Home Health Eating dark chocolate is good for health. What it contains and...

Eating dark chocolate is good for health. What it contains and how it reduces the risk of vascular accidents


Some cultures added sugar and milk to chocolate. There are still people who consume cocoa in a traditional way and it has sparked a debate, namely whether chocolate can be good for health.

The Kuna Indians, for example, who live on the San Blas Islands in Panama, have low blood pressure that does not increase with age, so there is a low chance of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer. These Indians tend to die of old age, says Marji McCullough, scientific director for epidemiological research at the American Cancer Society.

Contrary to the scientific consensus that excess salt can raise blood pressure, the diet of these Indians contains as much salt as that of the average American.

To find out exactly what they consume each day, Dr. McCullough visited the Kuna Indians and discovered that they consumed around four cups of cocoa beans mixed with water and small amounts of sugar every day.

But McCullough can’t say for sure that the health of the Kuna Indians is due to drinking cocoa — especially since they eat twice as much fruit and four times as much fish compared to the diet of the average person in the US or other countries. In addition, they live a more active lifestyle than those in the West.

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What the studies say

Many other observational studies have looked at the heart benefits of dark chocolate, but these may be biased because people who eat chocolate more often tend to worry less about their weight, says JoAnn Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In another study, researchers looked at the diets and health of 20,000 people and found that by eating up to 100g of chocolate a day — including milk chocolate — there was a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. , writes the BBC.

Later, another large study was based on the suspicion that the potential health benefits could be explained by the high level of flavonoids (plant compounds found in berries and tea) in cocoa.

The scientists used supplements instead of real cocoa because the concentration of flavonoids can vary greatly between different brands of chocolate, depending on harvesting, manufacturing and processing, says Manson, the principal investigator on the study.

Dark chocolate can have up to four times more flavonoids than tea, but research shows that the flavanol concentration decreases during the manufacturing process.

“Consequently, there is currently no consensus on how much cocoa flavanol is needed for health benefits,” says Gunter Kuhnle, professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Reading.

Although researchers have not explicitly recommended eating chocolate to prevent heart disease, one paper concludes that regular consumption of dark chocolate may have net benefits for our health, especially heart health.

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