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Old 08-30-2009, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Virginia
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Default Chocolate, cocoa, dementia

Here is another article, this time about the importance of dark chocolate or cocoa-rich products which may help decrease dementia.

Whenever Mother bought a regular Hershey�s chocolate bar, she would make it last for several days. She knew that chocolate was fattening, so she limited the amount by breaking off only four pieces (two for her and two for me). We would sit together in a rocking chair on the front porch enjoying our portion of milk chocolate.

Mother considered chocolate more as a treat, than anything associated with being good for you. Of course, the milk chocolate we were eating was not a healthy food choice. Now, if Mother knew about cocoa-rich products containing an ingredient in promoting blood flow to the brain, she would have traded in the chocolate bar for a dark chocolate one.

This ingredient is flavanols, which are nutrients found in cocoa. Flavanols has been linked to cardiovascular health by improving blood flow through increasing production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a molecule used by the endothelium (thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels) to signal surrounding muscle to relax.

The key to the above information came from a study of the Kuna Indians, who live on the San Bias Islands off the coast of Panama. High blood pressure and other signs of cardiovascular disease were almost non-existent among these island inhabitors. The Kuna were known for consuming large amounts of flavanol-rich cocoa.

Urine samples from Kuna islanders compared to the mainland Kuna had more than twice the levels of urinary nitric oxide. The mainland Kuna only drank an average of four cups of flavanol-rich cocoa per week compared to the Kuna islanders drinking around four cups per day.

In addition to promoting blood flow to the brain, cocoa-rich products also are known for maintaining soft and younger looking skin because of the antioxidants.

A study conducted in Germany showed that women who regularly consume cocoa-rich products that have high amounts of flavanol possess smoother and more hydrated skin. Furthermore, redness and damages from sun exposure are minimal among these women. If one is concerned about chocolates making one fat, one can always consume chocolate-based beverages or products that are made up of at least 70% cocoa.

If it were Mother, she would have substituted one-half of an ounce daily of dark chocolate as a replacement of other high-calorie or high-fat desserts.
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