By Patrick M. Kennedy
It’s wonderful news. Recent studies have shown dark chocolate and cocoa may be good for your heart. Thanks to the wonderful scientists and doctors I can now eat chocolate covered raisins for twice the benefits; which are fat and cholesterol free, naturally low in sodium and packed with antioxidant protection for heart and colon health. In short-term clinical trials, dark chocolate has reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, shown mild anti-clotting effects, and even may help prevent plaque formation in arteries.
It’s more than wishful thinking — chocolate can be good for you. These studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improve the all-important senior’s concern, cardiovascular health. Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cocoa beans, which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients.
Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more antioxidants, which are also healthy for you. Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in these cell-protecting antioxidants, that is, the natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Scientists are saying antioxidants help prevent cardiovascular disease and premature aging and cancer. What? No more wrinkles? Is dark chocolate like a miracle drug or what?
But, if that is the case that grains are good for you, what about beer? Play close attention, then, all you beer lovers. It is now a proven fact that beer – yes, beer – can provide the same health benefits as wine; which upon close examination is made purely from grapes, water and yeast. Grapes are a fine source of sugars, fiber and chromium, but few of those things survive the fermentation and filtering process. No more sip after sip on the rim of a stemmed wineglass.
No matter what type of ale you prefer, studies show that drinking beer in moderation, up to two schooner glasses a day for us guys, can and will reduce the chances of strokes, as well as heart and vascular disease. Beer, as opposed to wine, is made from grains, water and yeast. Grains commonly used are barley and wheat, with cheaper mass-produced beers relying on corn and rice, both of which are loaded with a variety of vitamins that survive the fermentation and filtering process. And the vitamin value of the yeast is conserved in the hundreds of unfiltered beers that are on the market; both from the tap and in bottles with any shape or color or label.
In spite of their name, here is must be noted that beer nuts contain no beer. The name is intended to suggest to customers that they go well with beer. Many believe that Beer Nuts, with their high salt content, encourage people to order more beer in bars, which might not be all bad health-wise but not driving-wise.
Of course, beyond dark chocolate, there are some other healthy foods to eat, like: sweet potatoes (not too bad), mangos, unsweetened yogurt, broccoli, wild salmon, whole grain rye crackers (good with beer?), garbanzo beans, watermelon, squash and leafy greens. There is a whole list of bad things to eat and they are probably everything you really like.
There it is; dark chocolate wins hands down as the best tasting good food for senior citizens. To keep it all in perspective we shouldn’t listen to Mark Twain, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” I think Mark was talking about someone else than us modern mind-set senior citizens.