Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Planning to give your Valentine some chocolate? Make it dark chocolate and you'll be helping more than your relationship… you'll also be helping their heart. 

What is it about dark chocolate that makes it so heart healthy?

 "There is a lot of science behind the cocoa bean and a substance called flavanol," explained Jared Bunch, MD, electrophysiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. "Flavanol is also in things we look at as healthy, like grapes, apples, blackberries and legumes and has been extensively studied regarding its heart-related benefits."
Research has shown that consuming four to eight ounces of 75% dark chocolate per day can be good for your heart. But what are the specific benefits of consuming flavanols? 
Helps How We Respond to Stress
When people get stressed, the body responds by releasing chemicals into the blood stream (cortisol, epinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and norepinephrine) that raises the blood pressure. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol and epinephrine.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that consumption of cocoa increases nitric oxide, which is a naturally occurring chemical in our body that prompts the blood vessels to dilate. This simple process lowers blood pressure.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol - HDL (good) and LDL (bad). Flavanols reduce LDL cholesterol and can increase HDL cholesterol and since dark chocolate is high in flavanols, consuming the treat can also lower your cholesterol. 
Helps Stability of Injured Vessels
Cocoa may help stabilize blood vessels that have been injured by plaque build up over time, thus reducing the likelihood of blood clots forming that could cause a heart attack or stroke. 

Source : Intermountain Health/ Dr. Bunch

No comments:

Post a Comment