I don’t really need another reason to enjoy chocolate’and the darker the better in my books. But scientists at Linköping University in Sweden have learned how dark chocolate benefits the heart (and we’re not talking romance).
Previous studies have shown that cocoa has beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. In this recent research, 16 volunteers between the ages of 20 and 45 consumed 75 grams (about 2.5 oz) of unsweetened chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. Scientists then tested participants for the ACE enzyme’known to raise blood pressure’and results showed that after three hours, this enzyme’s activity was lowered on average by 18 percent than before the chocolate.
These effects compare with ACE-inhibiting drugs that are used as high blood pressure treatments. Science Daily reported that the researchers said their findings indicated that changes in lifestyle, with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides [such as dark chocolate] can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
For more on the various benefits of chocolate, see “7 reasons why chocolate is healthy." Is your family fond of chocolate chip cookies? Then try these "Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies” with half the fat of the original, plus large-flake oatmeal that boosts heart-healthy fibre’just don’t forget to choose dark chocolate chips.
Of course, chocolate still has lots of fat and calories so watch your portion size, and add an extra brisk walk to your day.