The benefits of dark chocolate are becoming more and more evident...
[Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, a medical professional. None of the information presented below is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, medical advice.]
Dark chocolate has recently been recognized for its substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals.
Antioxidants are substances that subdue harmful free radical
damage in our bodies, reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and
the effects of aging.
(There has even been a fad diet, named "Chocolate Diet", that emphasizes eating chocolate and cocoa powder in capsules.)
In a ranking by the US Dept. of Agriculture of the top antioxidant foods, dark chocolate came in first.
Milk chocolate was second; prunes were third. (Go, chocolate!)
Drinking fat-containing milk with dark chocolate appears to largely negate the dark chocolate antioxidant benefit.
Compared to "raw" cocoa powder, cocoa powder processed with alkali ("Dutch cocoa") destroys most of the flavonoids, thus, greatly reducing the antioxidant potency.
Cocoa or dark chocolate may aid the circulatory system.
Scientists claim that chocolate, when consumed in moderate amounts, can lower blood pressure.
Cocoa possesses a significant antioxidant action, protecting against LDL oxidation.
This is mainly caused by a particular substance present in cocoa called epicatechin.
Some studies have observed a modest reduction in blood pressure and flow-mediated dilation after consuming dark chocolate daily.
Dark chocolate may lower the possibility of a heart attack.
One-third of the fat in chocolate comes in the form of a saturated fat called stearic acid and a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.
Unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Consuming relatively large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa does not seem to raise serum LDL cholesterol levels.
Some studies find that it could actually lower them.
[Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, a medical professional. None of the preceding information on the health benefits of dark chocolate is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, medical advice.]