Here is some startling and great news for chocolate lovers everywhere. It is good for us! But only under certain circumstances.
In an article in the Washington Post dated 9 February 2005, Katherine Tallmadge a spokesperson for the American Dietic Association states that cacao or cocoa beans contain Flavanols a naturally occurring plant compound also found in tea, red wine and apples. Their properties have been studied as a heart disease inhibitor. Also in the same article Carl L Keen the Chair of the Department of Nutrition at University of California states that the Flavanols in cocoa help maintain a healthy vascular system. They reduce blood clotting an aspirin like effect reduce oxidative damage and improve blood flow.
Yet is the Flavanols in the chocolate which are bitter and often extensively taken out of processed chocolate. Each level of processing that takes place when the bean is being made into chocolate the level of flavinols decreases. Yet nowadays you will find some of the top producers of chocolate products such as Nestle and Mars Inc are trying to produce items that are good for you. It should not be too long before you will see bars and candies made from chocolate with high levels of flavanols included within them. However, if you are looking for a bar that does at present state the flavanol levels contained within it you only need to look at Mars Dove Dark Chocolate which contains 150mg of flavanols in every 1.3ozs of this chocolate ( a very high level indeed), but the downside to this product is that it contains 200 calories. But we do not live in the perfect world yet.
However, Ms Tallmadge recommends that whilst waiting for more high levels of flavanol products to be made you should take unsweented cocoa powder (not the Dutch processed kind (alkalized) as this has reduced flavanols). The next item you could try instead is either semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate which has a high cocoa percentage. You may find some chocolates contain as much as 70% cocoa, but some may only have as much as 35%, and certainly with milk chocolate products you will find that the percentage will be even lower, and Ms Tallmadge suggests that these should not be eaten. In fact she states in the article that I recommend cocoa or an ounce per day of dark chocolate, which will may be about 110 to 150 calories, depending on the chocolate. Any more than that and youre probably going to take in too many calories for weight control.
Are you sure that what you just read is too true. A person of some note in the nutritional field is RECOMMENDING that we eat chocolate? Okay she may state that we should not eat too much of it, but its still chocolate.
Allison Thompson a work from home mum living in Spain who has set up this site dedicated to all things relating to chocolate, both the good and the bad. If you would like to know more then please visit http://www.chocolate.whatshewants.info
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