News coming from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York suggests that eating a moderate amount of chocolate can have significant health benefits. By analyzing several studies involving approximately 575.000 individuals, research shows that the equivalent of three bars of chocolate a month could lower the risk of heart disease by 13 percent.
Lead researchers Chayakrit Krittanawong, MD, postgraduate of internal medicine explained: “I believe that chocolate is an important dietary source of flavonoids which are associated with reducing inflammation and increasing good cholesterol. Flavonoids can increase levels of nitric oxide in the body, which widens the blood vessels and can improve circulation”.
Those natural compounds within cocoa – flavonoids are known to boost blood vessel health and have been linked with lower cardiovascular incidence. They can be found in high concentrations in other dietary sources too, like black tea, citrus fruit, peanuts, blueberries, just to name a few.
Dr. Krittanawong warns though that moderation is key, and having too much chocolate can actually have an opposite result, increasing the risk of heart failure by 17 percent. He noted that some products have high levels of saturated fats and in general, dark chocolate is recommended.
Findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, detailing the process of selection and the criteria used. From 224 articles found on several databases and registers, they settled on 5 which accounted for 24,649 heart failure events. DerSimonian and Laird random effects models were used to calculate levels.
Having a sweet tooth is not that bad, but go for dark chocolate and remember not to overindulge.