Dark Chocolate. Seriously!

“There is more to life than chocolate, but not right now.” ~ Anonymous

Today is the six-month anniversary of Awakening to Awareness. In honor of this milestone and because I’ve been wanting to share this for some time, I’m posting about the value and benefits of consuming dark chocolate. It has nothing to do with an addiction I acknowledge. πŸ™‚Β Keep in mind that the following is specific to dark chocolate, which is really the only authentic chocolate.

Chocolate gets a bad rap when, in fact, it is a plentiful source of antioxidants. These are the substances that reduce the ongoing cellular and arterial damage caused by oxidative reactions. We who are cardiac aware have studied and can vouch for this.

You may have heard of a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are protective chemicals found in plant foods such as red wine and green tea. Chocolate, as it turns out, is particularly rich in polyphenols. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the same antioxidant properties found in red wine that protect against heart disease are also found in comparable quantities of chocolate.

How does chocolate help to prevent heart disease? The oxidation of LDL cholesterol is considered a major factor in the promotion of heart disease. When this waxy substance oxidizes, it tends to stick to artery walls, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. But polyphenols in chocolate inhibit this oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

But wait, there’s more. One of the causes of atherosclerosis is blood platelets clumping together, a process called aggregation. Polyphenols in chocolate inhibit this clumping, reducing the risks of atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. It is also one of the most common causes of kidney failure and a significant contributor to many kinds of dementia and cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate daily can reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.

So how much chocolate would you have to eat to obtain benefit? Less than you might think. According to a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding only half an ounce of dark chocolate to an average American diet is enough to increase total antioxidant capacity four percent (4%), and lessen oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Chocolate also contains other substances with mood elevating effects. One is phenethylamine, which triggers the release of pleasurable endorphins and potentates the action of dopamine, a neurochemical associated with sexual arousal and pleasure. Phenethylamine is released in the brain when people become infatuated or fall in love.

And if that weren’t enough, chocolate also boosts the brain levels of serotonin. A whole class of anti-depressive medications called serotonin uptake inhibitors (including Prozac, Paxil, and Zooloft) have been developed that raise brain levels of serotonin.

On this six-month anniversary of creating awareness for you, need I say any more? πŸ™‚

45 thoughts on “Dark Chocolate. Seriously!

  1. Happy Anniversary Eric. I’m a huge dark chocolate fan, I eat it as often as I can and cook with it too, in chilli and also use it with beetroot in cakes and brownies. Even my little ones love eating it πŸ™‚ There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing that something you like is good for you too.

    • Thank you for reading and kindly commenting. As for tips, I can only share what has grounded me with this blog. Be original and authentic in who you are and what you choose to share with others. Create time to read other blogs and comment on posts. Keep in mind this is a community in which we support and appreciate one another. And enjoy what you are writing about because if you don’t, why are you? πŸ™‚ Best of luck with your blogging endeavors.

  2. Congratulations Eric on the 6 month anniversary! You’re doing a terrific job, I love to read your posts and I admire the amount of work you put in your writing! It seems that your positive attitude and calmness is flowing through your blog πŸ™‚
    + dark chocolate is really great πŸ™‚ it’s a good anniversary topic!

    • Wow, that’s both flattering and kind, D. Thank you! It’s truly encouraging to learn that positive and calming energy come through with the posts. Now if I could just figure out how to enable a “scratch ‘n sniff” feature with some of my posts…

  3. Happy 6 month anniversary! Congrats on the amazing site you have put together of this time. It is now part of my daily routine, and I really value it (and all you ever have to share) an awful lot. Thanks for all you do, Eric! πŸ™‚

    • Oh my…I’m part of someone’s daily routine. Is that like exercise or a vitamin supplement? πŸ™‚ Kidding aside, EJ, I so appreciate your kind and constant feedback. To have a reader say they value what I choose to share, is an honor. Thanks, mate!

    • Surely you are aware of the mutually beneficial affects of dark chocolate and red wine. Truth: I once had a party where guests were instructed (not invited) to bring one or the other. Most brought both. It was a heavenly event! Thanks for the anniversary wishes. πŸ™‚

    • So I’m thinking that you and Chris (my Dutch friend above) ought to begin augmenting my posts with imports from your fine countries. We could start a whole new practice in our blogging community. Thanks for stopping by and sharing friendly greetings!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s