Love Your Heart, Eat Chocolate

Story at-a-glance

  • People who consumed cocoa, especially dark chocolate, one to three times a month were less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), also known as irregular heart rhythm
  • Reduced atrial fibrillation risk for women was linked to eating one serving of chocolate per week, while the biggest reduction for men was associated with eating two to six servings per week
  • More than 2.7 million people in the U.S. (33 million worldwide) suffer from atrial fibrillation, associated with an increased heart attack risk, heart failure, stroke and even cognitive impairment
  • Make sure when you’re reaching for chocolate that you choose the dark variety, as milk chocolate is higher in sugar and lower in antioxidants and sometimes contains damaging artificial sweeteners

By Dr. Mercola

This may cause many a heart to leap, but chocolate, once again, has been placed in the “beneficial for your health” category. This time, quite fittingly, it’s your heart that may benefit from eating this most decadent of treats. Through the ages, benefits such as increased energy as well as libido have been attributed to chocolate, which has also been considered good for diarrhea and migraines, and treating syphilis and even cancer.

Some of these are even true; antioxidant catechins found in dark chocolate were found to be the active ingredient responsible for lowering lung cancer rates,1 as well as rectal cancer.2 According to a recent study in Denmark,3 people who consume cocoa one to three times a month were about 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, the medical term for irregular heart rhythm, compared to people who ate chocolate less than once a month.

Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a team of researchers analyzed the data and found “a significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF — suggesting that even small amounts of cocoa consumption can have a positive health impact.”4

The team’s new research, published in the journal BMJ Heart,5 showed a reduced risk of AFib for women who ate one serving of chocolate per week, while the biggest reduction for men was associated with eating two to six servings per week.

Previous studies in 20106 and 2015, known as the Physicians’ Health Study, had drawn no such conclusions, and the latter review involved 33,000 Americans.7 Eating cocoa and foods containing it may be heart beneficial due to the high number of antioxidant, inflammation-fighting and blood vessel-relaxing flavanols cocoa contains, the researchers concluded.

Flavanols are a subgroup of polyphenols found in tea, red grape skins and wine as well as chocolate, which are known to act as powerful antioxidants. Previous studies had already determined that not just cocoa, but dark chocolate, specifically, has the most flavanols to impart health advantages, including reduced inflammation that can cause tissue damage. Flavanols may also offset blood clots that form when irregular heartbeats permit blood in the heart to “pool up,” LA Times says.8

Eating dark chocolate is associated with decreased risk of heart attack, heart failure, cognitive impairment and even early death. But as studies go, scientists weren’t convinced it was actually the chocolate that prevented atrial fibrillation, evidenced by irregular heartbeats in the heart’s upper chamber, as the studies had been fairly thin.

Atrial Fibrillation: Studies, Symptoms and Risks

According to the American Heart Association, 2.7 million or more people in the U.S. suffer from atrial fibrillation, and a whopping 33 million suffer from it worldwide.9 It increases the risk of blood clots, which often result in strokes, heart failure, cognitive impairment and other problems in the individuals who have it. LA Times explained what it is:

“Atrial fibrillation is believed to result from the release of certain molecules that ultimately damage heart tissue. That damage changes the way electrical signals travel through the chambers of the heart, causing one’s heartbeat to flutter instead of beating in a steady rhythm.”10

Unfortunately, 25 percent of adults are projected to develop the condition in their lifetime, according to Drs. Sean Pokorney and Jonathan Piccini, cardiologists at Duke University Medical Center, who published an editorial that ran alongside the study results. Researchers scrutinized data from 55,502 men and women in Denmark between the ages of 50 and 64 years old at the time the long-term study began.

Each provided information detailing their dietary habits between 1993 and 1997. The data collected was then linked to Denmark’s national health registries to find which ones were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. It was found that 3,346 of the cases occurred over 13.5 years. Scientific American reported:

“Based on their diets at the beginning of the study period, people who ate one serving, about 1 ounce (28.35 grams), of chocolate per week were 17 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation by the end of the study than people who reported eating chocolate less than once a month.

Similarly, those who ate 2 to 6 ounces per week were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation while those who ate more than an ounce of chocolate a day were 16 percent less likely to have the condition.”11

Other Factors to Consider Regarding Chocolate Consumption

Interestingly, researchers didn’t examine related factors such as sleep apnea or kidney disease, which may influence atrial fibrillation, and they had no data on whether the subjects consumed milk chocolate or dark chocolate, so as a result, the amount of flavanols connected to the chocolate they ate also was unavailable.

However, the data suggests that people who ate more chocolate also consumed more calories, but had a lower body mass index (BMI) — the measure of weight in relation to height — compared to those who ate the least chocolate.

Alice Lichtenstein, director and senior scientist at the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, who was not part of the featured study, noted the likelihood that the people in the first group may have also been more physically active. Pokorney and Piccini said the study results were interesting and worth further consideration in spite of its limitations, noting:

“A double-blind randomized controlled trial is needed to evaluate the true efficacy of chocolate for the prevention of (atrial fibrillation) and such a trial would need to incorporate quantified doses of cocoa.”12

Does the Type of Chocolate You Eat Really Matter?

There are several types of chocolate: Dark chocolates and the milk-based kind have both been mentioned, but there’s also white chocolate to consider, and other ingredients that may either make or break its ability to be considered something healthy to consume. It’s true that as good as chocolate may be for you, it often contains large amounts of sugar, as well as “bad” fats, including trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils that could contribute to chronic disease.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, usually contains more cocoa solids. Knowing that, Mostofsky expressed doubt regarding whether the milk chocolates Danes typically eat would return any positive results from the study, but the researchers learned something new.

She noted, “We were pleasantly surprised that — despite the fact that most of the chocolate may have had relatively low cocoa concentrations — we were still able to see robust findings.”13 The La Times noted something that is very significant from Mostofsky’s study:

“The authors wrote that their study may have turned out differently than the previous ones because chocolate in Denmark contains more cocoa — the suspected beneficial ingredient — than it does in the U.S. Here, milk chocolate must have at least 10 percent cocoa solids, and dark chocolate must have at least 35 percent. In Denmark, the requirements are 30 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

Another difference is that the new study measured cases of ‘clinically apparent’ atrial fibrillation that were recorded in Denmark’s national health records. The American studies relied on self-reports of AF.”14

That’s certainly not to say that chocolate now allows people carte blanche in the noshing category. Tom Sherman, director of biomedical sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center (who did not take part in the study), suggested that chocolate lovers stick to eating no more than “a nice, 1-ounce piece of chocolate.”

Just don’t take it too far, Mostofsky said, because even though there’s a substantial link between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AFib, “Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems.”

What to Look for in Chocolate

It’s always wise to read labels to know exactly what’s in the packages you buy, and it’s true with chocolate, as well. One ounce of milk chocolate chips, according to Nutrition Data,15 contains an average of more than 14 grams of sugar! In comparison, the same amount of dark chocolate, with 70 percent to 85 percent cacao solids, contains 6.7 grams of sugar.16

Make sure the chocolate you consume doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, found to cause serious chronic neurological disorders and numerous other acute symptoms, from migraines to blurred vision to anxiety attacks. A CNN article noted that when it comes to chocolate, “white” chocolate contains no cacao at all, and a bar labeled “70 percent cocoa” may have different amounts of the flavonoids you’re looking for.

Further “chocolate that has gone through a chemical step known as dutching, also known as Dutch chocolate, has essentially lost all traces of these compounds.”17 As for net carbs contained in chocolate, it’s important to determine by reading labels the amount of grams of carbohydrates, subtracting the dietary fiber, then subtracting the sugar alcohol if it applies.

Something to remember, too, is that the important thing is the total carbs minus fiber (i.e., net carbs). Fiber is crucial not just to keep your colon regulated, but for overall health as well.

Especially if you’re not paying attention to the labels, the chocolate you reach for will most likely contain high amounts of sugar, Mostofsky asserted. “But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice.” Perhaps because of this, there’s a body of scientists now dedicated to determining whether a “chocolate pill” made with cocoa extract might be the next big thing.

To get the greatest health benefits of chocolate by consuming a whole food instead of a pill, raw cacao butter (the fat component of the cacao seed) or raw cacao nibs are excellent options.

Mercola.com

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The best natural health cures & remedies from around the web. Most of these are from great facebook pages I follow like RawForBeauty, NaturalCuresNotMedicine, National Geographic, Dr. Joseph Mercola, NaturalSociety, BigHempy, NORML, The Cannabis Consultants, undergroundhealth, naturalnews, Go-fruit-yourself, Eatlocalgrown, the detox market, econugenics, emasherbs, the farmacy, positivemed, The Earth Diet, stepintomygreenworld, youngandraw, oasisadvancedwellness, smoothiealchemy, live love fruit, juicing-for-health, bodyunburdened, and more…

All images, information, sound, etc… copyright of their respective owners, I’m merely sharing what I saw elsewhere on the web.

A Chocolate A Day Can Keep You Healthy

It is widely believed that eating dark chocolate is good for cardiovascular health. Some health and lifestyle experts, however, emphasized that there is no evidence for this fact. Recently, the British Journal of Nutrition published a new study, which supports regular consumption of chocolate. Before changing your diet to eat more chocolate and sweets, you should understand that this study is published based on clinical observation and available data.
According to the new study, the researchers from Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), university of South Australia, university of Warwick Medical School and university of Maine suggested that consuming a small amount of chocolate every day can help to prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The study considered the data of 1,153 people between the ages 18 and 69. When comparing the health of various participants, the research group found lower insulin resistance and healthy liver enzymes in those who claimed that they ate around 100g of chocolate every day. Insulin resistance is one of the very important factors determining the onset of cardiovascular diseases.

The academic researchers proposed the hypothesis that chocolate can be useful for insulin sensitivity and liver enzymes. This study is conducted rigorously, noting down the lifestyle and diet preferences of the participants. The consumption of tea and coffee is also monitored. Both tea and coffee contain polyphenol which is useful to accelerate cardiometabolic effects of chocolate.

The visiting academic at the University of Warwick Medical School,and Scientific Director of department of population health at LIH, Prof Saverio Stranges said that cocoa based products can be suggested as dietary recommendation to improve cardio health and metabolism. However, he added that the results are simply observatory and more robust evidence based trials are required. He also emphasized that natural cocoa product is entirely different from highly processed commercial chocolates.

Among those who participated in the study, 80% of the individuals said that they eat at least 24.8g of chocolate every day. These people were active, young and had higher educational status compared to those who did not eat chocolate regularly. The principal investigator of the study, Dr. Ala’s Alkerwi said that the people who consumed chocolate had significant socio-demographic profiles, better health access and healthy lifestyle habits. This can also be an important contributor for the reaction of the body to insulin and liver bio markers.

Researchers have agreed that randomized control studies and additional observational research are required to truly understand how chocolate is useful in reducing insulin resistance and preventing disorders related to cardio metabolism

About the author
This is manpreet kaur gill’s website. She is best food and drink author.  She is specialized for food and drink,travelling.

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for your Health.

How is that possible? Something so delicious as chocolate is truly good for your health? Well it’s true, studies have shown that chocolate has many positive health benefits. Like most foods, overdoing chocolate may cause consequences such as weight gain, but a healthy amount in moderation can promote natural health benefits.

Unfortunately chocolate is no substitute for vegetables, it does contain flavonoids which have powerful antidioxidant affects such as preventing heart disease by protecting the heart and cancer by guarding the DNA from damage. Flavonoids are found in other products such as tea, except the EGCG in tea is less powerful than the antioxidants in chocolate.

You also have to aware of the different types of chocolate. Similar to most types of foods, chocolate has different antioxidant levels due to how much cocoa is used; hence, the reason dark chocolate has the most antioxidants.

There is a large difference between a 50 calorie piece of chocolate compared to a 250 calorie candy bar. Many people think chocolate is the culprit to weight gain, but that is false. Eventhough chocolate contains saturated fat, the saturated fat is called stearic acid which is different because it does not raise blood cholesterol.

No guilt chocolate? It’s tempting because it’s true, but moderation is key. Just because chocolate is not as negative to health as people believe, does not mean it is a replacement for vegetables. You just do not need to feel guilty when biting into a dark chocolate piece of candy to satisfy your needs.

I have three main reasons why I think chocolate is good for your physical and mental health:

1. There are two main types of fat. Unsaturated fast and saturated fats. Saturated fats such as cheese are bad for you. It is this type of fat that contributes to problems such as heart attacks, clotting and organ failure. Unsaturated fats however are good for you, they can be found in things like nuts, red wine and dark chocolate. Unsaturated fat actually helps resduce the cholestorol levels casued by saturated fats. Considering this taken in modest amounts dark chocolate is good for your physical health.

2. Serotonin is a chemical inside your body that makes you happy. Chocolate contains amino acids which contribute towards the creation of serotonin. Furthermore eating chocolate triggers the release of endorphins in the body. Endorphins reduce the bodies sensitivity to pain, which in small amounts actually relates to the happy feeling you get after eating chocolate. So in terms of mental health again chocolate acts as a stimulant and is good for you.

3. Lastly even if chocolate is bad bad for you it will not harm you so long as you eat it in moderation. Personally I am a rampant chocoholic. If I were it was definately bad for me without a doubt I would probably still want to eat it. If you eat only chocolate for the rest of your life it probably will be quite bad for you. But like most confectionary chocolate is meant to be a treat. Considering this taken as a snack in an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle the bad effects will be quite inconsequential.

Some of the reasons why people may think chocolate is abd for you is that it contains caffeiene. However I have read before that an ounce of milk chocolate probably contains an equal amount of caffeine to a cup of decaffinated coffee. Going back to the first creation of chocolate, the Aztecs who first made it actually made it from the cocoa beans reserved it for people of high importance.

Warriors, religious leaders, nobles etc all drank chocolate in order to gain vitality and wisdom.