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Chocolate Just Got Better

You don't often see the words 'good news' and 'cancer' in the same sentence, but when you do, you can be sure there's chocolate involved.

Good news: an international team of researchers has discovered a new way to process cocoa that keeps cancer-fighting polyphenols in without sacrificing the delicious flavor of chocolate.  Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that have been proven to help fend off cancer and heart disease.

The process takes a little longer, but the results are worth the wait.

Workers pick cacao pods from the tree and remove the seeds from inside. The seeds are fermented and dried in the sun, then roasted and blended with sugar, milk and other ingredients to become chocolate.

During the original process, it loses some of the polyphenols. So, scientists decided to add an extra step: storage.

After harvesting the pods, they are stored for about seven days before being processed as usual. Seven days appears to be the magic number: the seeds kept more of their antioxidant properties without breaking down.

Researchers are now fine-tuning the roasting process that will likely give us an even sweeter dark chocolate. So far, they know that roasting at a slightly lower temperature for a long time produces some pretty tasty results without sacrificing its healthy properties.

Delicious chocolate as medicine? Sign me up!

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