You Can Keep Your Heart and Brain Healthy with the Right Chocolate, Scientists Say
Written by: Kat Gal
“Chocolate is a serious thing,” said Counsellor Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
You may or may not be a Star Trek fan, but I bet you agree with her. Chocolate is serious business. It’s a delicious indulgence.
AND (drumroll, please…)
Chocolate has been reported to help maintain your cardiovascular health.
Okay, it’s not chocolate itself, but the cacao in chocolate that’s the superhero. Chocolate contains cocoa flavanols, natural compounds that are incredibly beneficial for your heart and keep your blood pressure in check. They help your blood vessels cope with aging and stiffening arteries and also reduce your heart’s workload.
The Research Behind It
According to Malte Kelm, a professor of cardiology, pulmonary disease and vascular medicine at the University Hospital Duesseldorf, some cardiovascular diseases like cerebrovascular accidents are on the rise, because our population is getting older.
Dr. Kelm lead 2 research studies in order to examine the possible positive effects of cocoa flavanols on the blood vessels.
- In his first study, two groups of healthy males drank either a flavanol-containing or a non-flavanol-containing drink twice a day for two weeks. The group with the flavanol drinks showed significant enhancement in their blood pressure, as well as healthy dilation of blood vessels.
- His second study involved 100 healthy middle-aged men and women who were instructed to drink flavanol-containing or non-cocoa flavonol containing drinks (depending on their assigned group) twice a day for two weeks. The cocoa flavanol group showed improved cholesterol, blood pressure and reduced arterial stiffness, which are all related to cardiovascular disease.
Both studies indicated that cocoa flavanols are good for your cardiovascular health.
What’s Happening Due To These Findings
According to Discovery News, because of these findings, some chocolate pills are in development for supplementing.
Giulio Maria Pasinetti, a neurology professor, shares the increasing interest for developing a cocoa extract and dietary chocolate to promote a person’s overall health. She says that cocoa is also known to prevent neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s.
But, if a cocoa supplement were to be developed, it is important to consider the method of how cocoa is being processed in order to extract 90 percent of the healthy phytochemicals from the chocolates. Theoretically this is possible, but some regions where cocoa is grown face problems with having limited cocoa and some beans that might have been predisposed to disease.
The overall success of the idea will depend on the cocoa growers, wholesalers and biomedical organizations.
What Do You Think?
Surely the research sounds promising and chocolate supplements will certainly be more tasty than other supplements, but one may wonder if it makes sense to create a chocolate supplement…
Shouldn’t we just focus on our raw chocolate, cacao powder in our smoothies and raw cacao brownies instead to get the healing benefits of chocolate?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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