Cocoa Reduces Stroke Risk

Ready for some incredibly delicious good news? Researchers at the University of Toronto have completed a studycacao_beans_cocoa_cocoa_bean which they believe suggests that dark chocolate may significantly reduce the risk of both stroke and death by stroke .

Nutritionists have long been singing chocolate’s praises as an antioxidant rich food, and it has even been observed that it has many beneficial effects on the circulatory system.  Other studies have indicated anticancer and brain stimulating properties, as well.  Now don’t get too excited – this isn’t a free pass to eat as much chocolate as you can possibly manage.  As with any high-energy food, inordinate intake increases the risk of obesity and care should be taken to partake of high quality, preferably pure and organic sources of chocolate low in non-natural ingredients and high in raw cocoa (where all the healthy compounds come from).  Fortuitously, all it takes is a modest amount of dark chocolate, consumed weekly , to provide your body with all of the stroke preventing benefits.

Luckily, most food stores and websites furnish high cocoa ( 70-85% content ) bars. You should avoid milk chocolate and high-sugar chocolate bars as their antioxidant levels will be too low and the high sugar content will offset any benefits provided by  the potent antioxidants. High-antioxidant cocoa products are even becoming available in supplement form in order to provide a concentrated dose of these beneficial compounds . If you prefer, you can also purchase concentrated cocoa in powder form and add it to milk or a protein shake for a quick and easy intake of antioxidants, remember to be aware of the sugar content.

There are two main issues with chocolate. First is the impact on weight. Many weight loss blogs and weight loss podcasts suggest that all chocolate is bad, however,  I have found that there is no evidence to support this suggestion. In fact, the dark, high-cocoa chocolate can be eaten in small quantities to take care of that nagging sweet-tooth. Second is the belief that chocolate can be detrimental to the bones. Although consuming the “fake chocolate” products that are high in sugar and low in antioxidants  could  increase the risk of bone loss, the small quantities of “real”, high-cocoa chocolate are completely safe for people with bone loss. Who knows, the antioxidants in cocoa may actually prove to be a component of a natural program for osteoporosis.

 

 

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