Dark Chocolate Can Keep You Heart Healthy

Planning dark chocolate into your every day diet could help prevent heart diseases, according to a study realized by a team of Swiss researchers. The Swiss researchers say that the antioxidants from dark chocolate could prevent arterial plaque, making it less likely to travel and cause a stroke or heart attack. Additionally, procyanidins can trigger the production of nitric oxide, which helps keep arteries flexible and increases blood flow to the heart.

The research team came to this conclusion after testing on a group of 20 volunteers, which were smokers without health problems. The subjects were asked not to eat any types of aliments rich in antioxidants such as apples, onion and cabbage and after that were given 40 grams of different types of chocolate.

Two hours after consuming the chocolate, the echo-graph showed that dark chocolate, with at least 74% cocoa, significantly improved the blood flow. Additionally, ulterior tests showed that the risk of encountering blood accidents and blockages has been decreased to half of the initial risk. However, white chocolate did not achieve similar effects. The researches that performed the study say that dark chocolate contains a greater quantity of antioxidants to a gram than any other products known for their high content of antioxidants like red vine, green tea or blueberries.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavonoids called flavonols, which include procyanidins, epicatechins, and catechins, explains Harold Schmitz, PhD. Studies have shown that people with high blood levels of flavonoids have lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. Studies show, that people who ate a diet rich in cocoa powder and dark chocolate had lower oxidation levels of bad LDL cholesterol, higher blood antioxidant levels, and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol.

Chocolate is indeed an aliment that has varied antioxidant elements in it. And eating just a few squares a day reduces your risk of hardening of arteries / or blockage. But we shouldn’t ignore that dark chocolate also contains fats and glucoses in huge quantities causing weight gain if excessively consumed.

The best thing to do is to adjust your chocolate portion to your actual weight and activity level, age and metabolism. If you are physically active throughout the day you probably can consume reasonable amounts of dark chocolate without ever fearing weight gain. Ask your doctor for advise if you have health problems or if you are not sure.

Recipe: Soothing Hot Chocolate
Fill a mug with 1 cup of 1% milk and microwave on medium until hot. Carefully remove, and then add two small squares of dark chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate melts. Enjoy..

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Dagmar Wilson, webmaster: http://www.dietivity.com