Recent studies have suggested that chocolate can be good for your heart. Chocolate can be a tool in bolstering heart health and avoiding heart disease. However, there are a few caveats, such as the type of chocolate you choose and how much you eat. Also, there is no evidence that chocolate consumption can reduce a person's risk of an irregular heartbeat. Read on to find out the delicious details.
Chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Antioxidants help protect the cardiovascular system, reduce inflammation, and fight off diseases. They act as damage control for the heart and blood vessels, and they may help decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, flavonols can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Flavonols also improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and less able to clot.
Before you head to the nearest convenience store and reach for a candy bar, remember that the heart will only benefit from chocolate in which the main ingredient is cocoa. Chocolates that are processed and contain too much sugar will only lead to more health and heart problems. Raw cocoa has a much more bitter flavor than sweet or milk chocolate, which is why most commercial chocolate bars are infused with fat and sugar to make them tastier. Most of the popular and processed chocolate candies and bars contain minimal amounts of cocoa that provide almost no health benefit.
Many people think that the cocoa butter present in many chocolates is bad for you. However, this is not true at all. Eating certain fats and oils like cocoa butter, in moderation, is not detrimental to overall health. However, many large candy companies have replaced the cocoa butter in their products with vegetable oil, which is not as healthy.
The Good News
You can still get heart-healthy benefits from some dark chocolates that are sold commercially. As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the better it will be for you. Try to go for a chocolate bar that is at least 70% cocoa. However, it's important to remember that doctors still are not prescribing chocolate as a treatment. The best way to fight heart disease is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly.
More Information about Heart Disease
It is recommended to eat chocolate sparingly. Chocolate does not need to be incorporated into your everyday diet in order to gain the benefits that it provides. Click on the following link to find out how to deal with irregular heartbeat.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2015). Heart Health Benefits of Chocolate. Retrieved December 21, 2015, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate
- LeWine, H. (2015). Sweet dreams: eating chocolate prevents heart disease. Retrieved December 21, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sweet-dreams-eating-chocolate-prevents-heart-disease-201506168087