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Chocolate contains a chemical often referred to as flavonoids, which are the same chemicals found in red wine. This has been found to lower LDL cholesterol as well as to exert a protective effect against heart disease. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of flavonoids and therefore may be more beneficial. As always, it is recommended to consume only in moderation.
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High-quality chocolate contains a large amount of cocoa butter, which does not contain cholesterol because it is extracted from the cacao bean. Cocoa butter contains three kinds of fatty acids: palmitic fat, a saturated fat in small amounts; stearic fat, a saturated fat that does not affect cholesterol levels; and oleic fat, a monounsaturated fat that can protect us from many ailments, including cardiovascular disease. If you eat quality chocolate -- not chocolate made with large amounts of sugar and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils -- you actually can reap important health benefits, such as antioxidants. The maximum amount of chocolate recommended daily is about 50 g.
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