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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Antioxidants and Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

How can something so good for you taste so good? It's not always true that good tasting foods are always bad for you; dark chocolate, red wine, fruit and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods and the most delicious, loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols especially the dark colored fruit and vegetables (red, Purple, green) these are the most antioxidant rich vegetables.

The Difference Between Antioxidants and Polyphenols
Antioxidant foods don't slow the aging process like the polyphenols in resveratrol but they protect the cells from free radicals, like when you put lemon juice on a cut apple, to slow the browning effect.

How Do We Get Free Radicals in Our Blood
Free radicals are a natural by-product of life, even breathing causes free radicals to form but as we cannot stop breathing or normal activities we can increase or antioxidant levels by eating antioxidants and dark chocolate rich foods. But as we get older the natural antioxidants our body makes to fight them off begin to decline, experts say. One of the benefits of resveratrol supplements is as we age they help to reverse the process of aging on a cellular level.

Why Cocoa Beans are so Rich in Antioxidants
The kinds of antioxidants found in dark chocolate and red wine are called polyphenols, a large class of molecules found in fruits and vegetables like oranges,green tea, soybeans and berries. The reason this type of chocolate and cocoa rank so high is that the antioxidants are very concentrated. More than 10% of the weight of cocoa beans is polyphenols.

Chocolate and cocoa are particularly high in a sub-class of those compounds called flavanols, which are also found in red grapes especially Muscadine grapes and tea, hence the well-known benefits of red wine and green tea

What Happens After Eating Chocolate
Research shows that as soon as 30 minutes after eating one 40 gram serving of this chocolate blood levels of the two main antioxidants in chocolate, epicatechin and catechin, are increased. They peak about two hours after consumption. That's why this chocolate is healthy for us.

What Makes the Plants Produce Antioxidants
Scientists theorize that plants naturally produce antioxidants to help them from sunlight, bacteria, fugus and other harsh elements. These same compounds in the plants molecules can aid us when we eat them. The same holds true with antioxidants and dark chocolate when we eat these delicious foods we get the same benefits that the plants were trying to acquire.

Is This Type of Chocolate High in Caffeine
Despite public perception, milk chocolate contains relatively small amounts of caffeine about the same as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. However, chocolate also contains theobromine, a relative of caffeine. Theobromine is much less powerful than caffeine.

Source: Allen Partch

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