How chocolate can help your heart

We are a nation in love with chocolate, that renowned aphrodisiac.

But the link between sex and chocolate is looking shaky. All the feel-good chemicals it contains, such as tryptophan and phenylethylamine, can also be found in foods like cheese. Chocolate's sensual image may be under threat but it is currently being trumpeted as the ideal health food. On sale now is a new kind of polyphenol-rich chocolate called Acticoa. Manufacturers including Delvaux, Minerva and Prestat are using Acticoa, as is Hadleigh Maid of Suffolk, which combines the new chocolate with cranberries and cherries.

Most of the health claims are focused on the antioxidant powers of cocoa. But while everyone agrees that chocolate can be very good for you, a body of scientific opinion suggests that putting all the benefits down to the antioxidant effect might be wrong. My understanding is that our bodies have their own defences anyway and that much of the research into antioxidants has been done in the test tube rather than the human body.

So which kind of chocolate is good for us, and why? The good types are high in flavanols, a sub-group of polyphenols. But cocoa, the raw ingredient, can lose large amounts of flavanols depending on how it is treated early on.

Source - Telegraph

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