Cacao Shown Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cacao, or at best dark chocolate, has been shown in a review of seven different prior studies to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
Cacao, as a plant-based food, has a high content of polyphenols and flavonols. While the popular news media headlines have reported that this studied had concluded that the consumption of all different kinds of chocolate produced the same healthy effect, that really was NOT true at all. The researchers were simply unable to break the effects down by the different kinds of chocolate.
"Higher levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a reduction of about a third in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders in our meta-analysis. This beneficial association was significant for any cardiovascular disease (37% reduction), diabetes (31% reduction, based on one publication), and stroke (29% reduction), but no significant association was found in relation to heart failure."
Believe me, there is a whole lot of difference between the taste of cacao and that of rich milk chocolate. Chocolate studies at best are usually referring to dark chocolate, European chocolate, or what in the States is being sold as cooking chocolate which has a rather distinctive bitter taste to it. Milk when added to chocolate in other studies has, also, been shown to nullify the health effects of dark chocolate. People in Europe have a long history of liking dark chocolate which is definitely NOT the case in the United States.
Superfood Cacao - Dark Chocolate has Health Benefits
There is good reason for this. The high sugar, fructose, fat, and calorie content of commercially available milk chocolate in the United States could not possible be healthy for you in large amounts. Excessive calorie consumption obviously leads to weight gain. Caloric Restriction rather than excess is what has been shown to prolong life. While excessive sugar and fat consumption has been shown by other research studies to be bad for your LDL cholesterol levels. Added sugar is just plain bad for you.
Mechanisms of action that might possibly account for the beneficial effects of dark chocolate "probably accrued through increasing the bioavailability of nitric oxide, which subsequently might lead to improvements in endothelial function, reductions in platelet function, and additional beneficial effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and blood lipids."
Follow the links listed in references below to view online for FREE the full text of the entire research study.
- Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis.
Buitrago-Lopez A, Sanderson J, Johnson L, ...
BMJ. 2011 Aug 26;343:d4488. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4488. Review.
- Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons.
Grassi D, Lippi C, Necozione S, ...
Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;81(3):611-4.