Why One Candy a Day Could Improve New York’s Heart Health
Since its inception over 3,000 years ago, chocolate has cemented itself as everyone’s favorite snack. Last year an estimated 3.1 billion pounds of chocolate was consumed in the United States alone and with the latest news of its potential health benefits, you can expect that number to rise considerably.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American College is making the case that eating 50 grams of chocolate everyday could reduced risk of a stroke in women. But not just any chocolate, dark chocolate. The study was conducted with patients consuming 50 grams for 15 days of either dark chocolate (70% cocoa) or white chocolate (0% cocoa). Their findings? A strong correlation between large consumptions of dark chocolate and decreased risk of stroke and other health complications.
They found that Cocoa contains a compound called ‘flavanols’ which is present in berries, grapes and apples that contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These flavanols help counteract rogue oxygen molecules that damage healthy cells and are known to cause at least 60 different heart problems ranging from heart ailments to cancer. These findings, which were presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego, US, concluded that compared to those who ate white chocolate, dark chocolate patients had lower blood sugar levels, improved LDL (bad cholesterol) and improved HDL (good cholesterol).
This wasn’t the only study conducted about the potential health benefits of chocolate. Scientists at the Karolinska Institute conducted a 10-year observation comparing chocolate consumption and their correlation with strokes in women between the age of 49 and 83. Published in October of 2011, they found that women eating 66.5 grams a week (2.4 ounces) were 20% less likely to have a stroke then women who never or rarely ate chocolate. “Only women in the highest quartile of chocolate consumption (median 66.5 g/week) had a significantly reduced risk of stroke, suggesting that higher intakes are necessary for a potential protective effect. The reason for the stronger association observed for hemorrhagic stroke than for cerebral infarction is unclear” said Susan Larsson, PhD.
However, before you go indulge yourself in chocolate there is some skepticism around these studies and these findings are still considered preliminary until colleagues have a chance to scrutinize the data. Chocolate is high in calories and could lead to weight gain and other complication. Another is that causation doesn’t necessarily mean correlation. One example of this is the famous ‘correlation’ between increase in ice cream sales and the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply. The example fails to recognize the importance of time and temperature in relationship to ice cream sales and drowning. More people swim in the summer and more people eat ice cream in the summer so logically both will happen more often. And while we don’t know quite yet how strong these correlations are between dark chocolate and one’s heart health we do know one thing for certain. That America’s love for chocolate will never fade.
If your interested in learning more we suggest you take a look at this article.