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JAN

Dark: The Darling of Chocolate

Filed Under: Health Foods at 4:13 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Dark ChocolateResearchers allege that it’s the least favorite, but the sweet taste of dark chocolate calls to millions of consumers every day. It’s so popular, in fact, that Web pages have been devoted to the art of tasting it, paralleling the candy to a tannic red wine.  It is a dark, seemingly decadent indulgence that satisfies the most desperate of cravings, turning a day around with one, simple bite. And with that bite (should you choose wisely), you not only get an instant rush of pleasure but a rush of health, as well.

Dark chocolate has long been revered for its ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It has, after all, an abundance of flavonoids – an amount that can be matched by neither red wine nor tea.  And now, doctors are claiming that the delectable treat also improves coronary blood flow. When 39 healthy adults were told to eat either a 1.4 ounce bar of dark chocolate or white chocolate a day for two weeks, those who consumed dark chocolate experienced a significant improvement.  The others had no change. They had boosted their sugar/calorie intake for no reason, remaining just as likely to suffer from chronic chest pain or a heart attack. So, what does this mean for you?

It means that if you’re going to eat chocolate, eat dark. If you can’t handle dark, choose milk. White chocolate has absolutely no flavonoids (because it’s not made of cocoa) so it’s just a bar of calories (a tasty one, but still). And if you’re making a small bar a part of your regular diet, be sure to compensate by reducing calories elsewhere. Researchers hope to create an extract of dark chocolate’s primary flavonoid cacao polyphenol to detract from the weight woes, but until then (and for the sake of chocolate-lovers everywhere, I hope it’s not soon), you’ll have to get your fill of this particular nutrient from a dark piece of savory sweetness, wrapped in foil.�

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