How Much Fat Should A 11 Year-Old Eat Per Day Does Chocolate Prevent Heart Attacks?

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Does Chocolate Prevent Heart Attacks?

Will a bar of chocolate a day ward off heart attacks?

The candy industry continues to try to convince us that chocolate is a healthy food by sponsoring and publicizing studies. One of the last, in the medical journal hypertension (July, 2005), shows that eating dark chocolate reduces high blood pressure. Jeffrey B. Blumberg, professor of nutrition at Tufts University, gave 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 15 days to 20 people with high blood pressure. Their systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 11 mm.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis reviewed a number of recent studies on chocolate and its health benefits (The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 2003.) They found that flavan-3-ols, the main flavonoids found in cocoa, are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The article goes on to say that cocoa contains the same nutrients found in other plant foods, including specific minerals and antioxidants that help prevent diseases such as heart disease. In addition, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil, makes up one-third of the fat in chocolate and has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

Europeans living in the 17th century also believed in the healing powers of chocolate. They said it “comforted the liver, aided digestion, and made one happy and strong.” Chocolate was used to stimulate the kidneys and treat anemia, tuberculosis, fever and gout; and was reported to strengthen the heart and relieve heart pain.

Cacao beans are loaded with flavonoids, the antioxidants found in all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds, and the antioxidants lower blood pressure. However, dark chocolate by itself is bitter, so candy makers add a lot of sugar and fat to make it taste good. Sugar raises blood sugar to damage cells in diabetics, and one-third of Americans are or will become diabetic. Fat is a dense source of calories that makes fat people fat. Thus the old adage: “If it tastes good, it must be bad.” is still valid for most of us. Chocolate tastes good because of the added sugar and fat.

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