Health Update: Chocolate Cuts Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer

This is good news for all chocolate lovers. A new study shows that eating chocolate makes for a healthy heart.

Published in the Heart journal, the study is entitled, Habitual Chocolate Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease among Healthy Men and Women, the result of an important collaboration among researchers affiliated to prestigious universities and medical institutions in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands.

According to the study, polyphenols found in cocoa beans help in the protection of the heart against cardiovascular disease – the world’s leading cause of death.

“What we’re learning is that polyphenols … seem to improve the health of our blood vessels,” states Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at the Tufts University.

Researchers studied the records of 20,000 individuals in England for more than a decade.
“Among those in the top tier of chocolate consumption, 12 percent developed or died of cardiovascular disease during the study, compared to 17.4 percent of those who didn’t eat chocolate,” remarks Howard LeWine of the Harvard Health Blog.

And those who were regularly consuming 16 to 100 grams of chocolate per day gained the utmost health benefits.

But polyphenols in chocolate and their functions need further study, according to another expert.

“It doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between chocolate and reduced risk of heart disease and stroke,” comments Jo Ann Manson, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her team is launching a big clinical trial of the bioactive compounds in cocoa beans.

“We’ll be testing them in a capsule form,” Manson adds. “So, [none of] the sugar, fat and calories that you get from a candy bar.”

Chocolate was first propagated in the 1900 B.C., by people of the pre-Olmec cultures. Cocoa beans were produced into paste through the process of fermentation, roasting, and grounding to make the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs’ favorite chocolate drink. Cacao was so loved by these ancient people that the food was even worshipped due to what they believed were its magical and aphrodisiac qualities.