Who does not love chocolates? Everybody does but, chocolate and especially (75% and above) dark only a few of them. One needs to cultivate a taste for it. And, believe me, once you have developed that eating dark chocolate can be super beneficial.
How? Well, let me take you through the benefits ….
(1) Dark Chocolate Cuts Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
I recently read an article in an English Tabloid that said mentioned that dark chocolate is good for the heart.. Quoting from the article, according to one of the researchers Simin Liu, “The analysis found that Cocoa flavanol intake may reduce dyslipidemia insulin resistance and systematic inflammation, which are all major subclinical risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases”.
As per another new study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, eating flavanol-rich dark chocolate has been found to protect against the risk of heart disease and stroke by improving platelet function within two hours of consumption.
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health examined the effects of consumption of dark chocolate that was enriched with cocoa extract in the blood of 42 healthy volunteers, 26 women and 16 men. They compared platelet function of the participants who ate enriched dark chocolate with those who ate dark chocolate that contained a lower cocoa and flavanol content, and white chocolate.They found the dark chocolate enriched with flavan-3-ols significantly decreased platelet activation and aggregation in men, but only decreased platelet aggregation in women.
“Taken together, these findings support the notion that flavanol-rich foods, including cocoa products, may help to promote cardiovascular health,” Dr.Kelm said.
(2) Dark Chocolate helps in increasing endothelial function of SMOKERS…
The researchers studied smokers because their blood vessels tend to respond poorly to changes in blood flow, possibly related to impairments in how nitric oxide sends signals to the inner lining, the endothelium, of blood vessels. This impaired endothelial function is a marker for increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
A dozen smokers (six men and six women) in their early 30s, who did not have any known health problems, were enrolled in the double-blind crossover study to compare the effects of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols to a cocoa drink that tasted the same but contained very low levels of flavanols. Circulating nitric oxide levels and blood vessel responses (flow-mediated dilation) were measured before drinking the cocoa and again two hours later. Each participant drank flavanol-rich and flavanol-poor cocoa drinks during different testing sessions.There were significant increases in circulating nitric oxide and flow-mediated dilation after ingestion of drinks. These changes correlated with increases in flavanol metabolites. In addition, the improvements were reversed when the participants were given a drug (L-NMMA) that interferes with nitric oxide signalling, thus supporting the idea that the flavanol-rich cocoa drink produced its effects by influencing the nitric oxide system.
The researchers pointed out that the cocoa drink they used was specially processed to retain much higher levels of flavanols than are typically found in commercially-available cocoa drinks; so it is unlikely that drinking more hot chocolate would produce a similar effect.Nevertheless, the conclusion drawn from these results have to be interpreted with caution, because it is not known whether or not the chronic consumption of flavanol-rich foods leads to sustained increases in endothelial function and the prevention of future cardiovascular events. In particular, in smokers, it is unlikely that cocoa can completely attenuate the deleterious effects of continued smoking, the study says.
(3) Dark Chocolate helps in preventing the development of Atherosclerosis
A flavanol-rich drink is capable of increasing nitric oxide levels in the blood and reversing the detrimental effect of smoking on vascular adaptation. It remains to be seen whether the acute beneficial effect of a flavanol-rich drink translates into a long-term benefit, in terms of attenuating or preventing the development of atherosclerosis.
(4) Dark Chocolate helps in improved thinking, decreased appetite, obesity, as well as type-2 diabetes.
Cocoa, the basic ingredient of chocolate, is one of the most flavanol-rich foods around. That’s good for chocolate lovers because previous research has shown that flavanols in other foods such as grapes and tea can help fight weight gain and type-2 diabetes. But, not all flavanols, which are a type of antioxidant, are created equal. Cocoa has several different kinds of these compounds. Researchers found that adding one particular set of compounds, known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs), to the food made the biggest difference in keeping the weight down if on high-fat diets. They also improved glucose tolerance, which could potentially help prevent type-2 diabetes. Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses.
5.Dark Chocolate helps in Lowering blood pressure
In particular dark chocolate which contains higher levels of flavanols than milk chocolate, may protect against the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, blood flow, and improving blood lipid levels. The link between cocoa and blood pressure stems from the discovery that the indigenous people of San Blas Island in Central American, who drink flavanol-rich cocoa drinks every day, have normal blood pressure regardless of age. However, flavanol concentrations in cocoa and chocolate products vary according to cocoa processing procedures and types of chocolate, so it is difficult to establish the optimal dosage for an effect.
So go ahead and be a Chocoholic!!!!