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All you need is love. Schulz Schultz, the beloved cartoonist and creator of the famous Peanuts comic, was ahead of his time. Much to the delight of chocolate lovers everywhere, more and more evidence shows that the decadent treat provides impressive health benefits.
Last November, anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery of cacao residue on pottery excavated in Honduras that could date back as far as B. It appears that the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit, which surrounds the beans, was fermented into an alcoholic beverage of the time.
For several centuries in pre-Latin America, cacao beans were so valuable that they were used as currency. On its own, cacao is bitter and chalky, but the Europeans, upon visiting the Americas, changed that: Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate, having tragically mistaken him for a reincarnated deity instead of a conquering invader.
By the 17th century, drinking chocolate was popular among the wealthy in Europe.
It was believed to have nutritive and medicinal properties. It turns out, those beliefs were correct. Here are ten reasons to eat chocolate: This is significant because when platelets clump, a clot can form, and when the clot blocks a blood vessel, it can lead to a heart attack. They concluded that short-term studies suggest cocoa and chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by: Lowering blood pressure Anti-inflammation action 3 Dark chocolate may reduce risk of diabetes.
Researchers in Italy recently fed 15 healthy people either 3 ounces of dark chocolate or the same amount of white chocolate — which contains no flavanol phytochemicals — for 15 days. Systolic blood pressure the first number in a blood pressure readingmeasured daily, was also lower in the group eating dark chocolate.
Antioxidants can help prevent cell damage and have been linked to prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants.
These include polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. The flavonols in chocolate can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density and hydration. And, a recent study yielded some promising results: In a small study in the journal Nature Neuroscience, healthy people, ages 50 to 69, who drank a mixture high in antioxidants called cocoa flavanols for three months performed better on a memory test than people who drank a low-flavanol mixture.
They performed about 25 percent better than the low-flavanol group. A study found that people who rated themselves as highly stressed had lower levels of stress hormones after eating chocolate every day for two weeks: Chocolate contains tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, which can prevent or improve depression.
Research also shows chocolate can increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.
Most of the popular, mainstream brands of chocolate bars offer little benefit — if at all. Sugar should NOT be the first ingredient listed.
The extent to which the flavanols are lost is related to how heavily the cocoa or chocolate is Dutched. Choose a natural cocoa for maximum antioxidants. As with most things, moderation is key.
But, enjoying a bit of good quality chocolate a few times a week seems to offer benefits — in addition to tasting great.Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for attheheels.com You can learn more about Laura by checking out her blog or visiting her on Facebook.
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There’s a definite “high” associated with first going vegan especially raw vegan. New converts are bright-eyed, relentlessly energetic, and brimming over with messianic zeal to convert all their friends to the diet that has brought them such joy.
Well, me, at one time. When the truth is laid bare in front of you, all you can do is turn a blind eye and try to forget about it before your next meal; and of course hate the vegan who keeps shoving this truth in .