What the Flavonoid?

So we’ve all heard it: Dark chocolate has health benefits. Now there’s a silver lining to your, well, silver lining. A recent study indicates that daily dark-chocolate intake can help you fight off certain diseases because your blood is full of flavonoids. Let’s hear it in Dr. Mary Engler’s words from a WebMD article:

“This is the longest clinical trial to date to show improvement in blood vessel function from consuming flavonoid-rich dark chocolate daily over an extended period of time,” Engler says. “It is likely that the elevated blood levels of epicatechin triggered the release of active substances that … increase blood flow in the artery. Better blood flow is good for your heart.”

Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate contains a lot more cocoa than other forms of chocolate. And standard chocolate manufacturing destroys up to half of the flavonoids. But chocolate companies have now learned to make dark chocolate that keeps up to 95% of its flavonoids.

Sure, this seems like a scam. Can’t you get more and better flavonoids from other foods? Surprisingly, the answer is “not really,” Engler says. “Many people don’t realize that chocolate is plant-derived, as are the fruits and vegetables recommended for a healthy heart.”

Another aspect that I’m crazy about in d. chocolate is that it often has 4-5 ingredients only, and I can recognize each one. In fact, Patric Chocolate, a fledgling micro-batch chocolate company, uses only three ingredients. Most of you health food junkies have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma; I thought it made a straightforward case for taking a second look at all the outer space-sounding language we find on our food labels. Thankfully, we can rely on d. chocolate to take us back to provincial days of whole food.

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