It’s not a coincidence that we shower loved ones with chocolate in a heart shaped box for Valentine’s Day. Recent research confirms what Cupid already knew – that dark chocolate does your heart good.
Harvard researchers analyzed 21 separate scientific studies on cocoa, a key component in dark chocolate, and concluded that cocoa consumption is associated with cardiovascular as well as other health benefits.
Dr. Eric Ding of the Harvard Medical School tells Newsmax Health that his extensive research reveals that cocoa lowers blood pressure, improves the health and elasticity of blood vessels, and improves cholesterol levels. Because it improves blood flow, the benefits seem also to extend to the brain and have important implications on learning and memory.
Centuries of Proof
“The Kuna people of coastal Panama drink cocoa water each and every day, and they never seem to have high blood pressure associated with aging as we do in most of the Western world,” he says. “They also have a much lower incidence of cancer. So we gathered data from several studies and found such credible evidence from many diverse and independent scientific sources that we feel we reached the tipping point on cocoa’s extraordinary health benefits. This is no longer a myth based on anecdotal evidence.”
Historically, cocoa has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years since the time of the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. More than 100 therapeutic uses for chocolate and cocoa have been noted, including the treatment of fatigue, fever, angina and heart pain, kidney and bowel complaints, and shortness of breath.
Dr. Ding explains that it’s the flavonoids in cocoa that protect against disease. Cocoa contains three types of flavonoids: procyanidin, catechin, and epicatechin.
A study recently published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that the epicatechin in cocoa lowers blood pressure. Another study from San Diego State University showed that people who consumed dark chocolate had lower blood sugar levels and healthier cholesterol ratios than people who ate other forms of chocolate.
excellent reasons for drinking hot chocolate and eating candy for holidays and all winter
Just remember it is the dark chocolate that is best and that is a great idea, Sheila, medical proof that I can eat chocolate. Problem, I am not a huge chocolate enthusiast. Now if they could just determine that bread was just as good for a person I would be home free.