Enjoy The Benefits Of Antioxidant-Rich Dark Chocolate This Valentine’s Day.
If you’re worrying about how to get through Valentine’s Day without chocolate, you don’t have to. You may just want to skip the milk chocolate and indulge in the dark.
Dark chocolates are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help destroy free radicals, those destructive molecules in our system that, in abundance, lead to chronic ailments including heart disease and some cancers.
Dick Taubert, MD, PhD, at the University of Cologne Germany conducted two studies on dark chocolate. The first one was to determine the impact of dark chocolate on blood pressure. Taubert put together the study using six men and seven women between the ages of 55 to 64. They had all been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure.
The participants were divided into two groups. Both groups were instructed to consume a 100-gram candy bar every day for two weeks. One group was given dark chocolate; the other group white.
The dark chocolate group all had a significant drop in blood pressure, however, there was no change in the participant’s that ate the white chocolate.
The second study involved seven women and five men, all healthy and between the ages of 25 to 35. On different days they all ate 100 grams of dark chocolate, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.
An hour later their blood was tested. The participants that ate the dark chocolate alone had the highest levels of antioxidants in their blood. Those that ate the milk chocolate had the lowest levels.
Flavanols and Flavonoids- Flavanols and flavonoids are found in cocoa and chocolate. Flavanols, along with being an antioxidant, have a positive influence on lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and make the blood platelets less sticky and able to clot. Flavonoids help protect plants from toxins found in the environment and help with cell repair.
Dark Chocolate Also Contains Cocoa and Cacao – The more cocoa or cacao the chocolate has, the higher the health benefits will be. Look for chocolate that has 60% cocoa or more. A good choice would be Godiva’s Dark Chocolate Truffles or Lindt’s Extra Dark Chocolates .
Wine And Chocolate – A Perfect Pair – For an extra burst of antioxidants and flavonoids, enjoy a glass of red wine with your chocolate. The health benefits of red wine are similar to those found in dark chocolates.
The wines that have the highest concentrations of flavonoids, according to researchers at the University of California, are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. The dryer the wine is, the better it is for you. White wines or sweeter red wines don’t contain the same healthy properties as the dry darks.
Everyone deserves a little indulgence on Valentine’s Day. It’s even better if your indulgence can be healthy.