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August 1, 2011
Bethesda, Md.Research has shown that chocolate does have some health benefits, but the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cautions chocolate lovers about over-indulging. In its Aug. 2011 newsletter, NIH notes that research linking the cocoa-eating habits of the Kuna Indians with low incidence of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure doesnt mean much for Americans.
Kuna cocoa is a far cry from the chocolate that most Americans eat," the article notes. The Kuna make a drink with dried and ground cocoa beans (the seeds of the cocoa tree) along with a little added sweetener. The chocolate we tend to eat, on the other hand, is made from cocoa beans that are roasted and processed in various other ways, and then combined with ingredients like whole milk."
Research showing the health benefits of dark chocolate are fairly solid, according to the article, and the beneficial effects of chocolate flavanols are also well-supported.
Nevertheless, NIH says the calorie content of chocolate is not healthy, so if you indulge, do so in moderation, and dont start eating chocolate for its purported health benefits if its not a treat you normally eat.
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