Healthy Chocolate

Written by Robert Mac
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Healthy chocolate claims have been made for years, and now there is a body of evidence suggesting that they have legitimacy. While most people associate chocolates with candies, cookies, and other causes of obesity, there are a number of components in chocolate--but not the others--that are good for you. Just like any other dietary breakthrough, it will take a number of years before the validity of these studies is widely accepted.

It's one thing to say that chocolate is not bad for you and another to say that it's healthy. Chocolate, or more precisely, cocoa, is a complex substance, made up of more than 800 different molecules, including iron, vitamin B6, and caffeine. It is also full of antioxidants, called flavonoids that reduce the effects of free radicals; in this sense, it may be accurate to call chocolate healthy.

An Argument for Healthy Chocolate

Free radicals are unstable molecules--they are unbalanced because they have lost an electron--and can cause great damage through oxidation. This is a chain reaction process, like the rusting of metal, that can slowly affect a large body of molecules. In a human body, oxidation is blamed for premature aging, wrinkly skin, and a host of other degenerative conditions. Antioxidants are thought to reduce the effect of free radicals.

Foods high in flavonoids, such as red wine and green tea, are thought to be healthy. Chocolate is another excellent source of these free radical fighters. Also, just like aspirin, the flavonoids in chocolate help thin blood, too. Chocolate may not be a health food, but it's definitely healthy.


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