfood?

by Paul Fassa
See all TBYIL articles by Paul Fassa

(The Best Years in Life) Don't go grabbing Mars bars or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and stuffing yourself like you did during childhood Halloween tours. That's not the stuff of superfoods. I'm talking dark bitter-sweet and even bitter, pure chocolate.

It's best to select chocolates labeled Fair Trade and organic with at least 70% cacao or cocoa (both words indicate the same bean) and no sweeter than bitter-sweet. The more bitter the better.

Anything less is too watered down with milk and saturated with addictive and unhealthy refined sugar or worse, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Actually, the healthiest form of cacao is cacao nibs, small bitter pieces of cacao that you can nibble on or put into coffee or top off a bowl of plain whole milk organic yogurt with raw honey or throw them into a smoothie. They can be purchased from the spice bulk section of a good health food store or online.

Raw cacao powder or nibs are super antioxidants, which protect you against cellular damage from the oxidative stress of free radicals. Their ORAC ratings (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) are higher than any other food, with dark chocolates not far behind.

Antioxidant protection reduces aging symptoms and helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis (MS), heart disease, and even cancer. You can even ease a common coughing spell with dark chocolate.

Moderate consumption of dark chocolate for optimum health benefits should be six to ten grams almost every day. A typical dark chocolate bar is around 100 grams, or around 3.5 ounces. A spoonful of cacao nibs is probably even better.

More Dark Chocolate and Cacao Health Benefits

Cardiac arrest and stroke protection: Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and reduces clogged artery congestion, thus lowering the risks of heart attacks and strokes. It does this by co-creating nitric oxide (NO), a proven blood vessel vasodilator.

Dark chocolate's cacao is also high in magnesium, which also contributes to heavily to heart health also. It nourishes the nerves that regulate heartbeat rhythm and helps strengthen heart muscle.

Almost everyone is magnesium deficient, by the way. It is considered a master mineral because it's involved with over 300 cellular metabolic processes.

 

Reduces risk of colon cancer: Cocoa polyphenols from dark chocolate reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. This was determined in a study by the Science and Technology Institute of Food and Nutrition in Spain, which was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition. That study is explained here.

Healthy fats: The fat in chocolate is abundant oleic acid, the type of fatty acid found in olive oil, which helps prevent heart disease and promote antioxidant activity. Other healthy fats in cacao are stearic acid and palmitic acid. Just avoid milk chocolate and
you'll keep it this way.

Enhances glucose metabolism: Dark chocolate (70% plus cacao) candy inhibits blood sugar issues to help prevent diabetes and obesity. Surprising, eh? You can find dark chocolate candy bars that are as high as 90% cacao.

Once you get over any addiction to those cheap milk chocolate candies, you'll find dark chocolate so tasty you won't go back to those other candies.

Improves mood: Studies have shown that dark chocolate contains serotonin and increases endorphin production. It's a natural anti-depressant.

Improves brain function: Nottingham University professor Ian MacDonald used MRI analysis to confirm improved brain activity with people who had just
consumed cocoa drinks.

Hopefully they didn't have to undergo too many MRI scans that would fry their improved brains!

Eases PMS issues: This is why husbands and boyfriends should give dark chocolate to their wives or girlfriends. Hopefully not both simultaneously.

See also:

Good Health through Healthy Chocolate

What to Eat When All Your Food is Poisoned (humorous visual message)

 

Other Sources:

http://www.laurelonhealthfood.com/2007/09/10-reasons-to-eat-more-chocolate/

About the author:

Paul Fassa started looking into natural health to overcome his unhealthy lifestyle. Then he developed more interest as he researched his articles for Natural News and Align Life.

He is amazed at the ignorance of natural medicine and how beneficial foods and herbs are constantly ignored or vilified in order to promote toxic foods and meds by Big Pharma, the FDA, USDA, and the AMA, what he likes to call the "Medical Mafia".

His blog is
http://healthmaven.blogspot.com/ - "Healthmaven: Escape from the Medical Mafia Matrix." His Natural News articles can be reviewed here: http://www.naturalnews.com/Author712.html

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