New Research Confirms that Cocoa is Health Food for your Heart
- Friday, 30 September 2011
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (September 8, 2011)—A study published on August 29, 2011 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2011; 343:d4488) has shown that chocolate consumption significantly reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors,including coronary heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
The meta-analysis, conducted at the University of Cambridge in England, reviewed seven independent studies of cocoa consumption among more than 100,000 participants. The authors concluded that increased chocolate intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Those studied who ate the most chocolate were able to reduce their risk ofcardiovascular disease by 37 percent, diabetes by 31 percent, and stroke by 29 percent.According to the World Health Organization, nearly 23.6 million people will die from cardiovascular disorder by 2030; and already, one-fifth of the adult population suffers from metabolic syndrome, pre-disposing them to the risk of cardiac disease.
“This study confirms what has been long known about the health benefits of polyphenols found in chocolate and their ability to protect the heart from the build-up of atherosclerosis or plaques,” said author and neuroscientist Joseph Maroon, MD. “What has been unappreciated is that certain dark chocolates and chocolate concentrates provide some of the greatest sources of these healthy plant molecules in our diet.” Dr. Maroon isVice Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
According to Harvard nutritionist and epidemiologist Eric Ding, Ph.D., "The majority of the benefits of chocolate on heart disease are from special cocoa flavonoids, which have been recently shown to clinically lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. People need to remember that it’s the cocoa flavonoids that are good, and the sugar and calories in chocolate that are bad."
Ding led a Harvard research team’s analysis of 21 studies of 2,575 participants showing that cocoa consumption is associated with reducing blood pressure and improving blood vessels and cholesterol levels, among other benefits.
Along these lines, one concern noted by the BMJ researchers was that many commercially available chocolate products contain high levels of fat and sugar, which can actually increase the risk of weight gain. A new form of cocoa-based products called CocoaWell, made as a vegetable capsule concentrate, provides all the health benefits of cocoa without the added sugar and fats. This unique healthy delivery system contains high potency cocoa and pure plant flavanols, scientifically shown to optimize cocoa’s naturalantioxidant and cardio-protective effect. CocoaWell (see www.cocoawell.org and www.cocoawell.com) can be found at fine health food stores nationwide, including Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods and GNC.