Chocolate May Lower
Risk of Death by Heart Disease - Dutch Study Suggests Cocoa can Lower
Blood Pressure and Lead to Better Health
Researchers from the Netherlands say that chocolate consumers were half
as likely to die from cardiovascular problems as those who did not
partake in the sweet products. The data was extrapolated from Zutphen
Elderly Study conducted between 1985 and 2000.
Brian Bujisse of the National Institute for Public Health and the
Environment in Bilthoven, measured the cocoa intake of 470 men between
the ages of 65 and 84.
The researchers measured how many grams of cocoa each man consumed and
divided the men into three groups according to their intake. ABC News
reported that the men who ate the most cocoa products had half the “risk
of death”. The experts have identified 24 cocoa-containing foods that
the elderly men ate. None of the men were taking blood pressure
medicine, according to a report in Scientific American.
The cocoa products included cocoa drinks, chocolate bars and chocolate
pudding. The Dutch researchers say that it’s too early to conclude that
chocolate led to better health. It is possible flavanols in the cocoa
increased the nitric oxide in the blood to improved the function of
Buijsse said that the men that ate the most cocoa products were not
heavier or bigger eaters than the men who ate less cocoa. The BBC said
men in the group with the highest cocoa consumption were half as likely
as the others to die from cardiovascular disease.
Flavan-3-oils, found in chocolate, have been linked to lower blood
pressure and improved function of the lining of blood vessels. Cocoa is
also a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce the damage
caused by free radicals released by the body’s energy-producing process.
Experts warn consumers that not all chocolate is the same. Most
chocolate bars contain sugar and fat that can lead to weight gain. The
extra weight is a risk factor for heart disease and could outweigh the
benefits derived from the chocolate. According to WebMD, dark chocolate
offers the most benefits, with the least negative effects. The health
benefits may result from just half a bar a day.
The results were published in the JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine.