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Chocolate: The Health Food

Ever wonder why chocolate doesn't spoil? Why you can leave a chocolate bar unrefrigerated for months without compromising its freshness or taste?
The answer is that chocolate contains potent doses of the polyphenol antioxidants also found in green tea. These polyphenols not only protect chocolates from oxidation, they also protect you against cancer

Health and Happiness - does chocolate have it all wrapped up?

"Chocolate of good quality…calms the fever, nourishes…the patient and tends to restore him to health".
(Francis Joseph Victor Broussais, celebrated French physician, 1772—1836).


Although a foamy, bitter drink called "chocolatl" was introduced into Europe in 1528, it was not until 1876 that milk, chocolate powder and cocoa butter were combined to form solid milk chocolate as we know it today. Since then, production and consumption have graduated to a global scale and chocolate and chocolate favors have become almost universally accepted to the point where many consumers describe feelings of intense craving for chocolate. Despite its widespread popularity, few studies have explored the chemical composition and bioactive constituents of chocolate in relation to chocolate cravings and medicinal properties, and it is these attributes which are examined in this short article.


Chocolate's health benefits
In 1519 Spanish Conquistadore Hernando Cortes led an expedition into the depths of Mexico to capture gold and silver treasures from the Aztec people. The Emperor Montezuma, along with his subjects, welcomed these strange looking visitors as ‘white Gods, risen from the sea.’ The Spaniards were feasted and served a cold, bitter drink that was very popular among the Aztecs. The drink was called cacahuati.


There have been many studies linking cocoa with health benefits.
The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will of course be the most beneficial. The following
are a list of a few health benefits we found:

Heart - Phytochemicals called flavonoids that are found in cocoa have two positive effects. One, the antioxidants block arterial damage caused by free radicals. These unstable molecules (free radicals) may damage the arterial walls by blocking the artery wall lining. The second indicates, that chocolate inhibit platelet aggregation which could cause a heart attack or stroke. There have also been studies indicating that cocoa flavonoids relax the blood vessels which inhibit an enzyme that causes inflammation.


Chocolate - Health Benefits
"My momma always said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never quite know what you're gonna get."
(Forrest Gump)

Forrest Gump is right - half the fun of digging into a box of chocolates is trying to pick your favorite flavor. But chocolate itself has certain qualities that never change. The product of the cacao tree has been winning fans since Aztec leader Montezuma introduced the beverage (chocolate candy as we know it didn't appear until the 1800's) to the Spanish conqueror Cortez, who subsequently took it home to Spain. (While the original drink was rather bitter, the Spanish made a few creative innovations - using sugar instead of chilies, and adding cinnamon and vanilla).
www.chinesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa013100a.htm


Is chocolate healthier than green tea?
"Chocolate contains up to four times the anti-oxidants found in tea." Sound too good to be true? In fact, that was the conclusion of a recent study by Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment. Researchers found that chocolate - specifically dark chocolate - contains 53.5 mg of catechins per 100 grams. (Catechins are the powerful anti-oxidants that help prevent against cancer and heart disease). By contrast, 100 ml of black tea contains a mere 13.9 mg of catechins.

Eating chocolate to stay healthy? Well, why not? Scientists have established that there are important health benefits to be gained from drinking red wine, so why not chocolate as well? But I wouldn't trade my morning cup of tea for a box of truffles just yet. For one thing, as Karen Allen points out in a report for the BBC, the amount of cocoa powder in chocolates may be quite small. Chocolates often contain other ingredients, such as saturated fats, that more than outweigh the health benefits to be gained from cocoa's cancer-fighting chemicals.

More importantly, the Dutch researchers were not comparing chocolate to green tea, which is rich in catechins. Furthermore, evidence is mounting that scientists have only begun to discover the numerous health benefits associated with drinking green tea. Still, a cup of green tea with a chocolate biscuit or a piece of dark chocolate sounds like a great way to begin the day!


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Chocolate
There are few foods that people feel as passionate about -- a passion that goes beyond a love for the "sweetness" of most candies or desserts: after all, few people crave caramel, whipped cream, or bubble gum. Chocolate is, well, different. For the true chocoholic, just thinking about chocolate can evoke a pleasurable response. You may want to grab a bar or make a nice cup of hot cocoa before you begin exploring here.


Chocolate may be better for your health than tea
because it contains more of a chemical that could prevent cancer and heart disease, researchers have said.

The BBC's Karen Allen reports: "Having chocolate with a cup of tea does you good"
The findings follow earlier research revealing that moderate chocolate consumption offers health benefits.The new research measures the amount of catechins - the chemical thought to be behind the benefits - in different types of chocolate. The substance is also found in tea - leading the researchers to recommend a cup of tea with a chocolate biscuit as one way to help maintain good health.

The researchers, from Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment, published their findings in The Lancet medical journal.
rel="nofollow" news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_413000/413099.stm


Chocolate studies suggest health benefits
A Doctor In Your House.com

Here's some news that you can chew.
Chocolatey chocolate is good for you.

A trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory - not to mention that candy bar you've been craving - may soon be viewed in a whole new health-smart light.

In what just might be the most tasty nutritional news that science has produced in a long time, teams of researchers from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) have found that chocolate contains compounds that may promote heart health.


Chocolate Research
If you're a certified chocoholic, this is the news you've been waiting for: that there may actually be some health benefits to chocolates. Here's the science behind the news.

AHHH THE SWEET, SEDUCTIVE TASTE OF CHOCOLATE. IT'S SUCH A LUXURIOUS AND INDULGENT FOOD. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO OUR HEALTH, CHOCOLATE GETS A BAD RAP FOR BEING A FATTENING AND NUTRITIONLESS TREAT.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that chocolate has a long and flavorful history. The Olmec Indians, the Mayas, and the Aztecs all enjoyed the delicious cocoa bean long before it made its way to Europe. In the mid-16th century, chocolate made its first appearance in Europe, then came to America over 200 years later in 1765, when the first chocolate factory opened in New England. In 1911, Frank Mars began selling chocolate in Tacoma, WA., leading to the tasty Mars, Incorporated brands you now love.
www.cocoapro.com



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