Keep Your Dark Chocolate Addiction
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When researchers published their findings that dark chocolate is good for the heart, I’m sure they didn’t mean as many chocolate bars as I could swallow. To be fair to you – I don’t think they specified. But now an Australian study clarifies just how much.

Using mathematical modeling, it says 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of dark chocolate a day reduces the odds of heart attacks and strokes in high risk people. That’s a medium sized bar containing at least 70 percent cocoa.

The study’s authors predict eating this amount of chocolate daily over a ten year period can prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events for every ten-thousand people. It reaffirms dark chocolate’s ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol because the cacao bean is high in flavonoids.

Don’t be confused by the term “cacao”, that’s the bean’s original name which comes from the Theobroma cacao tree. Over time, “cacao” became anglicized and was replaced with “cocoa”.

Processed cocoa products lose heart healthy flavonoids, so it’s important to look for chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa and free of unhealthy fats and sugar. Flavonoids are actually in many fruits and vegetables, and in tea, coffee, beer and wine, so you can get it from many sources. Studies suggest this anti-oxidant has antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties.

Antioxidants fight a byproduct of normal cellular activity that ends up damaging healthy cells, especially molecules that carry genetic information. This damage has been linked to cancer, aging, cardiovascular disease, ischemic injury, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The new study calculated that by investing just $42 per person per year on dark chocolate related health strategies, including advertising and promotion, can significantly reduce a population’s cardiovascular risks. That’s a sound investment to me!

 


For more information…

Sci-News.com is an independent source for the latest news on science. It is updated daily, and is brought to you by an international team of science editors and reporters. Their report on the Australian study of the health benefits of dark chocolate can be read here.

For additional information about the health benefits of chocolate, visit the following sites:

    Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention at the Cleveland Clinic

    Chocolate: Temptation or Health Food? at Intelihealth.com.

Flavenoids that are thought to play a key role in mediating the health benefits of chocolate are explained here.

Free radicals that are the very reactive and very damaging products of normal cellular activities are explained here.

Heart disease affects millions of Americans. For more information about heart disease and what you can do about it, please visit this page from the CDC.