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Chocolate May Have A Future In The Health Food Aisle

607 words - 2 pages

Before you reach for that chocolate heart for your Valentine this year, consider the findings of Andrew McShea and team, found in Nutrition Reviews. When it comes to chocolate, most of us will agree that it has more of a positive effect on our waistlines than our health. But McShea’s article, entitled “Clinical benefit and preservation of flavonols in dark chocolate manufacturing,” shows us a different side of the sweet treat, by pointing out the health benefits of one of its ingredients, an antioxidant called flavonol. McShea concludes that even though chocolate contains flavonol, the extensive processing it goes through and the other not-so-healthy ingredients that are added can have a negative impact on our health.

Through many studies, chocolate has repeatedly been shown to have many positive influences on human health, mostly due to these flavonol antioxidants. For instance, chocolate can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood pressure and our blood vessels’ ability to dilate. This increase in blood flow, especially to the brain, has been shown to reduce signs of aging, and the risk of stroke and dementia. Flavonols can improve spatial memory and decrease the amount of neurons that die off, but in this study, high amounts of flavonols were directly injected into the participants meaning the results can’t be applied to chocolate that is consumed. Despite the overwhelming benefits, studies did show a negative affect on the bone density of older women.

If chocolate, specifically the flavonols found in chocolate are so beneficial, then why is it considered so unhealthy? The problem arises when the antioxidant rich cacao beans are processed and mixed with other ingredients, compromising the health benefits. Cacao beans contain the highest amount of flavonols and offer the most benefit when only slightly fermented. Unfortunately, they also taste very bitter and are not enthusiastically...

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