Unadulterated Pure Dark Chocolate
Health benefits of sugar-free dark chocolate
17 July 2008
Good news for chocolate lovers – another study has found that your favourite food may have benefits for your heart.
Published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study found that consuming both dark chocolate and liquid cocoa can improve the health of blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
However, the American researchers say sugar-free chocolate may offer the best health benefits.
The findings come after a team from the Yale University School of Medicine studied 45 overweight but otherwise healthy adults, with an average age of 53 years, who randomly ate solid dark chocolate, sugar-free cocoa, sugared cocoa and bars containing no cocoa.
The researchers found that both the solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa significantly improved endothelial function, although when people ate the sugar-free products, their improvement was almost three times greater than the regular cocoa.
The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessel walls and the loss of proper endothelial function is a contributor to blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis).
The researchers also found that blood pressure decreased after people ate the dark chocolate and sugar-free cocoa, but not the sugared cocoa.
The study concludes that eating both solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa can improve blood vessel function and blood pressure in overweight adults, while sugar-free cocoa preparations may have a greater effect.
However, it should be noted that this was only a small study and did not include people with diabetes. It also does not suggest changing current dietary recommendations.
- Faridi et al. Acute dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion and endothelial function: a randomised controlled crossover trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008; 88 (1): 58-63.
A Chocolate Hint:
Generally, science has found that natural dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate. Why, because of the way that cocoa powder and chocolate syrups are manufactured removes most flavonoids.
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