Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why You Should Not Avoid Chocolate?

Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from cocoa beans (also known as cacao beans or simply cacao or cocoa), and it is something that is liked by many people especially children.

Studies conducted earlier had shown cocoa-based products might lower blood pressure or improve blood flow. Scientists had also found that chocolate could reduce the rate of death linked to heart disease in healthy older men and post-menopausal women.

In a paper appeared in the September 2009’s issue of the ‘Journal of Internal Medicine’, researchers from of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston demonstrated that eating chocolate can help reduce the rate of mortality of heart attack.

According to them, it is the antioxidants in cocoa that are providing the life-saving benefit. Antioxidants have been known to protect against free radicals, which could damage cells when they accumulate in the body over time. Free radicals are believed to be partly responsible for heart disease, cancer and ageing process.

1,169 non-diabetic men and women, aged between 45 and 70 years old and situated in Stockholm during the early 1990, were tracked from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack. Before leaving the hospital, all the men and women were asked on what they ate over the previous year, including quantity of chocolate they consumed regularly.

3 months after discharge, the participants underwent a health examination, and after that, they were monitored for 8 years. The rate of fatal heart attack was found to be correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.

Those heart attack survivors who ate chocolate 2 or more times a week, their risk of dying from heart disease could be reduced by about 3 fold, compared with those never touch chocolate. Smaller quantities of consumption would offer less protection, but are still better than none.

The results, even after taking into account of other factors like alcohol consumption, obesity and smoking that might affect the outcome, held true for men and women and across all the age groups.

Undoubtedly, the new findings would support the growing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds.

But does this mean that people should start eating a lot of chocolate, especially those cocoa-rich sweets?

Frankly, this is not advisable! Sugar rich products would contribute to overweight, which can also bring along many serious medical disorders. So the best is to consume chocolate in small quantities, and if possible, eat unsweetened chocolate!

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