A Chocolate Fountain of Youth?
By Shalin Popat
We humans are strange indeed. People spend so much energy in an attempt to look and feel younger, that they so often miss the fact that they are using so much precious time doing so. Could the answer to retaining youth be right under our very noses, could something as well known as chocolate be the answer?
Age is seen as the ultimate enemy of the modern man and woman. With the pressures to always be on top and keep climbing, capturing the energy and vitality of youth has a compulsion many cannot ignore. Through history a variety of notions to stop the effects of time have surfaced and allured so many. In the sixteenth century, the insane Countess Bathory and her murdered over 600 young girls for blood baths, in their quest for immortality. Many of the less morbid antidotes to ageing taste nasty, smell funny or are simply unaffordable. Can it be that something as pleasurable and universally accessible as chocolate, could be a youth serum?
Preposterous you say? Perhaps not, the cocoa bean, the essence of chocolate, has a complex chemical makeup that we are still trying to understand. What we do know however, is that chocolate contains flavinoids - healthy chemicals (a sub-group of polyphenols), that are widely believed to possess several health benefits.
Flavinoid's strongest health related property is as an antioxidant. Antioxidants combat free radicals which are naturally produced by your body and cause irreversible damage (oxidation) to cells. Free radicals can leave your body vulnerable to premature aging, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative diseases like arthritis and although modern science has increased our average life spans, environmental factors like cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, radiation from UV exposure, and stress can increase free radicals. So finding a source of antioxidants to counteract this could well leave you looking and feeling younger.
To get the most out of this particular fountain of youth you should eat chocolate with as high a percentage of cocoa as possible, it is only these dark chocolates that have a significant level of flavinoids, in order to obtain the light and sweet taste in milk chocolate, many of them are processed out. So eating mass produced candy bars you find in your local supermarket which are very low cocoa content (and are in fact not really classified as chocolates), is not likely to do you any good, in fact the concentrated sugars and artificial flavorings are probably bad for your overall health if eaten regularly.
Chocolate a health product? Are you shaking your head? Well for all the skeptics out there you should look at it like this: a bit of sumptuous chocolate may not be the key to immortality, but it always makes you smile and that's gotta keep you young.
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