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Good news for your holiday diet problems: Chocolate can actually be healthy!

chocolatehealthy.jpgThe holiday season presents a nutritional challenge for everybody, for all kids from 1 to 92. For parents, it is even more difficult because they have to manage their own diet as well as those of their children.

Living in Switzerland, we were simply inundated with special Christmas chocolate goodies in all forms and shapes. The chocolate makers Lindt and Cailler brought out special chocolate holiday editions that will tempt anybody? much to the chagrin of those with hypertension, diabetes, or health-conscious mommies.

Chocolates need not be the enemies and moms need not be torn between their children?s health and holiday joy. Good news, chocolates can actually be healthy!

Several studies this year showed that chocolate ? dark chocolate ? is actually beneficial to your health!

Study # 1: German researchers showed that regular intake of dark chocolate could lower the blood pressure of people with mild to moderate hypertension ? in just 18 weeks.1

Study # 2: Swiss researchers studied the effect of dark chocolate in 22 heart transplant patients. And guess what they found? An intake of 40g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) can actually open up constricted cardiac arteries ? within hours!2

What makes chocolate unhealthy is the full-cream milk and sugar in it. White chocolate is also very unhealthy because it?s actually mainly cacao butter ? the fatty part of cacao. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is actually a good mixture of protein, fat, and strong antioxidants. By giving your kids (and yourself) chocolates with less milk and sugar, you are actually eating healthy food!

1Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, et al. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2007; 298:49-60

2 Flammer A, Hermann F, Sudano I, et al. Dark chocolate improves coronary vasomotion and reduces platelet reactivity. Circulation. 2007;116:2376-2382.


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