Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Heart Chocolate

Fantastic news for chocolate lovers! The consumption of chocolate has many positive benefits, along side its oh-so-addicting taste, it may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. What makes this news even better is the more you eat the better. This may sound like a gimmick to those non-chocolate lovers and more reason for chocolate fanatics, such as myself, to continue their chocolatey obsessions, but researchers in Sweden have discovered evidence proving that chocolate contains antioxidants that have great cardiovascular effects. Sweet!

According to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the antioxidant important to chocolate's heart friendly effects is known as flavonoid, commonly found within many fruits and vegetables. Flavonoid, like other antioxidants, helps curb the effects of free radicals that cause damage to cells. Free radicals are also responsible for oxidizing LDL (bad cholesterol), increasing the likelihood of plaque build-up within arteries also known as atherosclerosis. In other words, eating chocolate can increase proper blood flow to and from the heart.

Not only does indulging in the divine taste of chocolate have great cardiovascular effects, according to a study at the University of Chicago, chocolate also reduces stress levels and has been shown to act as a painkiller. (No wonder so many women are addicted to its euphoric qualities.) But how much chocolate is too much? Well, studies show that eating just one serving of chocolate a week can reduce stroke risk by as much as 22% and eating up to 50 grams of chocolate a week may reduce the risk up to 46%. Most chocolate deserts, however, contain high quantities of sugar and saturated fats which can ruin these benefits (as well as increase your waistline), but sticking with dark chocolate may be best.

So go on you chocolate fiends, eat to your heart's desire. And for those of you who aren't quite chocolate enthusiasts, you're missing out. I heart chocolate.

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