So, which chocolate is good for you?

Most of the chocolate and cocoa we purchase these days have had much of their flavanol content removed during processing.
It is common to hear today about the potential medical benefits of chocolate (for example, eating chocolate can help prevent cardiovascular disease). But not all chocolates are healthy.
Several studies have strongly suggested that the flavanols present in some chocolate products act as strong antioxidants, and also as stimulators of nitric oxide. As a result, the theory goes, inflammation may be reduced, platelet function can improve, and blood pressure may be reduced. All these effects may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer.
What Is The Evidence?
Interest in the health benefits of chocolate was spurred decades ago by the recognition that Kuna Amerinds living on the San Blas Islands have a very low incidence of heart disease and cancer compared to Kuna living on mainland Panama.
The difference? Those on the San Blas Islands consume large amounts of flavanol-rich cocoa. Several other epidemiological studies have supported the potential protective effects of flavenols present in chocolate products. A randomised trial begun in 2015 (the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study — COSMOS) will eventually provide much-needed prospective evidence on whether, and how much, cocoa flavanols are beneficial.
Which products are good?
Even assuming that studies like COSMOS will eventually demonstrate that cocoa-associated flavanols are heart healthy, we need to be aware that most of the chocolate and cocoa we can purchase today have had much of their flavanol content removed during processing.
The Mars company has introduced its flavanol-rich CocoaVia product line as a first step (which also reveals their flavanol content on the product labels). The Hershey company also claims its Special Dark chocolate has a good flavanol content, but has not published what that content actually is.
If chocolate manufacturers are serious about promoting chocolate as a healthy product, they will need to begin producing more flavanol-rich products, and labeling the flavanol content. In the meantime, we should keep in mind that most of the chocolate we can purchase today is not medicinal. It’s candy.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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