Health giving chocolate

Did you know that a couple of
squares of good-quality dark chocolate contain nearly four times the
antioxidants of a plum or a handful of Brussels sprouts.

Here is the latest research on the
health benefits of chocolate with 70 per cent cocoa solids or higher.

For your heart

Research undertaken at the
University of Aberdeen shows that flavanols, a form of antioxidant present in
chocolate with a high cocoa mass, help prevent the activation of platelets in
the blood, which contribute to heart disease.

Another study conducted in
Dusseldorf and at the University of California at Davis suggests consumption of
flavanols can even reverse some of the artery damage caused by smoking.

And last year Professor Carl Keen,
of the University of California, reported that eating small amounts of
chocolate could have as powerful an anti-clotting effect on the blood as taking
aspirin.

For your brain

Chocolate is one of the richest
sources of magnesium, a mineral essential for brain health, according to the
Journal Of Medicinal Food.

Research at Cornell University in
New York also found it contains an antioxidant called epicatechin that may
protect against the amyloid plaques which cause Alzheimer’s and other brain
diseases.

Research at the Wheeling Jesuit
University in West Virginia suggests chocolate can also boost memory, attention
span, reaction time and problem solving skills by increasing blood flow to the
brain.

For your immune system

A Japanese study published in the
British Journal Of Cancer last year states that phenolics, naturally occurring
antioxidants found in chocolate, boost the immune system, and another 2009
report by the Cancer Research Society of Hawaii notes that a further
distinctive ingredient, procyanidins, was credited with the same effect in
animal studies.

For stress control

Eating 40 grams of dark chocolate
every day for two weeks reduces stress hormones in those with moderate to high
anxiety, according to a study published in the American Chemical Society’s
Journal Of Proteome Research. .

And for longevity…

A study of nearly 8,000 Harvard
graduates conducted over 18 years revealed that those who ate chocolate lived
almost a year longer than those who did not. The bad news is they were all men
– certain benefits of chocolate are believed to be more effective on males than
females, for reasons no scientist has yet figured out.