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Chocolate as a Health Food?

  Recent research has indicated a possible antioxidant benefit in chocolate similar to that found in red wine. Chocolate contains a relatively high amount of phenolic compounds, which possess antioxidant properties. These compounds possess properties that may be beneficial in reducing the risk for coronary heart disease. A 1.5 ounce chocolate bar contains about the same amount of total phenolic compounds as a 5-ounce serving of red wine, which has been associated with a reduced risk for coronary heart disease. Chocolate is increasingly being recognized as an excellent source of minerals that are hard to find elsewhere. Chocolate contains essential nutrients such as iron, copper, calcium and potassium, as well as vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E. The cocoa bean is the richest source of magnesium in nature. Magnesium deficiency is linked with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and joint problems. Fascinatingly, it turns out the dreaded pre-menstrual syndrome has also been linked with a lack of magnesium; adding magnesium to the diet has been shown to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels. It's the progesterone dip which is responsible for the mood swings so familiar to women and their partners.

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