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Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Good News for Chocolate Lovers
Know that guilty feeling that creeps in every time you bite into a piece of chocolate? Turns out it’s all for naught. (Well, mostly.) Recent studies show that chocolate is actually good for your teeth – and your overall health.
It turns out that chocolate contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and flavanols. Polyphenols prevent bacteria from turning the sugar and starches contained in chocolate into acids that cause decay. They can help reduce the chances of hypertension and stroke and may even help protect the heart. Dark chocolate is particularly high in flavanols – and has more antioxidant power than green tea.
The cocoa butter contained in chocolate also packs a healthy punch. When you eat a piece of chocolate, the cocoa butter in it coats your teeth, preventing plaque from sticking to your teeth. And what about the “butter” part of cocoa butter – should you worry about fat? Nope. This kind does not raise cholesterol.
Now for the Bad News
Chocolate is high in calories; one 1-ounce piece of dark chocolate can contain 150 calories or more. So if you’re watching your waistline, you’ll have to control yourself. Plus, to benefit from chocolate’s goodness, all you have to do is eat three 1-ounce pieces of it a week.
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