Eating dark chocolate just might be good for you! You may be shocked to learn that dark chocolate has more health-promoting plant flavonoids than even broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
In fact, in a recent study, dark chocolate beat out green tea, red wine and blueberries in antioxidant levels. The chemicals found dark chocolate might have positive effects on everything from blood vessels, heart and brain to exercise - endurance and longevity.
In one two-week study, scientists found that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves the ability of blood vessels to expand (dilate) in response to a greater flow of blood. The more easily vessels dilate, the better blood flows to heart, brain and other organs.
Two studies of young and elderly women found that chocolate did indeed increase blood flow to the brain, even in older women with high cholesterol. Since blood flow to the reproductive organs is one of the major problems for women over 40, this sounds like good news!
It might even help those who are still smoking and those who need to take meds due to clotting leading to miscarriage. In another study involving smokers, researchers found that eating 2 ounces of dark chocolate not only improved blood flow for eight hours, but also reduced the activity of platelets, which causes blood to clot.
Chocolate is highest in magnesium of all foods. Craving chocolate is often a sign of magnesium deficiency. Chocolate-lovers have lower blood pressure.
Plus, chocolate simply makes us feel good. It contains a number of chemicals thought to raise mood, and even inhaling the smell of chocolate seems to reduce theta-wave activity in the brain, inducing a sense of relaxation.
So to all those who tell you to "just relax", tell them to go buy you some chocolate!
Scientists have conducted a number of studies on dark chocolate in recent years in order to sort through these claims. What they have discovered will not only surprise you, but may forever change the way you think about, buy, and eat chocolate.
Chocolate can elevate your mood. As for chocolate’s mood-altering properties—carbohydrates present in the sweet can raise serotonin levels in the brain and lead to a feeling of well-being. (Note: Serotonin is important to fertility!)
Chocolate contains flavonoids and anti-oxidants. According to these studies, chocolate is chock-full of flavonoids—naturally-occurring compounds found in the cacao plant, as well as in red wine, tea, fruits and vegetables. Recent research suggests that these flavonoids may have potentially beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. They may also act as antioxidants, which are believed to prevent or delay certain damage to the body’s cells and tissues. (Note: Antioxidants are important to fertility!)
Choosing Healthy Chocolates. As some recent studies suggest, chocolate—in moderation—may be good for your health. For instance, chocolate contains antioxidants (which may help prevent cardiovascular disease) and stearic acid (which may increase levels of HDL "good" cholesterol).
Not all chocolate is healthy. A single bar of dark chocolate contains more than twice as many antioxidants as a bar of milk chocolate. Also, dark chocolate harbors fewer calories than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is much higher in saturated fats and calories simply because it contains milk. Also, it contains fewer cocoa solids per ounce (and thus fewer antioxidants). In fact, it takes four cacao seeds to make one ounce of milk chocolate and 12 seeds to make one ounce of dark chocolate. About the only health advantage milk chocolate has over dark chocolate is that is contains calcium.
Read more: Chocolate Health Facts
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TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
Green Tea in the Woman's World - Green Tea and Fertility
by Vida C. Marcele
-- Water is the number one drink in the world, but tea is the second most popular. At the rate that green tea is going, it may become the most often drunk of all the teas.
The antioxidants that green tea provides have helped increase the popularity of green tea in North America and around the world.
New studies of the medicinal benefits of green tea and a focus in American society on being healthier and fighting obesity has led to a surge in popularity of green tea.
In addition, the aging baby boomers are focusing on being healthy later in life and looking for ways to prevent common health problems like heart disease and cancer.
Today the question is: what is green tea’s role in the woman’s world? What does green tea do for fertility levels?
Should a pregnant woman drink more green tea in order to be healthier during the term of the pregnancy? What about when she is breastfeeding?
Length: 17 pages
Start reading Green Tea in the Woman's World on your Kindle in under a minute!
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More "Pregnancy Over 40" blogs to visit:
• Life Begins... - Pregnancy stories of loss, hope and help
• Pregnancy Stories by Age - Daily blog of hope and inspiration!
• You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40's - Sharing articles, discussing options and suggestions
• Stories of Pregnancy and Birth over 44 - sharing news stories I find online, for inspiration!