Chocolate is actually one of the healthiest things you can eat for your heart. It’s been shown to have positive effects on many aspects of health, but this article is only going to discuss chocolates health benefits with regards to your heart. It’s important to remember that you should try and stick with dark chocolate. Most studies are done using dark chocolate. It’s the cacao in the chocolate that is beneficial. In milk chocolate, the excess sugar and the milk are not responsible for the healthy benefits that you hear often attributed to chocolate.
Chocolate Can Reduce The Risk Of Stroke
There was a study conducted in Sweden that studied a group of men and ascertained the correlation between chocolate consumption and stroke.
Another study, this one done at the University of Aberdenen and conducted on both men and women, found a correlation between increased dark chocolate consumption and a reduced risk of stroke. This study was done on approximately 20 thousand participants.
The best results were seen by individuals who are up to 100g of chocolate a day. Ironically, they also tended to have the lowest blood pressure, and were not overweight.
Chocolate Can Raise “Good Cholesterol”
Another great thing about chocolate is that it can raise the ratio of good cholesterol vs bad cholesterol. As you recall, HDL is the “good cholesterol” and LDL is the “bad cholesterol”. Well, studies have found that when you eat dark chocolate it can reduce the amount of LDL, or bad, cholesterol. This is most likely because dark chocolate is rich in compounds known as flavonoids. These are antioxidants. Much has been made about antioxidants benefits with regards cancer, but this study was looking at cholesterol only. The Scientists found that both dark chocolate and cocoa powder reduced the LDL levels in people.
Improve Blood Circulation
This is an interesting study that was done Sapienza University in Rome that was done on patients who had PAD (peripheral artery disease). One group of participants were given 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate that was at least 85 percent dark. A second group was given chocolate that was only 40 percent. The researchers wanted to see if it would improve the patients ability to walk on treadmills because people with PAD have difficulty walking.
They found that not only did those who ate the dark chocolate have an improved ability to walk on the treadmill, they also had improved blood circulation. The researches concluded that the polyphenols in the dark chocolate increased the amount of nitric oxide in the blood, which was responsible for creating better blood circulation. The nitric oxide helps blood vessels dilate, which is beneficial for people with this condition.
Unfortunately, the same result was not seen in those peope in the study that consumed milk chocolate.