Why chocolate is good for you

WELL_Chocolate_0213

Eat up (the good stuff, that is): A National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart study showed that people who ate chocolate five times per week were 49 percent less likely to have heart disease than those who ate no chocolate.
Credit: Pixland

Sweethearts needn’t feel guilty about giving, or receiving chocolate this Valentine’s Day. According to University of Scranton chemistry professor Joe Vinson, Ph.D., chocolate’s healthy rep as being antioxidant-rich is growing.
“I keep looking for the bad,” says Vinson, who was among the first researchers to report that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, was good for your heart. “But I still can’t find any negatives to chocolate. Polyphenols are good for you and chocolate has lots of them.”
Polyphenols, a class of compounds present in plant foods that have antioxidant properties, reputedly scavenge free radicals that damage cells and make them more vulnerable to diseases like cancer.
But not all chocolate is created equal. It’s important to select pure chocolate and not candy bars, and make sure it has a high amount of cocoa solids. The higher the cocoa solids, the higher the antioxidant effect. In his research, Vinson found chocolate containing 70 percent cocoa solids had twice the polyphenols as 35 percent. Vinson advises choosing 70 percent or higher for health.
The consensus is that moderate dark chocolate consumption has health benefits. But how much is moderate?
“I can’t confirm an amount for health,” Vinson says. “In studies comparing low dose and high dose, there was no noticeable benefit from the higher dose. One study found that blood pressure benefited after one dark chocolate Hershey Kiss. It happened over a four-month period. So, possibly, a low dose of chocolate over time has the most beneficial effect.”

What about white?
White chocolate, made of cocoa butter and sugar, has no detectable polyphenols and no known health benefit — in fact, Vinson says it can make things worse: “Fat and sugar cause oxidative stress in the body.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…