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5 Things: About Chocolate

I heart chocolate. I really, really do. Here are a few facts to ponder when eating chocolate.

  1. Chocolate contains flavanoids, the antioxidant family that also contains the health-protective compounds resveratrol, found in grape juice, and EGCG, found in green tea. When we consume chocolate and cocoa the antioxidants in our bloodstream rise, which is a good thing.
  2. Dutch processed cocoa, while richer in taste, contains much fewer antioxidants than natural cocoa. Dutch processed cocoa is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Unfortunately, the most readily available is cocoa processed this way.
  3. Dark chocolate is less sweet than other types of chocolate because as cocoa content goes up, sugar content drops. Dark chocolate is either bittersweet or semi sweet and contains 50-85% cocoa. Milk chocolate contains 50% cocoa.
  4. Two to four small pieces of dark chocolate are shown in studies to increase antioxidant status for several hours, but they contain about 165 to 220 calories. Fruits and veggies with the same health benefits are generally only 25 to 80 calories.
  5. According to studies performed by the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the U.S. Naval Academy eating chocolate does not cause acne. Stress however does cause acne and I know I often reach for chocolate when stressed, so it looks like the chocolate is not to blame.

Fit's Tip: I think chocolate shouldn't be viewed as a replacement for fruits and vegetables since they are also high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. I think of chocolate as a necessary indulgence an indulgence with health benefits. That is why, when I eat it I really meditate on the pleasure it brings me.

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