Beneficial Effects of...
Dark Chocolate for Heart!!
Reduces Inflammation and Prevents Heart Disease
Good news for chocolate lovers. New study recommends small amount of chocolate for heart health.
Journal of Nutrition, in its recent issue adds to the growing evidence that dark chocolate may prevent heart disease.
In an epidemiological study, white and dark chocolate were compared for the beneficial effect on endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessels) health.
Dark chocolate is found to be good for endothelial (inner lining of blood vessels) cells. This effect is due to high contents of antioxidants found in dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains more antioxidant and polyphenols per gram than green tea and red wine.
These polyphenols in cholesterol are supposed to protect endothelial cells from degenerative changes caused by free radicals.
These antioxidants of dark chocolate improve blood flow and platelet activity. Platelets are critical in the formation of plaques (blocks). Platelets make blood more sticky and thus promote blood clot (thrombus).
Polyphenols and flavonoids of dark chocolate reduce platelet activation in such a way that coronary thrombus – block - formation is inhibited. Thus dark chocolate prevents heart disease.
Eat Dark Chocolate for Heart BUT…It is recommended to consume less than 7 gms of dark chocolate per day to receive good effect of chocolate for heart. It means a 40 gm bar of chocolate is enough for a week. So, don’t be greedy. Just a small bite a day and no more. Or one 40 gram bar in a week.
There Is a Catch!
And remember.. it is dark chocolate for heart health. With white chocolate these antioxidants benefits for coronary health were found missing.
Besides direct heart benefits, there are evidences that chocolate also helps in lowering down the blood pressure – one of the many
modifiable risk factors of heart attack
Eat a Little Chocolate for Heart, but….
Don’t think that this is the panacea – cure for all ills. It is not.
Coronary heart disease is a multi-factorial disease. It is a problem of aberrated lifestyle. If you are diagnosed with one or more of risk factors of heart attack – use discretion.
Don’t feel guilty if you take a little bite of chocolate. But please, don’t think that chocolate can substitute the need for balanced life – right nutrition, active, smoke free and emotionally intelligent living.
I was surprised to see one such scientific study about chocolate for heart benefits – in this specific study - - - chocolate was given to
healthy smokers (!!) to evaluate the role of chocolate on smoking induced damage of endothelium. The study concluded that chocolate is beneficial to reduce the injury to endothelium in smokers – thus it helps in preventing heart disease.
Beware of Market Driven Research..
This is the true irony of our age – consumerism has penetrated even health related research. Market influences the research, its methodology, data collection and interpretation of ‘scientific’ data.
Chocolate and tobacco both are billion dollar industries. And these are capable of influencing chocolate and health benefits related research.
Just by paying little more than usual attention to above example about chocolate to reduce the smoking induced endothelial damage – you can see what is coming up.
In between the lines you can read:
“If you smoke, you must have chocolate to reduce smoking related heart damage.” . !! . Don’t fall in such traps.
My recommendation! ....Make comprehensive changes in your lifestyle if you want to prevent heart disease. Chocolate can not substitute wisdom.
Chocolate for heart is fine but remember - its antioxidant benefits are better packed in all phyto-chemicals liberally available in all fruits and vegetable. Wholesome food gives you plenty of antioxidants to help reduce your blood pressure and risk of heart attack.
So, stick to less than 7 gms per day of chocolate for heart.. and don’t feel guilty about it.
And don’t make chocolate an excuse to ignore other time tested life style recommendation for preventing a heart attack and
reversing heart disease
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