Eating Chocolate Every Day May Be Good For You

07/01/2009 - News

Eating Chocolate Every Day May Be Good For You

By: June Chen, MD

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Many studies have been published in science journals suggesting the benefits of red wine in reducing the mortality associated with heart disease. The potential benefits have been attributed to components called flavonoids and other antioxidants.

In the April issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing cocoa flavonols and plant sterols might support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure .

Previous research has suggested that cocoa flavonols improve the function of blood vessels. Plant sterols are essential components of plant membranes that have been associated with reductions in cholesterol levels. In this study, the researchers recruited 49 adults with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure ≤ 159/99 mm Hg. After eating an American Heart Association (low fat/low salt) diet for two weeks, the participants were instructed to eat 2 cocoa flavonol-containing dark chocolate bars either with or without added plant sterols. The researchers found that, after 4 weeks of regularly eating plant sterol-fortified dark chocolate bars, participants had lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

Larger studies are needed to investigate these potential benefits, as well as the long-term effects of daily chocolate consumption. Also, keep in mind that flavonols and plant sterols can also be found in several fruits and vegetables!

Source

J. Nutr. 138:725-731, April 2008

Created on: 04/04/2008
Reviewed on: 07/01/2009

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