Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chocolate is Good for Your Heart

Yes, you read the title correctly!  The good news is studies show that dark succulent treat we eat to satisfy a craving, or for emotional comfort is actually healthy for us.

This is good news for us and for my character Madison Knight*.  She loves her Hershey bars.

What exactly is chocolate--besides what many term a 'guilty pleasure'?
It’s probably not a question you’ve given tremendous thought to.  At least I know I never did before, but chocolate is derived from plants and actually contains many of the health benefits that come with dark vegetables.

What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?
- it contains antioxidants which protects the body from aging and protects the heart from disease
- lowers blood pressure
- lowers cholesterol

Chocolate also has the ability to provide a feeling of pleasure, act as an anti-depressant, and stimulate you as caffeine does.

And, another bonus with chocolate?  It’s low in fat.

Why should you choose dark over milk chocolate?
1) Dark is better for weight loss.
2) Dark causes less aging.
3) Dark contains more cocoa polyphenols which is what improves cardiovascular health.
4) The cocoa polyphenols in dark chocolate are more bioavailable.  (Bioavailability is how much we absorb into our systems.)
5) Dark is more filling.

Why do people crave chocolate?
1) Because of our stomachs.  Studies have shown that true chocolate lovers have a different type of bacteria in their stomachs
2) Our brains.  Chocolate provides a type of high, increasing levels of dopamine which causes us to experience pleasure.  (To give you an idea of how powerful dopamine can be this is the system drugs like cocaine and amphetamines work on.)
3) Chocolate cravings may be influenced by a deficiency in magnesium

So the next time you have a craving for chocolate, go ahead and satisfy it--without guilt!
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You can meet Madison Knight in the series of her name.  For available titles, please refer to my author website here.

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