Chocolate: Feel good, lose weight and be healthy

Packed with high-quality, potent polyphenol antioxidants, chocolate has eight times the polyphenol antioxidants as strawberries.

by Julia Busch — 

Can you “have your cake and eat it, too?” Apparently yes — if you’re talking chocolate. Chocolate lovers can indulge their passion, guilt-free, says research reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Derived from the fruit of the cacao tree, flavonol-rich dark chocolate may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, plus offer other health benefits.

Packed with high-quality, potent polyphenol antioxidants, chocolate has eight times the polyphenol antioxidants as strawberries. Ranking higher than the top commonly eaten antioxidant fruits, vegetables, black tea and wine, dark chocolate’s free-radical quenchers mop up damaging small reactive molecules that trigger serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and age-related cognitive deterioration.

Japanese researchers found that cocoa extract, fed to rabbits, retarded cholesterol oxidation leading to artery plaque build-up. Skin tumors in mice were inhibited with epicatechin, a chocolate phenol compound.

Additionally, natural compounds in chocolate register a positive effect on mood and energy. Milder than caffeine, the theobromine in chocolate is believed to raise the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, which is released during exercise or triggered by popular prescription antidepressants.

More than 300 other compounds, including vitamins, minerals and amino acids, some of which are considered anti-aging cellular guardians, have been found in chocolate. Among them are high magnesium levels, key to heart and bone health, and the amino acid arginine, which enhances penile erection when used in large doses. What’s more, defatted or lecithinated chocolate also can accelerate weight loss.

Combined with herbs, chocolate has been a key ingredient in weight-loss supplements for many years. High-quality proprietary formulations, originally designed for obese and diabetic children, have recently found their way into the very popular organic chocolate marketplace. Many dieters claim that healthy, feel-good, effortless weight loss has occurred as rapidly as a pound a day. Ingredients can include the natural alcohol sugar, xylitol, which is certified safe for diabetics.

 

Julia Busch is president of Anti-Aging Press, Inc., editor of the So Young™ anti-aging holistic newsletter and author of 10 books. For an in-depth report on the benefits of chocolate, including its use in a weight-loss program, call call 800-So-Young (800-769-6864) or julia2@gate.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 2, Apr/May 2009.

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