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Happy National Chocolate Day

Posted by dorian on October 28, 2009

good news

GO AHEAD, INDULGE!

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iStockPhoto | An assortment of milk, dark and white chocolate.

Discovery News

Oct. 28, 2009 — Today is National Chocolate Day, an occasion to commemorate all things chocolate.

Chocolate is more than simply an indulgence. This tasty treat has been around for more than two millennia, originating in Central America. The Mayans revered the cocoa bean, dubbing it “the food of the gods.”

Chocolate was introduced to the Western world in the 16th century following the arrival of Spanish explorers. During that time, chocolate was used not only as a food, but also as a currency.

The first chocolate factory in the United States was founded in 1765. These humble beginnings have spawned the multi-billion dollar industry we know today.

Chocolate Helps Hinder Heart Disease

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Getty Images | How Sweet A new study shows chocolate, rich in antioxidents and "free radicals," can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and overall help combat heart disease. |

Aug. 13, 2009 — Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff, scientists have reported.

Smaller quantities confer less protection, but are still better than none, according to the study, which appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow.

It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.

But the new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack.

“It was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general,” said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a co-author of the study.

“It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate” for explaining the live-saving properties, he told AFP in an exchange of e-mails.

Antioxidants are compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules which accumulate in the body over time that can damage cells and are thought to play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.

In the study, Janszky and colleagues tracked 1,169 non-diabetic men and women, 45-to-70 years old, in Stockholm County during the early 1990s from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack.

The participants were queried before leaving hospital on their food consumption habits over the previous year, including how much chocolate they ate on a regular basis.

They underwent a health examination three months after discharge, and were monitored for eight years after that. The incidence of fatal heart attacks correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.

“Our findings support increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds,” the researchers concluded.

The results held true for men and women, and across all the age groups included in the study.

Other factors that might have affected the outcome — alcohol consumption, obesity, smoking — were also taken into account.

So should we all be loading up on cocoa-rich sweets?

“To be frank, I’m pretty cautious about chocolate because we’re working on weight problems with so many individuals,” said Mukamal, who is also a practising physician.

“However, I do encourage those who are looking for healthier desserts to consider chocolate in small quantities,” he added. “For individuals with no weight issues who have been able to eat chocolate in moderation and remain slim, I do not limit it.”

The researchers caution that clinical trials are needed to back up the findings of their study. In the meantime, however, a bit of chocolate may not be amiss, they suggest.

Marlowe Hood, AFP

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7 Responses to “Happy National Chocolate Day”

  1. dorian said

    yummmy. that’s all i have to say.

  2. 1minionsopinion said

    No kidding. I love me some chocolate. I don’t even need a special day, though today has turned out to be special — One Minion’s Opinion wound up on the front page of wordpress for some reason today. Wild or what?

  3. dorian said

    wild thing. congratulations and celebrate!
    good writing and good exposure. carry on carry on taking adkob with you!

  4. Princessxxx said

    that is great, ADKOB is celebrating it’s one year anniversary like right now…anyday this week.!
    champagne & chocolates for everyone.

  5. princessxxx said

    and i see your blog is still on the front page.
    it makes sense because you have a very interesting blog.
    http://1minionsopinion.wordpress.com/

  6. obama the antichrist said

    chocolate….mmmmmm….i want some chocolate covered strawberries fro, Godiva……it may be 5 bucks a strawberry but dang its worth it!
    happy chocolate day
    and A HAPPY DAY IT IS INDEED!

  7. 1minionsopinion said

    If I’d known more than my dozen regulars were going to stop by, I wouldn’t have rushed it. heh. Oh, to know the future. But, if even five of them hang around now, that’s great too.

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