While chocolate is regularly eaten for the pleasure, recentstudies show there are potential positive health effects of chocolate use.However, only dark chocolate has such an effect on our bodies while the othertypes of chocolate, being that it's an energy-rich food, increase the risk ofbecoming overweight causing a great number of health problems and conditions.
Dark chocolate and high blood pressure
Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, but only if thepatient maintains a calorie balance in the diet. Increased consumption of darkchocolate calls for eating less of other energy-rich foods. Dark chocolate hasa very high cacao level reaching from 60 percent to more than 75 percent. A substance called epicatechin, presentin cocoa, helps modestly reduce blood pressure due to the daily consuming diet.Studies show that consuming dark chocolate lowers the chances of a heart attackand even lowers the risk of death in patients that already survived a heart attack.Furthermore, results show no changes in cholesterol level in patients that useddark chocolate in large amounts. It may even help withfood cravings for those who want to lose some weight.
Antioxidants in chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants - chemicals thatprevent the oxidation of other compounds by reducing the level of freeradicals. However, if consumed with milk it may lose this significant healtheffect. Recent findings indicate that milk may influence negatively theabsorption of antioxidants from chocolate and thus eliminate positive effectsof dark chocolate consumption.
There are many short term studies on dark chocolateconsumption and its possible benefits on humans. Evidence from these studiesshow promising findings. However, long-term studies are necessary to determine possiblepositive effects in the prevention of chronic diseases.
One of the most promising studies has found a significantdrop in blood pressure in patients who treated themselves toone 100-gram darkchocolate bar a day. Their health improved notably over a two-week period.
What kind of chocolate to choose?
Dark chocolate is rich in cocoa phenols. Plant phenols, richantioxidants, such as those found in apples, onions, soybeans, blueberries,cranberries, green and black tea and red wine. The higher the concentration ofcocoa, the darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants in the product. Chocolate withat least 60 percent cocoa solids might be a good choice. Eatingmore dark chocolate can have great health effects but only while balancing theextra calories and eating less of other things.