Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Let Dark Chocolate Be Your Valentine

Arthur Agatston, the Miami cardiologist who created the popular low-carb South Beach Diet, is no stranger to chocolate. [...]

According to the diet doc, studies show that high concentrations of cocoa found in dark chocolate -- at least 70 percent -- help improve vascular function by relaxing blood vessels, keeping cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels and reducing the risk of blood clots.

Others agreed. Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition, in Boston, said dark chocolate contains flavanols, plant-based antioxidants that may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular function. These benefits might extend to improving heart function and lowering blood pressure, he said.

"Dark chocolate, green tea and red wine have these flavanols in concentrated forms, which increases their potency per serving," Blumberg added.

"Flavanol compounds are only present in dark chocolate," he stressed. [...]

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