Here are the good things research shows that cocoa can do:
Act as an antioxidant. Researchers at the University of California, Davis compared the effects of 11/3 oz of high-flavanol Dove Dark chocolate with the same amount of low-flavanol dark chocolate on 10 healthy people.
They found that only the Dove Dark had heart-healthy benefits: It reduced LDL oxidation and boosted antioxidants levels and HDL concentrations in the blood. Other studies have shown that the higher the Cocoapro "dose," the higher the levels of antioxidants in the blood and the less LDL oxidation.
Keep blood platelets from clumping together. In the test tube, Cocoapro cocoa reduces blood clotting; it may also stabilize arterial plaque, making it less likely to travel and cause a stroke or heart attack. This effect is similar to that of aspirin.
Increase blood vessel flexibility. Unlike aspirin, some of the procyanidins in Cocoapro trigger the production of nitric oxide, which helps keep arteries flexible and increases bloodflow. "This connection has potential implications for blood pressure control," says Dr. Schmitz.
But don't use chocolate as a stand-in for fat-free fruits and veggies. It just doesn't work that way. An ounce of dark chocolate can contain a whopping 11 g of fat, so you have to compromise elsewhere in your diet to make room for the calories. But if you eat your 1-oz piece of chocolate slowly and mindfully, it should satisfy your most serious chocolate cravings, which can help you stick to a healthy eating plan. Continue...