The Health Benefits of Chocolate

by Susie Michelle Cortright, http://www.momscape.com

Good news. Research says you can have your cake and eat it, too. As long as that cake is chocolate.

For centuries, chocolate has been used to treat diseases and maladies such as depression. Civilizations from Mexico to Europe have hailed chocolate as an aphrodisiac. The U.S. government officially recognized its virtues in World War II, making the chocolate candy bar standard issue for the military.

Chocolateís scientific name, theobroma cacao, is literally translated as "food of the gods," and we chocolate cravers donít need any studies to tell us the power of chocolate in mood alteration. Its feel good chemicals have long been associated with feelings of love, safety, and comfort. Maybe thatís why Americans eat an average of 12 pounds of chocolate per year.

Chocolate contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as well as potassium, sodium, iron, and fluorine. Now, researchers say those creamy chocolate confections may actually help us live longer, too.

Harvard researchers tracked nearly 8,000 males, with an average age of 65. Those men who enjoyed chocolate and candy lived almost a year longer than those who did not. Those who ate one to three candy bars per month had a 36 percent lower risk of death (compared to the people who ate no candy), while those who ate three or more candy bars per week had a 16 percent lower risk.

Why? The researchers say they donít know for sure, but that it might have something to do with antioxidants. Chocolate contains the same antioxidant chemicals as wine (phenols). In the chocolate bar, phenols help preserve the fat. In our bodies, phenol can help prevent atherosclerosis.

Copyright 2004 Susie Cortright

Susie Cortright is the author of several books for women and founder of the award-winning Momscape.com, a website designed to help busy women find balance. Visit http://www.momscape.com today and get Susie's *free* course-by-email "6 Days to Less Stress" as well as the *free* pdf ebook, "Spa Recipes for All Seasons."

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low carb chocolate
There's no food that stirs the passions like chocolate.  Whether its dark, white, or in between, chocolate is one of the all-time favorite foods and flavours. And YES!  You CAN eat chocolate on a low carb diet!  Of course, you need to find a sugar-free chocolate that uses a low carb sweetener.

low carb recipes
Recipes for a low carb diet. You really do need a variety of low carb meals to help you stay with your low carb diet. Find the recipes that fit your diet, and you're on your way!

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