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Why Is Chocolate GOOD For You?

By James Barber M.D.
Cosmetic Surgery Expert
Updated: September 10, 2008
Just as you have resided to the fact that there is nothing you can eat or drink these days that won't lead to cancer or heart disease, a ray of light comes through the dark. Dark chocolate that is. Recent news has shown some encouraging results about different components of the treat that may be good for us.

A German study reported by Dr. Frank Messerli, a hypertension expert at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, suggests that eating dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure. Dr. Messerli states that if the results can continue to be confirmed then "you can sin with perhaps a little less bad feeling". The study consisted of thirteen adults with mild hypertension, each of whom ate a three ounce chocolate bar every day for two weeks. Half of the participants took white chocolate, while the rest used dark chocolate. In the two weeks, the dark chocolate group showed a drop in diastolic (the lower number) and systolic (the top number) blood pressure by two and five points, respectively. The white chocolate group saw no results at all.
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What makes the darker variety a better bang for your caloric buck? One reason may be linked to past research from the United Kingdom and Australia, where theophylline and a group of caffeine-like components in dark chocolate and coffee have helped block the mechanisms in our bodies that cause disease-triggering inflammation. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, the same substance to which scientists attribute the benefits of red wine. The University of Cologne's Dr. Dirk Taubert, who was the lead author of the German study discussed earlier, feels that this study shows promise to lowering systolic blood pressure. He believes that the isolation of polyphenols may be a help to regulating blood pressure receptors, and could be a new medication in the near future.

It is important to realize that chocolate, like any other good thing, is best when enjoyed in moderation. A few Hershey Kisses may be good, but making out with a whole stack of Snickers will still lead to obesity and all that comes with it.

Forever Facts:

• Scientists are working on the first medication designed to help those allergic to peanuts. The drug suppresses the nasty response the body has when it comes into accidental contact with peanuts.

• Less stressful people may heal faster. An Ohio State University study measured the healing period of blisters created on their married volunteers with a tiny vacuum. People with lower instances of cortisol, a stress hormone, healed more quickly than overstressed individuals with high cortisol levels. It is worth noting that all of the people with low cortisol levels also reported to be the happiest in their marriages.

• Many people having been reaching past the diet soda cans on the shelves these days. They elect to take there chances with high-calorie, sugary drinks rather than the reportedly toxic sweetener Aspartame. New reports from Europe's Scientific Committee on Food calm these fears by stating that in their ten years of studying the sugar-substitute they have found no links to cancer or any other side effects.

Words of Wisdom:

"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it." -W. Somerset Maugham

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