Lo and behold, chocolate can reduce your risk of heart disease! Here’s how

If you feel guilty about chocolates, then don’t. This humble sweet treat has many benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease.
lip balms
Nosh on chocolates for the sake of your heart. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shreya Gupta Published: 24 Jul 2020, 18:11 pm IST
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There is no denying that chocolates are delicious and addictive. With so much variety to choose from, it’s hard to resist this sweet temptation. But if you can’t help but love chocolate, then we have some good news for you. 

Because if a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology Research is to believed, then chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Yup, chocolate can be good for your heart health
The researchers analysed more than three lakhs participants and found that consuming chocolate more than once a week reduced the risk of developing coronary heart disease (a condition where the arteries get blocked by fatty substance build-ups) by 8% as compared to those who indulged less. Coronary disease reduces blood supply to the heart thus increasing the likelihood of heart attack.

The author of the paper, Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong of  Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, suggests that chocolate helps keep the heart’s blood vessels healthy.

The researchers, after analysing the results of six different studies spanning the last five decades, suggested that the nutrients found in the chocolates such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid, may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol.

chocolate and heart health
Make sure you practice moderation while indulging in that choco bar. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This isn’t the first study to point out the health benefits of chocolate
A previous study conducted by the researchers from Harvard University and Denmark over a period of 13 years found that chocolate also protects against a heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AF). The participants from this study who had two to six servings of chocolate per week were found to have a 20% lower rate of AF. However, if the servings were more than this, the positive effect of chocolate on AF dropped.

Another study published in the Journal of American Heart association in 2017 demonstrated that consumption of dark chocolate combined with cocoa and almonds improved lipid profiles and helped in lowering the bad cholesterol level (LDL) among people who are overweight or obese. 

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That said, not all chocolates are the same
Though the latest research from Texas doesn’t specify any particular type of chocolate that offers this heart-healthy edge, you should still avoid regular milk chocolates as they contain far too much sugar. Instead, opt for dark chocolates that have high cocoa content and less sugar, and are loaded with antioxidants.

Dr Krittanawong also added:

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Moderate amounts of chocolate seem to protect the coronary arteries but it’s likely that large quantities do not. The calories, sugar, milk, and fat in commercially available products need to be considered, particularly in diabetics and obese people.

What are the other benefits of chocolate?
When consumed in moderation, dark chocolate can provide you with much-needed energy during your periods. Chocolates are a rich source of iron and sugar which offers instant energy. It can also help you deal with menstrual cramps and sore muscles because of its magnesium content. 

So, feel free to relish your favourite chocolate—but in moderation!

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About the Author

Finding nirvana in good food, Shreya also loves reading books and is a die-hard Potterhead. Confident and motivated she's fun to be with. Plus food. Always. ...Read More

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