Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dark chocolate & unsweetened cocoa protect your heart....

Today's Post: Thursday, 11-11-2010

Last Monday, a story about this came out. The one I saw was from Reuters:

“Chocolate eaters may have healthier hearts: study
By Alison McCook Mon Nov 8, 2010 NEW YORK (Reuters Health).”

In a study of older women they found that eating chocolate regularly even if it was only once a week, helped the women who did this be 35% less likely to be put into the hospital or die from heart attacks and similar kinds of heart disease.

But the second finding was BETTER! They were 60% less likely to be put into the hospital or die from heart failure.

Separate studies of both men and women have found that eating dark chocolate or drinking unsweetened cocoa increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure if it was high. And, it has found that if a chocolate eater has a heart attack they are only HALF as likely to die as someone who never eats or drinks it.

For the protection from heart attacks, heart failure, and death from them, even one quarter of a dark chocolate candy bar a week or one double strength cup of coca made with unsweetened cocoa and with NO milk is enough to be quite protective according to these studies.

It has been found that having dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa with milk or eating milk chocolate virtually wipes out these protective effects.

So, as good as it is on taste, milk chocolate is nowhere near the protector that dark chocolate is.

Similarly, I saw information that adding sugar to your cocoa reduces these effects.

For increasing blood flow if you have peripheral artery disease (PAD), circulation caused ED, or angina – or if you want to use chocolate as a way to lower high blood pressure a bit that does not require taking drugs, everyday use or every other day use may work better for dark chocolate. And, a quarter of a small bar of dark chocolate or an eighth of a larger one is likely enough. Because of the sugar, more will likely make you fat and is not necessary for the health effects apparently.

But with unsweetened cocoa, you can drink at least five or six cups a day if you want without boosting your blood sugar or overdoing calories.

Here is a personal experience I had and what I do now as a result.

After discovering that dark chocolate was good for you, at Halloween one year, we got a large supply of miniature sized Hershey’s dark chocolate candy bars at my workplace that were available free.

So, for the next few weeks – about a month – I ate two to four a day on every weekday.

That month, I gained six pounds!


Conversely, I still eat dark chocolate but just lost 17 pounds in less than six months.

Here’s what I do now. I buy one small Hershey’s Special Dark candy bar a week & have a quarter of the bar -- a quarter bar at a time -- during the workweek. (I was eating two bars a week instead of one; but wanted to lose a bit more fat & switched to just one.)

And, on both Saturday and Sunday morning I have one double strength serving of unsweetened cocoa.

According to this research, I’m doing my heart and blood vessels a LOT of good by doing this. And, by doing it this way, it has NOT slowed my fat loss.

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