April 16, 2012

Health Benefits of Chocolate

(Ivanhoe Newswire)-- Next time you have a craving for the sweet stuff don't think twice, chocolate's amazing benefits will give you even more of a reason to indulge.

"Chocolate is one of the foods with the greatest appeal to the general population," Sunil Kochhar, Ph.D., was quoted as saying.

"The luscious aroma, taste and textures of chocolate have delighted the senses of people in many parts of the world for centuries and make it a well-known comfort food."

Kochhar, who is with the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, is noted for landmark research that is helping to establish chocolate's potential health benefits. The study, which included 30 healthy adults, found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate per day reduced levels of stress hormones and other indicators of emotional anxiety in people who felt stressed-out.

"The flavonoids and other ingredients in chocolate with beneficial health effects originate in cocoa," Kochhar was quoted as saying.

"In making chocolate, cocoa seeds undergo natural fermentation before being processed into key ingredients for making chocolate -- namely cocoa fat and cocoa powder."

Scientists reported how chocolate may be useful in treating diseases involving disorders of the trigeminal nerve, including migraines and joint disorders as well aiding in the effects of cardiovascular problems with individuals who have type 2 diabetes. Flavonoids in the chocolate strengthen mitochondria, the powerhouse of body cells, which are in a weakened condition in patients with cardiovascular problems.

It was also pointed out that flavonoids in chocolate lower blood pressure and thus potentially help in reducing heart disease risks.

Cigarette smokers may also benefit from chocolate thanks to the polyphenols found in dark chocolate which act on blood platelets to prevent clotting.

SOURCE: Journal of Proteome Research, March 28, 2012