European Heart Journal featured the most awaited results of an eight year study by the German researchers (German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal, Germany) who are well known to be the first to research the positive effects of chocolate. Almost 20,000 participants who were given periodic queries played the major role for the success of the medical studies. It claimed that by eating 6 grams of chocolate which is equivalent of one square per day could lower the risk of stroke and heart failure by 39 percent.
Furthermore, research based evidence was conducted to 1,169 non-diabetic patients who had suffered from heart attack. Continuous monitoring and health examinations were done for the next eight years. The September 2009 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine revealed the results that the more chocolate a heart attack survivor consumed, the lower the risk of dying from the next attack. However, Dr. Mukamal of Sweden does not encourage this to all his patients suffered from weight problem such as obesity. Only those who have no weight issues can eat chocolate exceeding the ideal amount to be consumed per day.
What makes it healthier?
Chocolate is indeed a rich source of bio-active compounds. The flavonoid which is found in the cocoa has antioxidant that protects against cell damage (8x more than antioxidant found in strawberries). Also, it may enhance blood flow to the brain that has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and may help to relax blood pressure by producing nitric oxide and balance hormones in the body.
However, consumers need to check and be selective on what types of chocolate available in the market that provides health advantages.
Which chocolates are good for the heart and which are not?
- Darker chocolate - has natural unsweetened cocoa powder and is less processed. It contains cocoa phenols that are known for lowering blood pressure. Any unsweetened dark chocolate is healthier than those which are sweetened that already contain white sugar instead of dehydrated cane juice or raw cane sugar. Studies also shown that it can lessen the bad cholesterol by 10 percent. In 2008, one study discovered that daily dose of about 6.7 grams of dark chocolate can reduces levels of protein link with inflammation in the blood that caused the heart attack.
- Milk chocolate and white chocolate - it does not contain coco beans and may hinder the absorption of antioxidant and therefore it only counteracts the potential benefits that can get from eating chocolate. There was a study conducted to group (6 men and 7 women) of aged 55-64 who have mild high blood pressure.
Half of them were given 100-gram of dark chocolate to be taken everyday for two weeks and half of them got the white chocolate. It turned out that those who have consumed the dark chocolate had dropped the blood pressure by average of 5 point for systolic (the top number) and of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).
Does it contain too much calories?
The exciting truth is that dark chocolates will not impact your cholesterol because the fats are 1/3 oleic acid (monounsaturated fat found in olive oil), 1/3 stearic acid (saturated fat but has neutral effect on cholesterol) and 1/3 palmitic acid (saturated fat that raises cholesterol). It therefore concludes that only 1/3 of it can be bad for you.
Please take some time to look for the amount calories you will consume because the recommended to be taken is only 6 grams or 1 square of chocolate and contains only 200 calories and cut the rest other sweets per day.
Remember that the extra bitter taste of the chocolate is much more favorable to your well being. Now that you have realized the truth about your much loved snack gratifying your sweet tooth, just indulge with your favorite chocolate in moderation.