Easter is coming and the inevitable chocolate eggs will appear behind a tree or behind a stone in the garden. But not all chocolates are created equal in terms of their health benefits. 70% dark chocolate is not only a pleasant tasting food, it also has multiple positive effects on health, especially on the cardiovascular system.
Cocoa is an exceptional source of flavonoids, a class of molecules with extraordinary antioxidant potential. For example, cocoa has an antioxidant activity 2 times higher than that of red wine and up to 5 times greater than that of green tea. This antioxidant activity of chocolate flavonoids plays an important role in neutralizing “free radicals”, highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to our cells and support the progression of various diseases.
Hypotensive, cardio-protective and anti-inflammatory, chocolate works wonders
In addition to its antioxidant potential, chocolate also exerts multiple biological activities that actively contribute to its benefits.
about health :
– Reduction of blood pressure: studies show that the consumption of dark chocolate rich in flavonoids significantly reduces blood pressure. Especially in people who are hypertensive. This reduction is due to the property of chocolate flavonoids to increase the production of nitrous oxide, a molecule that stimulates the dilation of the arteries.
– Reduction in the aggregation of blood platelets: a very large number of studies have shown that the flavonoids in chocolate reduce the aggregation of platelets. Under normal conditions, platelets are cells that play a very important role in the formation of clots necessary for blood clotting. However, it sometimes happens that the platelets aggregate on the surface of blood vessels damaged by various aggressions (cigarette smoke, free radicals, hypertension, etc.), which leads to the formation of clots that can obstruct the vessels and prevent them from adequately transport oxygen to the organs. There is then a high risk of myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident. The decrease in the aggregation of platelets by chocolate would therefore reduce the formation of these clots and thus reduce the risk of being affected by these fatal cardiovascular diseases.
– Anti-inflammatory activity: inflammation plays a key role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies have shown that chocolate flavonoids decrease inflammation by blocking the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the surface of blood vessels. This reduces the formation of clots and slows the development of atherosclerotic plaques. It should also be noted that since inflammation plays a key role in the progression of several other diseases, in particular cancer, this anti-inflammatory activity makes it possible to consider that chocolate can also participate in the prevention of these diseases.
20 grams per day of 70% dark chocolate
All of these observations indicate that the regular consumption of chocolate has an extremely positive impact on the risk of being affected by cardiovascular disease. However, it should be kept in mind that this positive effect is only observed for dark chocolate, containing at least 70% cocoa paste. The most common chocolates are much more treats than chocolate: their cocoa content is very low and, as a result, these products have no positive impact on health. Fortunately, more and more quality chocolates are now available and it is now possible to easily find good 70% organic chocolates at very reasonable prices.
The good sides of dark chocolate should not, however, make us forget that it is a food very rich in calories which must be consumed in moderation, that is to say approximately 20 grams of chocolate 70% per day.
You know everything now about the health benefits of chocolate, have a very happy Easter.