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February 2009 Chirurgeon's Message

Flowers or Chocolate?

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and you may be wondering what to get your sweetheart. Well, make it chocolate for their heart's sake.

Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that lead to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times that found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body. The darker the chocolate the more benefits there are. Cocoa is the highest natural source for Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual tension.

Chocolate is so fattening though? The fat in chocolate is from cocoa butter, which is comprised of equal amounts of oleic, stearic and palmitic acids. Only palmitic acid raises cholesterol levels. The problem is not the chocolate, but what else is in it. Nuts, caramel and nougat wreaks havoc on the benefits that chocolate has with extra fat and calories.

Happy Valentine's Day and pass me the dark chocolate!

THL Blase di Angelo
Kingdom Chirurgeon


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