No, it’s not a joke. Newspapers (like Businessweek) have articles today where they refer to a review of existing research that suggests that chocolate may lower your risk of stroke.
Of the three studies reviewed, one found no significant association between chocolate consumption and risk of stroke. But another found that
the stroke rate was 22 percent lower in people who ate chocolate once a week
and a third reported that
death from stroke was 46 percent lower in those who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week.
They speculate that the health benefits may come from antioxidants called flavonoids that are present in chocolate. Antioxidants are thought to prevent cell damage.
Of course, the article then goes on to give the standard warnings.
“Caution should be taken not to promote chocolate as a health food even though it is fine in moderation.”
“Chocolate is a major source of saturated fat, which raises bad cholesterol and boosts heart disease risk”
Oh well, what can you expect?
They also point out that only dark chocolate would be beneficial even though it’s not clear if this statement comes from the studies or not.
Unrelated to the reviewed studies, there are apparently other studies that indicate that
even a little chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow through the arteries
That sounds like good news to me. I hope we get to hear more from these “other” not referenced studies.
So, how to incorporate chocolate into a lowcarb diet? A couple of squares of dark chocolate like Lindt’s 70% bar that have 6 g carbs do not derail my diet despite containing a small amount of sugar.
An even better idea is to use cocoa nibs; crushed cacao beans. A friend of mine (2big4mysize – don’t let the name fool you; she has been at goal weight for many years now) gave me the tip to brew “tea” from them.
She puts them in cold water in a percolator. Runs it twice as the first time will just give a tea-colored liquid but the second time will result in a nice, chocolate colored drink. She can then keep on adding more water to the pot to stretch the nibs even further.
I don’t have a percolator but I intend to try this with just heating the water with the nibs; possibly more than once. I just need to buy the nibs first.
The nutrition facts for 1 ounce of cacao nibs are: 130 calories (110 from fat), 12 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate (9 fiber), 4 g protein.
This chocolate tea must be very similar to what the Aztecs drank. At least the descriptions I have read suggest that it would have been prepared in a similar way. I also don’t recall any mention of them sweetening the drink.
(Photo from BuyWellness which is one place that sells raw Cocoa Nibs.)