April 25, 2012

Is this tasty treat
good for diabetics?

Many years ago, I wrote that a great way to treat metabolic syndrome is by taking magnesium. I quoted a study that showed how magnesium reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 31%. Now a new study says chocolate may have the same results.

This makes sense, as chocolate is one of the most magnesium-rich foods around. In fact, it’s why many women crave chocolate — they have a magnesium deficiency.

A review of medical studies on dark chocolate confirms that eating the tasty treat has several health benefits. It can lead to improvements in blood pressure, blood vessel endothelial function, and a dip in insulin levels. The latter means that your insulin might be working better.

Remember, metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance, is a condition where your body resists the insulin you produce. In response, your body produces more insulin, which is not a good thing. I call insulin the hormone of aging and death because of its severe negative effects when it’s in excess.

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Insulin problems are one of the reasons diabetics are at a greater risk of heart attacks. In fact, chocolate may help there as well. I found yet another article (NIH study) on nearly 5,000 participants between the ages of 25 and 93. In this study, eating dark chocolate five or more times weekly has a stunning highly significant 57% reduced risk of coronary disease.

The only problem with this study is that it was a food questionnaire study. But it certainly fits with all the other studies on dark chocolate we are seeing.

I do think that these studies are real based on personal experience. After coming to California, and stepping up from a good diet to my Living Foods Diet, my blood pressure fell from 110/70 to 100/60. As the years have gone by, I’ve incorporated a single vice in my diet — about three ounces of organic dark chocolate on most days. And during this time, my blood pressure has fallen further to about 88/56. Do I think that the dark chocolate has played a role? Yes, but I can’t tell you how much. Dark chocolate is incredibly rich in beneficial flavonoids. And its flavonoids are particularly protective for endothelial cells.

If you need to indulge yourself, pick dark chocolate, and organic of course. If you’re a diabetic, I’d rather see you get your magnesium from other foods and a supplement. Most chocolate has a lot of sugar. Fortunately, dark has a lot less. So once you get your diabetes under control, indulging in some dark chocolate periodically is likely fine.

Ref: AJCN March  2012; Clin Nutr, 2010 Sep 19.

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