Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chocolate Might Help You Lower Your Cholesterol!

Who does not like chocolate? People, especially ladies, tend to eat more chocolate when they were in bad mood. But many reports had linked eating chocolate to weight gain that might lead to many medical disorders including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

In a paper published on May 26, 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing argued that eating chocolate could help reduce the cholesterol levels. Their theory, however, only applied to people already had risk factors for heart disease and who consumed in modest amounts.

After analyzing 8 trials involving 215 people, they found that eating cocoa would reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol by about 6 mg/dL and cut the total cholesterol by the same amount. Further analysis showed that only people who ate small amounts of cocoa (an amount containing 260 milligrams of polyphenols or less) had their cholesterol levels lowered, and no effect was shown in people who ate more.

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, chocolate and red wine. A 1.25-ounce bar of milk chocolate contains about 300 milligrams of polyphenols.

While healthy people did not benefit from consuming cocoa, people with heart disease risk factors like diabetes had their LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol level reduced by around 8 mg/dL each.

However, researchers suggested more rigorous randomized trials with longer follow-up should be carried out in future research so as to resolve the uncertainty about the clinical effectiveness.

In fact, several studies suggesting that chocolate might be good for the health had been conducted before. A study on 19,300 people, which was released in March 2010, suggested that people who consumed the most chocolate had lower blood pressure and were less likely to suffer stroke or heart attach over the next 10 years.

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