The neurotransmitter anandamide initiates the blissful benefits of eating dark chocolate.

According to Wikipedia:

Anandamide, also known as arachidonylethanolamide or arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is a naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter found in the brain of animals, as well as other organs. It was isolated, and its structure elucidated by William Devane and Lumir Hanuš in the Laboratory of Raphael Mechoulam, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1992. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means ”bliss”, and amide.

And, cocoa contains anandamide. Of course, you need dark chocolate to obtain the optimal benefits of this remarkable food. Fortunately, I have always preferred dark chocolate.

Ten years ago I decided that I wanted to lose 8 pounds without effort and without changing my diet. So, I told myself that one ounce of dark chocolate after dinner would assist my body in burning all calories not needed to maintain my desired weight. Within 100 days, and after 100 ounces of dark chocolate, I had lost 8 pounds. Now after some 3200 ounces (200 pounds) of dark chocolate, I maintain my desired weight and a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 22.5.

I was able to accomplish this in part because of my highly developed ability for internal regulation. I hope you have that degree of internal regulation, for the benefits of chocolate go far beyond weight management. Heart management might be a better term.

Below are some of the proven benefits of eating dark chocolate:

A review (meta-analysis) of 136 publications revealed that cocoa and chocolate have many beneficial effects. These effects include lowering blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and platelet clumping, raising HDL, and lowering LDL. And, cocoa is cholesterol neutral as far as total cholesterol! The meta-analysis revealed that cocoa lowers the risk of death from heart disease. COCOA HAS HIGHER ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY PER SERVING THAN TEA OR RED WINE.

Interestingly, chocolate is a leading source of procyanidin, a major flavonoid, in the western diet. And, dark chocolate has twice as many antioxidants as milk chocolate, as well as less sugar. Eating 50 grams of dark chocolate daily is estimated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by 10.5%. Of course, eating 10 servings of fruits and/or vegetables lowers the risk well over 50%. I prefer 8 veggies/fruit servings and one cocoa!

In another article, Buijsse, Feskens, and Kok conducted a fifteen-year follow-up study of 470 elderly men. They discovered an inverse relationship between cocoa intake and cardiovascular death.

The bottom line:

If you like chocolate, eat dark chocolate. And do not exceed 50 grams daily. I average 35 grams. Choose bars with a minimum of 70% cocoa.

My favorites are 70% cocoa VALOR pure dark chocolate, from Spain, and 70% cocoa SANTANDER from Columbia. For a mid-afternoon pick up, the Santander dark chocolate with 100% Columbian Coffee Bits is a tremendous treat!

Dagoba 87% cocoa is an organic dark chocolate, but it is not nearly as smooth as the other two.

And you can read about my local favorite source of dark chocolate Askinosie Dark Chocolate in this article.

Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health and to build your ability for internal regulation. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

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