Jewish World Review Feb 4, 2005/ 25 Shevat, 5765

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Consumer Reports


Heart healthy Chocolate: It's not a dream!


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | This week the nation is collectively preparing to overdose for the Superbowl. We will consume more than 30 million pounds of snacks during the game. From past estimates this includes 8.5 million pounds of nachos, 11.3 M of potato chips, 4.3 M of pretzels, 3.8 M of popcorn and 2.7 M pounds of nuts.

We've written recently about the heart health benefits of dark berries and dark beer (See Archives) but now comes the coux de gras. High quality dark chocolate has health benefits.

According to the savory Aphrodite Handmade English Luxury Chocolates web site, Montezuma, the Aztec Emperor, noted that Chocolate is, "The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food."

Aphrodite notes further, "that eating 50 grams (2 oz's) a day of plain dark chocolate with a minimum content of 70 percent chocolate solids can be beneficial to your health, providing protection against high blood pressure and many other health hazards as well as (providing) many trace elements and nutrients essential to good health such as iron, calcium and potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E."

Comments WebMD Medical News, Wednesday, August 27, 2003,"Short of breath? Fatigued? If you've been diagnosed with heart failure, see how a new-generation treatment option could change your life. Got high blood pressure? Try a truffle. Worried about heart disease? Buy a bon-bon."

Continues WebMD News, "Studies in two scientific journals say dark chocolate — but not white chocolate or milk chocolate — is good for you."

"Dark chocolate — not white chocolate — lowers high blood pressure," say Dirk Taubert, MD, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure — if you've reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But that's not justification to go on a chocolate binge.

Dark chocolate — but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk — is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, Ph.D., of Italy's National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28, 2003 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

The Taubert's study consisted of six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure, on average, systolic blood pressure of 153 and diastolic blood pressure of 84. Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories.

Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate. Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.

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As reported by Prevention.com, February 2005, recent Norwegian research suggests chocolate may also shield women's' breasts from cancer especially if you're obese. The dark variety is known to elevate the HDL or good cholesterol known to protect against breast cancer after menopause.

So for your Superbowl snacks you might try dark berries, dark beer and dark chocolate. As for me I intend to go to my favorite choclatier and buy a dozen or more 2 oz. chocolate footballs for a local bowl party. Some may prefer Godiva or Aphrodite but since I live in Newport Beach I'll order the best — "Chocolates by Golda" — since they are made right here. Just like fresh beer fresh chocolate is the best.

Says the real "Golda," (who recently sold her company), "Dark chocolate is for the real romantic and it tastes far better than all those pills, capsules and vitamins."

To which we add, don't forget that after the Superbowl is over — Valentines Day and Easter approach with the speed of the North winds.

Editor's Note: Michael Arnold Glueck, MD., wrote this week's commentary.




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

Up

01/28/05: America's healthcare problem stripped of all the rhetoric
01/21/05: Two-Faced Medicare Enforcement
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© 2005