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The Sweet Healing Properties of Dark Chocolate
Brought to you from the NEEDS Wellness Team

Dark chocolate, arguably considered one of the tastiest foods on the planet, is now being shown to have significant health benefits. Due to its concentrated flavonoid content, specifically polyphenols, dark chocolate—not it's diluted cousin, milk chocolate—has important anti-inflammatory action.

Other foods rich in polyphenols (also possess great antioxidant and anti-microbial properties) are fruits and vegetables, particularly cranberries, grapes, onions, apples, Brussels sprouts, olive oil, wine, and green tea, to name a few. Polyphenols can also be found in dietary supplement form, naturally occurring in ingredients such as bilberry, grape skin, and green tea extracts, as well as pomegranate juice.

A recent European study, involving over 2000 healthy adults, found that those who consumed a serving (20 grams or 2/3rds of an ounce) of dark chocolate 3 times a week, had the lowest CRP* levels as compared to those who consumed no dark chocolate or much more than 3 servings weekly. Lowering CRP levels serves to lower overall risk of cardiovascular problems. It is possible that higher consumption of chocolate had less of a positive effect on cardiovascular health because of the associated increased consumption of fat and sugar.

The results of this study provide an example of how eating a particular food in moderation is the key to health.

* NOTE: Inflammation can be measured with a laboratory test called serum C- Reactive Protein, or CRP, a cardiovascular risk marker that indicates a higher risk of heart attack and stroke when elevated.

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