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Why You Should Eat and Drink High-Cacao Dark Chocolate – Part 2

December 18, 2013

Raw Cacao Powder“The truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on at least a semi-regular basis because, as it turns out, it is very good for you.” So writes nutritionist and fitness expert Mark Sisson in Part 1 of our 2-part article where we look at the health benefits of raw cacao, and of enjoying dark chocolate.

We continue here with more information from Mark Sisson:

4. Dark chocolate and cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that people with both normal and elevated cholesterol levels, who ingested cacao powder mixed with hot water lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and increased HDL (good cholesterol). All three doses of high-flavanol cacao powder – 13, 19.5, and 26 g/day – proved beneficial. If you’re wondering, 26 grams of powder is about a quarter cup.

The effects of chocolate on cholesterol also means that it will lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. And indeed, epidemiological studies suggest that this is the case. In a sample of over 2200 patients, chocolate consumption was inversely associated with progression of atherosclerotic plaque (clogged arteries).

5. Dark chocolate and insulin resistance.

For fifteen days, hypertensive, glucose-intolerant patients received either 100 daily grams of high-polyphenol dark chocolate or 100 daily grams of zero-polyphenol white chocolate. Nothing differed between the groups besides the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate lowered blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved endothelial function, while white chocolate did none of those things.

6. Dark chocolate and UV damage.

Who would have thought?  One study found that feeding high levels of dark chocolate to healthy people over twelve weeks resulted in greater resistance to  UV dosage than a low-flavanol-from-cacao

Seeing as how most of chocolate’s benefits stem from the polyphenol content, and most of the studies that saw large effects used “high-flavanol” dark chocolate, you should be gunning for chocolate with high polyphenol counts.

Dutch processed, or alkalized, chocolate lightens the color, removes some of the bitter compounds, and gives it a milder taste. Awesome for Hershey’s Kisses, but awful for the flavanol content.

Those “bitter compounds,” you see, are the flavanols. Without the bitterness (which I think of as complexity), you’re missing most of the beneficial polyphenols. It might taste good, but it won’t perform all of the aforementioned physiological tasks.

Once you’ve got a lead on some good chocolate with high cacao and lower sugar levels, eat a few squares a sitting, or enjoy Mayesa healthy chocolate drink every day!  Treat it like a medicinal adjunct to an otherwise solid diet, says Sisson.

We thank Mark Sisson for his insightful discussion of the wonderful health benefits of raw cacao.

Source: MarksDailyApple 

Disclaimer: Neither Mark Sisson nor Mayesa has received remuneration for the publication of this guest blog, nor is there product endorsement.