Consume Cocoa Like The Kuna (aka Chocolate is Good For You)

For years, we’ve all heard pieces of information about cocoa being good for us.  Here’s a few articles about that:

And from Cleveland Clinic, here’s a key point about selecting your chocolate:

your best choices are likely dark chocolate over milk chocolate (especially milk chocolate that is loaded with other fats and sugars) and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).

It appears in a recent meta-analysis that the data generally supports this fact although some longer terms studies are needed.  One of the most interesting things mentioned in both of the hyperlinked studies above are the Kuna.

The Kuna, an indigenous group of approximately 50,000 people who live predominantly on small islands off the coast of Panama, are virtually free of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Kuna who migrate to nearby Panama City, however, lose this advantage, a loss that cannot be attributed to changes in salt intake (1) or stress (2). The Kuna who live on the Caribbean archipelago, however, consume a striking amount of natural cocoa drinks, whereas those who migrate to the mainland do not (1).

I also got an e-mail from a PR firm about the meta-analysis saying the following:

Recent research published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a mug of hot cocoa had nearly twice the antioxidants as a glass of red wine and up to three times the antioxidants as a cup of green tea. Compared to black tea, cocoa had up to five times the concentration of antioxidants.
 
“The results of this Cornell University study corroborate earlier research showing the extensive health benefits of cocoa,” says Harvard nutritionist and epidemiologist Eric Ding, Ph.D. Dr. Ding was lead researcher of a landmark Journal of Nutrition meta-analysis on cocoa’s multiple benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. The study incorporated 24 papers with 1106 participants.
 
“Cocoa flavonoids are protective against heart disease,” says Dr. Ding. “We’ve found that they lower blood pressure, lower bad LDL, raise good HDL, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve blood flow and, in a long term study, lower the risk of heart disease.” Journal of Nutrition meta-analysis on cocoa’s multiple benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. The study incorporated 24 papers with 1106 participants.
 
“Cocoa flavonoids are protective against heart disease,” says Dr. Ding. “We’ve found that they lower blood pressure, lower bad LDL, raise good HDL, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve blood flow and, in a long term study, lower the risk of heart disease.”
So, don’t feel bad about enjoying chocolate.  Not only is it good for your mood, but it can be good for your health (if you pick the right kinds).  But, this shouldn’t be an excuse for binging on it since it’s also high in fat.
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