Skip to main content

Is Chocolate Good for Your Heart?


Why a little, in moderation, may be beneficial
Chocolate has gotten a lot of media coverage in recent years because it's believed that it may help protect your cardiovascular system. The reasoning being that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this "antioxidant" power.

Antioxidants are believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. If your body does not have enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, it can become damaged by free radicals. For example, an increase in oxidation can cause low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad" cholesterol, to form plaque on the artery walls.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.

These plant chemicals aren’t only found in chocolate. In fact, a wide variety of foods and beverages are rich in flavonols. These include cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine.

Are all types of chocolate healthy?
Before you grab a chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.

Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce this taste. The more chocolate is processed (through things like fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, etc.), the more flavanols are lost.

What about all of the fat in chocolate?
You may be surprised to learn that chocolate isn’t as bad for you as once believed.

The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat. You may know that saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

But, research shows that stearic acid appears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, neither raising nor lowering it. Although palmitic acid does affect cholesterol levels, it only makes up one-third of the fat calories in chocolate. Still, this does not mean you can eat all the dark chocolate you’d like.

Courtesy: Cleveland clinic

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram

FEATURE H&FW B.   Narzary * Reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate is the key goal feature of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme under the National Rural Health Mission. Several initiatives have been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under the Mission including  Janani   Suraksha   Yojana , a key intervention that has resulted in phenomenal growth in institutional deliveries with more than one  crore  women  beneficiaries  annually. JSY was launched to promote institutional deliveries so that skilled attendance at birth is made available  and  mothers and new born babies can be saved from pregnancy related complications and deaths.

Folk Dances of India

India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. Each region of the country has a unique culture, which is also prominently visible in its various art forms. Almost all the regions of the country have their specific folk music and dance, which proves to be a wonderful way of expression of their community and its traditions. Though these folk dances are not as complex as the classical dance forms, they are very beautiful, because of the essence of rawness in them. Be it the Bihu of Assam, Dol-Cholom of Manipur, Hikal of Himachal Pradesh or Chhau of Bihar, each of the Indian folk dance forms comes across as a reflection of the deep sited beliefs and traditions of a particular culture. The folk dances of any community are performed on almost every special occasion and festival, to express elation and joy. These dances are also considered to be auspicious by many of the tribal communities in the country. Many folk dances are dedicated to the presiding deity of the specific commu

Schemes & Facilities for the Senior Citizens

  FEATURE SJE A demographic revolution is taking place throughout the world indicating a phenomenal rise in the population of the elderly. According to a UN estimate, the population of the people aged 60 years and above is expected to grow to 1.2 billion by 2025 and to 2 billion by 2050. Today, about two thirds of all the older people are living in the developing world. As per the Census 2001, in India, there were 77 million persons above 60 years constituting 7.5% of the total population of the country. This number is projected to go up to  12.4% of the population in 2026.  Such an increase obviously will throw up numerous challenges in designing old age specific programmes and schemes and addressing their issues in a comprehensive manner.   The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment  announced a National Policy for Older Persons in January, 1999. This policy reaffirmed the commitment of the Government to ensure the well-being of the older persons in a h