A recent study suggests that consuming dark chocolate might lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Chocolate has been widely touted in recent years for compounds such as flavanols, believed to promote heart health. Studies have shown a link between flavanol intake and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but until now, few controlled experiments have directly measured the effect of chocolate consumption on cardiovascular health.
Researchers from San Diego State University asked participants to consume one serving (50 grams, or about 1.7 ounces) of either dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa) or white chocolate (0 percent cocoa) for 15 days. They then compared the participants’ pre- and post-study blood pressures and circulating glucose and cholesterol levels.
The team found that participants who had consumed dark chocolate had lower levels of blood glucose and “bad” or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and higher levels of “good” or HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, as compared to participants who had consumed white chocolate, which contains only small amounts of flavanols.
The findings suggest that consumption of chocolate with a high cocoa content might thus lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the authors noted that chocolate should be consumed in moderation because it contains high amounts of saturated fats and calories.
The study was presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego on April 24
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