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Raw Chocolate May Be Healthier



From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

Is chocolate good for our health? Or does it just taste good? Many experts warn that the sugar in chocolate is not good for us. But doctors say there are also healthful substances in chocolate, like antioxidants. Some experts say uncooked, pure chocolate may contain just the right balance. The biggest value in eating cocoa and dark chocolate may be their ability to lower blood pressure. This comes from the experience of cocoa butter melting in your mouth. That happy feeling may also add to chocolate's anti-depressant qualities, says Kim Hoffman.

Ms. Hoffman in a dietician, a person who advices people about healthy eating. She says the phenethylamines in dark chocolate make us feel better. Phenethylamines are also naturally produced by the brain. She says they create a happy feeling. But, not all chocolate is equal. The process of producing chocolate affects its health benefits. The heat required to process most chocolate can be as high as 13 degrees centigrade. Some researchers says such high temperatures can actually lower the effectiveness of chocolate's healthful chemicals.

Business owner Anthony Grid makes chocolate at his store in Cape Town, South Africa. He keeps the temperature of his uncooked chocolate below 42 degrees. He says amny food experts support lower cooking temperatures. Chocolate makers can also decrease healthfulness by adding sugar to cocoa. That reduces the amount of the antioxidant polyphenol in cocoa. And, as food science writer Leonie Joubert notes, sugar is connected to weight-related disease.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.