Chocolate Is Healthy, After All!

 
21-Aug-2012 by

Flavanoids 1Are you still doubtful about whether chocolate really is a health food or not? Well, there is fresh evidence to tell you that consuming dark chocolate on a daily basis can lower your blood pressure. There is a study that says onions are good to curb your high blood pressure. Now, now, isn't chocolate much more better option than onions? There you go, do you need any more reason to pick up that bar of chocolate and take a bite?

 

High Blood Pressure

It is an evident fact that high blood pressure has emerged as a significant risk factor for individuals. It is a factor for cardiovascular disease and causes 37% of cardiovascular-related deaths in the West. This led researchers to look for foods that could bring a fundamental change in the body composition, thereby, helping individuals reduce their vulnerability to cardiovascular condition. It is during the course of this research that it was found that consuming dark chocolate or cocoa powder on a daily basis would lead to slight decrease in the body blood pressure.

 

The Research

The research, conducted through 20 trials, which incorporated the meta-analysis of data related to 856 people, lasted between two and 18 weeks. The diet of these 856 individuals contained 30 to 1,080 milligrams of flavanols, consumed through 3 to 100gms of chocolate, daily. After conducting the meta-analysis, it was found that there was a decrease of 2 to 3 millimeters of mercury in the blood pressure among those who consumed flavanol-containing chocolate on a daily basis.

 

What is Flavanol?

For those not in the know, this is an antioxidant, found in abundance in food items like tea, cranberries, red wine, and, of course, chocolate. It is these flavanoids, which are responsible for the heart-friendly benefits of chocolate. Epidemiological studies before this one have already indicated that cocoa-rich products are helpful in promoting reduction of blood pressure. The current study corroborates the same fact.

 

A 'Small' Reduction? Flavanoids 2

The researchers behind this study, however, are downplaying their results. Karin Ried, study researcher, stated, "Although we don't yet have evidence for any sustained decrease in blood pressure, the small reduction we saw over the short term might complement other treatment options and might contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease." The researchers admit that they did not encounter any significant decrease in blood pressure during the trials, but they insist that even low consumption of flavanoids foods like chocolate, can lead to benefit in blood pressure condition. Ried further states, "We'll also need to see long term trials, including effects on the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, before we can come to conclusions regarding clinical outcomes and potential side effects of long-term consumption. These trials should use flavanol-free products in the control groups to eliminate any potential effects of low-dose flavanol on blood pressure."

 

However, before you head for your next chocolate bar, be informed that you cannot pig out on just any chocolate. The helpful flavanoids are present in abundance in dark chocolate or cocoa powder. At least that is what the research is based on.

Image Courtesy: thirdage, truehealthyproducts

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