WHY CHOCOLATE COULD BE RECIPE FOR HEALTHY HEART
Researchers say eating chocolate could benefit the hearts of some people
Saturday March 3,2012
By Jo Wiley
A FEW squares of dark chocolate could help stave off heart disease, according to a new report.
Scientists have suspected for some time that a small amount of cocoa-rich chocolate could be good for you because it is high in antioxidants.
Now researchers say they have found clear evidence that eating chocolate could benefit the hearts of some people.
Their study, which combined the results of 42 clinical rather than observational trials, found that people fed chocolate or cocoa also had improved blood vessel function and a dip in their insulin levels.
On average, chocolate lovers had a few points knocked off their blood pressure. Researcher Lee Hooper, of Norwich Medical School, said: “My takeaway message would be that if people like dark chocolate, then eating a little in place of other ‘treat’ foods is fine and may be beneficial. However, the evidence is not yet good enough to suggest that we should all be doing this.”
The paper suggests that there may be heart health benefits from consumption of cocoa or dark chocolate, but these findings are not conclusive
Previous research has shown that dark chocolate inhibits an enzyme that raises blood pressure. And it also contains health-boosting flavonoids found in nuts, soy, tea and wine.
High-quality dark chocolate is made with between 64 and 85 per cent cocoa solids, which retain the flavonoids.
Victoria Taylor, at the British Heart Foundation, warned: “This review, though interesting, is not a cue to overindulge our sweet tooth. The paper suggests that there may be heart health benefits from consumption of cocoa or dark chocolate, but these findings are not conclusive.
“What also remains unanswered is whether these benefits outweigh the negative aspects of chocolate on our health from the saturated fat and calories that will also come with it.
“So, if you like chocolate, keeping it to small amounts as part of a balanced diet is still the best way to keep your heart healthy and your taste buds satisfied.” The study is in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.