Chocoholics can now devour their favourite sweets without feeling guilty. A recent study shows that savouring a square of dark chocolate every day has many health benefits.
The August issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource has revealed the benefits of dark chocolate. The benefits are thought to derive from flavonoids. Found in red wine, tea, certain vegetables and fruits in addition to dark chocolate, flavonoids is a naturally occurring antioxidant.
Robert Sheeler, M.D., a family physician at Mayo Clinic, remarked, “We think a lot of bad things that happen to the cardiovascular system are because the lining of the vessels cracks and becomes inflamed, setting the stage for plaques to form and rupture.”
Dr Sheeler mentions that a whole chocolate bar is not required to gain the health benefits. Just about 30 calories worth, that’s nearly a square, will provide the necessary benefits.
The study suggests that consumption of 6 grams of dark chocolate a day, nearly about a square lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 2 points each. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels may also be lowered by dark chocolate by 5 points. Associated with a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, the flavonoids in dark chocolate also have a beneficial effect on how the lining of the blood vessels function. In addition it sends “bad cholesterol” in the right direction.
Still, one shouldn’t forget that chocolates contain calories and fat. In general, as Dr Sheeler recommends, health benefits can be gained by chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cocoa. Typically, 15 percent to 25 percent cocoa is found in milk chocolate.