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Is Dark Chocolate Good for You?
The Olmec Indians which predate the Mayans and Aztecs consumed seeds of the cacao tree – food of the gods. They held it as sacred and drank it in a recipe with chili peppers and other spices in it, most likely not sugary drink. That was a European invention much later. Still today when we think of chocolate we think of some kind of sweet confection.
This energy boosting drink was a favorite of the native royalties. Through the conquistadors the beverage spread to Spain where it was favored by the elite and spread to all of Europe. It was a status symbol of the aristocrats.
Only in the 1800’s was it mass produced for general/consumption. That sweet milk chocolate endures to the enjoyment of many today. The beverage of old was bitter, spicy and very favorable to their health and energy for the day without side effects.
Researchers have been delving into the true extent of the health benefits of cocoa that has long been revered by our cultures. Many people including the elderly are benefiting from eating the dark chocolate. Women have had a natural draw to it on a monthly cycle benefiting from the nutrients and feel good chemicals released in our brains from the theobromine and PEA in the cocoa. It also affects the serotonin levels in the brain. It isn’t addicting as coffee is, yet we go back for more as it literally makes us feel good.
Not all chocolate is created equal. Some people get migraines with one chocolate and with a more pure dark chocolate have no difficulty and may even disappear headaches. It is most desirable to eat chocolate that has been not heated much which destroys the flavanols in the antioxidants that do so much good in our bodies. It is the flavanols in the antioxidants that was so favorable to our forefathers in the dark chocolate.
The foods we eat have been mass produced and processed or prepared for us to have easy access to it and does not always provide us with the best nutrition. The standard American diet fills us with fats and various sugars that create what has now been discovered as chronic inflammation within the body that has been found leading to many of the diseases that are prominent in our culture. To mention some – Type II diabetes, cardio vascular disease, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, macular degeneration, lung disease and some 200 other diseases.
What the researchers all over the world are finding is that the dark chocolate is aiding our human bodies in decreasing the inflammation and these other health challenges. There have been so many studies done where the results showing up repeatedly are that eating dark chocolate is improving the quality of life for individuals.
Dark Chocolate Offsets Inflammation in the Human Body
Dark chocolate is full of nutrients and antioxidants that scientists are finding is coming to the aid of many people in offsetting the inflammation in the human body. They have found inflammation to be underlying many human diseases. Even Dr. Andrew Weil is spouting the benefits of chocolate for cardiovascular health. A little dark chocolate everyday is so good for your body studies have shown in the areas of circulation, cholesterol, cardiovascular mortality, even periodontal pockets are responding favorably. It even effects how the body stores fat thus people are loosing weight.
A study on postmenopausal women found that those eating chocolate were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease over a 16-year period. It can also assist the digestion process with good bacteria in the gut and leave you with higher beneficial protein albumin. This is from a study done by Roberta Lee, MD in New York.
The Puna Indians’ Experience with Dark Chocolate
The Puna Indians off the Panama coast have an interesting story. When they are in their home land they normally drink their chocolate drink 4 times a day. When they leave and adopt another eating style plus no chocolate drink their cardiovascular system worsens greatly. Upon their return home again resuming their chocolate beverage 4 times a day all of their cardiovascular symptoms vanish.
The ORAC Scale
What we have called aging and disease is our bodies being at the effect of free radicals from the sun and foods we eat and even functions of the body. This translates to trillions of free radicals bombarding our cells every nano second of every day. Eventually this effects our cells’ DNA and the way it reproduces itself. Any antioxidants we eat help our bodies have fewer hits to the DNA. It has long been thought that to eat foods rich in plant nutrients in their natural state is the best. These are foods that are darker in color like: dark blue, red, or black grapes, dark leafy vegetables, and dark chocolate. You can ask yourself if you would rather eat 1⁄2 lb of spinach or chocolate. There is much more ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value in the dark chocolate.
Eating foods higher on this ORAC scale would be more advantageous to your body as they have a greater capacity with free radicals, assisting your body in being more healthy and less inflamed. Many people are purchasing this chocolate, feeling better and finding they don’t need so many drugs. Also it’s less out of pocket for them and they are happy about that as well.
You could do a four-week experiment if you were up for it. You could pick a buddy and support each other. Eating a little dark chocolate every day is good for your body. Yes a little every day. Enjoy!