What they say about dark chocolate

Here’s what studies have shown high flavanoid dark chocolate (cocoa or cacao) can do for some people:

  • May help balance good and bad cholesterol.
  • March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that blood sugar metabolism was significantly improved, as evidenced by reduced insulin resistance and higher insulin sensitivity and also showed that the participants’ systolic blood pressure was significantly lower after 15 days of eating dark chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure according to the study by the University of Cologne, Germany in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The participants showed higher levels of epicatechins, a particularly healthy compound found in dark chocolate.
  • At the February American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. Two dark chocolate studies were presented. One study found that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (NO), a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure.The other study showed that flavonols (plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties) in cocoa prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries, and make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause clots. So far, scientists have found more than 4,000 kinds. Cocoa beans contain large quantities of flavonoids. Cold processed healthy dark chocolate is very high in flavonoids. The way that most chocolate, cocoa powder and chocolate syrups are manufactured removes most flavonoids.
  • Cocoa with more flavonols showed more nitric oxide activity. “Nitric oxide plays such an important role in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure and, in turn, cardiovascular health,” says researcher Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg, physician and professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
  • Eating dark chocolate may help lower blood pressure, boost normal responses to insulin to keep blood sugar levels down, and improve blood vessel function in patients with high blood pressure, according to new research findings. All of these effects would be expected to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. The report in the medical journal Hypertension is just the most recent to link dark chocolate with beneficial health effects. In an earlier study, consumption of the bittersweet chocolate reduced blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects.
  • Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, says the superfood cacao balances blood pressure but also protects your liver, brain, and heart, stabilizes your mood, and helps detoxify your blood. Adams said to look for raw, unprocessed cacao and avoid eating processed chocolate products that have refined sugar and milk fat.

What should you look for in a dark chocolate?

The best dark chocolate should have at least 70% Cacao, it should have a high ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity – the score that the USDA uses to measure antioxidant content) and that score should be tested by an independent lab, it should be cold-processed which keeps the natural nutrients intact.

Traditionally that’s been hard to find, but now there is a company that has this kind of chocolate available. It is not on store shelves and can only be sold person to person.

“If you have high blood pressure, a daily bar-sized serving of flavonol-rich dark chocolate might lower your blood pressure and improve insulin resistance researchers report ”
Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

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Mary Ramos March 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

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