Why We Should Be Eating Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a guilty pleasure--or is it? If you have or wish to prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or pre-diabetes then chocolate is a medicine you may want to take every day. 

So often the news is full of more things to add to the Don’t Eat list, especially when you are diabetic. How about some good news for a change?

What you eat is the most powerful medicine there is for your health, and chocolate is a food brimming with compounds that help your body stay healthy. Eating dark chocolate is linked to better blood flow, lower blood pressure, reduced LDL cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity.

One study published in Hypertension by the American Heart Association discusses the effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. The study used 100 g of dark chocolate daily.

Consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate has been shown to decrease blood pressure and insulin resistance in healthy subjects. The current study shows that consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate decreased daytime and nighttime [blood pressure], reduced insulin resistance, and improved nitric oxide-dependent vasorelaxation.

If you are diabetic, then it’s important to keep your blood pressure in check. Chocolate will not only help lower blood pressure, but it does something that no drug can. It lowers your blood pressure selectively. That is, if your blood pressure is high, dark chocolate will help bring it down. If your blood pressure is normal, then dark chocolate has no effect. 

There’s more. Dark chocolate reduces LDL cholesterol too. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, and it's the type of cholesterol your doctor wants you to keep down. High levels of LDL increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. It is important when you are diabetic to keep LDL levels low to reduce the risk of complications.

The author of another study, Dr. Mee Young Hong, Associate Professor of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University, told WebMD that dark chocolate decreased bad cholesterol (LDL) by 20% and increased the good cholesterol (HDL) by 20%.

These amazing results don’t apply to your pumpkin-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or fun-size Hershey chocolate bars, though. The studies all used dark chocolate that contained a high percentage of cocoa solids. 

When shopping, look for a minimum of 75% cocoa solids. The higher percentage of cocoa the better. You don’t need much either, just 25 to 50 g per day. That is just a few squares. A delicious way to enjoy it is to melt it in a glass of warm milk. A perfect bedtime drink.


 

Mary Kemp has worked with type 2 diabetics for over 20 years. She is determined to turn the type 2 tide by giving people the information that they really need to make the best choices at FreeFromType2.com. She knows that a diet sheet and a prescription isn't the answer. Mary is on a mission to eradicate complications for type 2 diabetics. Download her free guide to help take charge of your diabetes and your health.

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  • commented 2015-12-01 10:04:28 -0800
    Hi Stephen. Thanks for asking! Glucose is not toxic to the liver like fructose is. Glucose is an energy substrate that can be metabolized in nearly all of our tissues, so it does not overwhelm and damage the liver like fructose does. The primary dietary source of glucose is anything starchy—starchy vegetables, beans, legumes, and grains. What’s important to remember is that refined grains, like those in flour, are stripped of their natural fiber. Fiber helps to slow down our absorption of glucose, which minimizes the insulin response, giving us tighter control of our blood glucose levels, which is ideal for preventing disease.
  • commented 2015-12-01 06:46:53 -0800
    Hello,
    I’m not diabetic and have recently gone sugar free with only hidden sugars and transient sugars making its way into my diet. I’ve kicked candy, ice cream, condiments, table sugar and any natural sweetener that contains fructose.
    I do use dextrose for sweetening coffee, tea and foods.
    I’m curious to know if added glucose has any ill effect on the body like excessive/toxic amounts of sugar do. Do you know of any possible side effects?
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