Nutrition

Dark chocolate reduces cardiovascular risk by 40%

Especially appreciated for its voluptuous taste, dark chocolate is also a food that has multiple positive effects on health. Regular consumption of dark chocolate substantially reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Chocolate is made from cocoa mass, a thick liquid that is extracted by grinding cocoa beans. This content in cocoa mass is important because it is a quite exceptional source of polyphenols, a class of molecules that have several important biological activities.

Foods rich in polyphenols such as chocolate or tea, however, have the particularity of causing a significant sensation of astringency in the mouth: this phenomenon is caused by the interaction of polyphenols with certain proteins, which causes a reduction in lubricity. saliva and a feeling of dryness.

It is for this reason that the chocolate used for cooking, which can contain more than 85% cocoa, is unattractive in taste. On the other hand, chocolate containing 70% cocoa mass represents an excellent compromise: the quantity of polyphenols it contains is sufficient to influence biological processes, while its sugar and cocoa butter content reduces bitterness and to improve its taste. In addition, a wide variety of 70% chocolates is now available in stores and it is easy to find a product that matches both our taste and our budget.

70% dark chocolate reduces cardiovascular risk by 40%

In addition to its exceptional taste, many studies have shown that dark chocolate can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

For example, regular consumption of 5-10 g of 70% chocolate is associated with a significant (50%) reduction in mortality from heart disease. A study of 1,216 older women showed that those who ate dark chocolate frequently (one serving or more per week) saw their risk of cardiovascular disease drop by almost 40%.

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Reduction of blood pressure and anti-inflammatory activity

These positive effects are caused by the multiple beneficial effects of cocoa polyphenols on the cardiovascular system:

– Reduction of blood pressure: the polyphenols in chocolate increase the production of nitrous oxide, a molecule that stimulates the dilation of the arteries.

– Anti-inflammatory activity: the polyphenols in chocolate reduce inflammation by blocking the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the surface of blood vessels, which reduces the formation of clots.

Studies carried out over the past decade are unanimous: even if it is a food rich in calories that should be consumed in moderation, dark chocolate deserves a place of choice in our eating habits given its extremely positive effects on heart health.

Source

Buijsse B et al. Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Arch. Intern. Med.; 166: 411-417.

Lewis JR et al. Habitual chocolate intake and vascular disease: a prospective study of clinical outcomes in older women. Arch Intern Med. 170:1857-1858.

Yasuda A et al. Cocoa polyphenols influence the regulation of apolipoprotein in HepG2 and Caco2 cells. J. Agric. Food Chem.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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