‘Tis the season to start gulping down chocolates like they had been out of style for 63 years and you were trying to spark a revival, but no one was interested so you were downing chocolates by the handfull every second you were out of the house. Well, either that or it’s Valentine’s Day and chocolate is the traditional gift of the holiday.
Great news. Well, for the wives at least. I mean, sure, I like chocolate, but it’s not something I’ll go out of my way to buy or even ask for. If I really wanted something sweet to celebrate a holiday, I’d just as soon order a cookie bouquet. Still, let’s hear it for flavonoids. Yeah, I know. It sounds like the invading aliens from some horrible 1950’s SF epic. But, no. They’re actually naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods recognized as exuding certain health benefits. And they’re what makes chocolate good-ish for you.
Flavonoids provide important protective benefits to plants, such as in repairing damage and shielding from environmental toxins. When we consume plant-based foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals, formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing or environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. When the body lacks adequate levels of antioxidants, free radical damage ensues, leading to increases in LDL-cholesterol oxidation and plaque formation on arterial walls.
Well, in dark chocolate at least. That’s the — you should pardon the expression — skinny so far as we know it. Dark chocolate, having more flavonoids, is better at promoting good health. Not only is it good for reducing damage caused by free radicals, it also has other supposed benefits:
All in all, not bad.
But what about all the fat? you ask. Well, it’s actually not that bad. See, the fat in dark chocolate is made up of three different kinds of fat and, it turns out, only 1/3 of the fat is the bad, saturated, kind of fat that hurts your arteries and heart.
So, let’s hear it for chocolate. In moderation of course. Like that ever works.