Crazy for cocoa

Dec. 31, 1969, 7 p.m. | By Jennie Breads | 51 years ago

This Valentine's Day, chocolate fans everywhere may rejoice: Sweet studies reveal that the melt-in-your-mouth treat may actually benefit consumers' health by reducing the likelihood of heart disease and cancer.

According to studies last year by scientists at the University of California, pure chocolate contains flavonoids, which act the same as antioxidant chemicals found in fruits and vegetables.

Flavonoids counteract compounds in the body that can lead to heart disease and cancer, explains a U.S. News and World Report article. The article also reads that flavonoids can reduce the ability of blood platelets to clump together, a process that can cause blood clots and lead to heart attacks.

Other studies conducted by the National Institute for Dental Research demonstrate that chocolate may even promote healthy teeth and gums. The fat in chocolate may protect teeth from harmful sugars, according to the studies. The research also suggests that certain compounds called "tannins," which are found in cocoa, might inhibit plaque formation.
Despite these new discoveries, Paul Nestel, chair of nutrition and food studies at New York University, warns in an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that it is still important not to overindulge in the delicious treat. "It's still candy," he says.

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Jennie Breads. Senior Jennifer Breads is the Managing Health Editor for this year. Aside from writing lots of health stories, Jennifer enjoys playing soccer and lacrosse and she is excited to be part of the Silver Chips team! More »

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