Eat Dark Chocolate For A Healthy Heart
A little chocolate a day, keeps heart disease away. A sweet thought? Well, an online study published in the journal called Heart suggests that those who ate chocolate habitually, actually had alower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke as compared to those who did not.
The above condusions were drawn based on a study of almost 21, 00 Norfolk residents, England whose health was tracked over an 11 year period. Of those who consumed chocolate, 12 per cent either developed or died of cardiovascular disease as compared to 17.4 per cent of those who spurned chocolate.
Goodness Of Cocoa
Our normal bodily processes and contaminants in the environment like cigarette smoke form free radicals which can damage body cells. And to combat the damage caused by the tree radicals, the body needs antioxidants. Cocoa and chocolate contain flavanols and also certain polyphenois and catechins which in addition to having antioxidant capabilities also positively affect vascular health. They can help to lower the blood pressure, make the platelets less sticky and improve the blood flow.
However, it is important to remember that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols. Cocoa ¡s processed to produce chocolate. The more it is processed, the more flavanols are lost. And most of the commercially available chocolates are highly processed. In fact, chocolate manufacturers are now looking for ways to retain the flavanols present in cocoa.
Choose Dark Chocolate
It was originally suggested that the highest levels of flavanols were contained in dark chocolate, But the fact is that these levels depend on how the dark chocolate is processed. Nevertheless, it is still better to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate because stripped of the milk and sugar, dark chocolate can actually be healthy.
So, although chocolates contain calories, the fat contained in chocolates are mostly saturated and monounsaturated with small amounts of the polyunsaturated kind; a good fat profile. Chocolates are a rich source of selenium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper and fibre.
Dark chocolate may also lower the susceptibility of LDL (bad cholesterol) to oxidative damage while increasing HDL (the good cholesterol). It also improves insulin sensitivity which is indicative of the fact that if dark chocolate is consumed in moderation, it may actually delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes.
Health Benefits Of Chocolate
Though ¡t may sound paradoxical, chocolate can also help one lose weight. And this has been suggested by neuroscientist Will Clower. A small piece of chocolate relished on the tongue for 20 minutes before a meal can trigger a sense of fullness, reducing the amount of food one would eat. And a small piece at the end of the meal can prevent subsequent snacking as well.
Chocolate can also make you feel better and enhance your mood if you are feeling low. The phenylethylamine (PEA) contained in dark chocolate is the same chemical created by the brain when you are in love. It encourages the brain to release endorphins that make one feel good.
However, remember only to reach for the dark, dark chocolate to enjoy heart health. It will not only keep you smiling but will also help you lose weight, keep diabetes at bay, improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure and keep the blood flowing with antioxidants which in turn help your vascular health. So, beat the blues and enjoy a piece once in a while without feeling guilty. Yet, don’t forget, dark chocolate too needs to be even in moderation.