Dark Chocolate Increases Hdl
Eating high-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate is effective at increasing HDL in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
In this study of only 12 participants, researchers prescribed adding 45 grams of chocolate to their diet for 8 weeks. Half of the participants received the polyphenol-rich high-cocoa chocolate and half had high-cocoa chocolate.
Results show the low polyphenol chocolate produced no changes. The high polyphenol group had a significant increase in HDL and a decrease in total cholesterol.
Which Dark Chocolate Is Good For Cholesterol
To make the most of adding chocolate to your diet to lower your cholesterol, choose products with a high cocoa content that have the least amount of processing, which lowers the flavonoid content. Products with high amounts of cocoa are proud of it, and percentages are prominently displayed on the label.
Eating Well + Exercise
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
The Stanford University School of Medicine study involved 200 middle-aged Americans, all sedentary and with poor eating habits. Some were told to launch new food and fitness habits at the same time. Others began dieting but waited several months before beginning to exercise. A third group started exercising but didnt change eating habits till several months later.
All the groups received telephone coaching and were followed for one year. The winning group was the one making food and exercise changes together. The people in this group were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise and healthy eating , and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10% of their total intake of calories.
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
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Do Small Amounts Of Dark Chocolate Contain Enough Flavanols
Chocolate is high in calories because of its sugar and fat content, so if you eat too much of it you could put on weight.
Studies have been carried out to find out whether small amounts of chocolate, eaten often, contain enough flavanols to have similar health benefits to cocoa.
A review of the evidence in 2016 suggested that a daily 20g portion of chocolate would need to contain at least 200mg of flavanols and 100mg of epicatechin to have a similar effect to cocoa. The processing methods used in the confectionary industry mean that 20g of chocolate does not contain this amount of flavanols so cant be considered to have the same benefits as cocoa.
Although it contains less than cocoa, dark chocolate does contain more flavanols than milk chocolate, while white chocolate contains no cocoa and no flavanols at all.
Cocoa Reduces Arterial Inflammation
Since cocoa consumption is associated with improving the heart health and lowering cardiovascular risk, it can be said that cocoa also helps in improving the functioning of inner walls of blood vessels.
Intake of cocoa reduces the stiffness of arterial walls and the risk of endothelial dysfunction.
It opens up the arteries and enhances the process of vasodilation .
A clinical trial conducted on adults reported that cocoa improves endothelial function when consumed in either solid dark chocolate form or liquid form.
Obese people may also find a significant reduction in their blood pressure, which is good for the heart.
What does this Mean? Cocoa reduces the swelling in arteries which is caused due to excess build-up of plaque. It reduces inflammation in the arteries.
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Dark Chocolate Is High In Flavonoids
Chocolate has over 300 naturally occurring chemicals within it. The most well-known include caffeine, sugar, and cocoa.
One of the lesser-known chemicals in chocolate are flavonoids. Flavonoids are also in red wine and have been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as exert a protective effect against coronary heart disease.
Additionally, one-third of the fat content found in chocolate is in the form of stearic acid. Although it is a saturated fat, stearic acid does not appear to raise cholesterol levels and according to a review published in 2005, may actually lower them.
Chocolate Is Good For Your Gut And May Help With Weight Loss
Eating chocolate every day probably seems like the last way to lose weight, but research suggests dark chocolate may play a role in controlling appetite, which in turn could help with weight loss. Neuroscientist Will Clower, PhD, wrote a whole book on the subject called Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight, which describes how eating a bit of dark chocolate before or after meals triggers hormones that signal to the brain youre full. Of course, eating more than the recommended amount per day can counteract any potential weight loss.
Studies cited in an article published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology furthermore noted that during digestion, chocolate behaves like a prebiotic , a type of fiber that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The more good microbes are in your system, the better your body is able to absorb nutrients as well as support a healthy metabolism, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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What Not To Eat When You Have High Cholesterol
Here are 4 high-cholesterol foods that can negatively impact your health.
- Fried Foods. Fried foods â such as deep-fried meats and cheese sticks â are high-cholesterol and should be avoided whenever possible.
- Fast Food.
Here are some of the best morning foods for improving your numbers.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL.
In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.
In fact, several long-term observational studies show a fairly drastic improvement.
In a study of 470 older men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years .
Another study revealed that eating chocolate two or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect .
Yet another study showed that eating dark chocolate more than five times per week lowered the risk of heart disease by 57% .
A 2017 clinical trial found that subjects who consumed almonds with or without dark chocolate showed improved LDL cholesterol levels .
Of course, these four studies are observational, so its unclear exactly if it was the chocolate that reduced the risk.
However, since the biological process is known , its plausible that regularly eating dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume the most chocolate.
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It May Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is believed to be responsible for half of the worlds cases of heart problems like heart attacks and strokes. But a little dark chocolate could keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. A review study looking at 35 previous studies found that regularly eating dark chocolate and cocoa products caused small but important decreases in blood pressure.
To get the most out of chocolate, you need the kind with a high amount of cacao beans, the plant that chocolate is made from. Choose brands that say 70% cacao or higher on the label.
Feel free to eat dark chocolate regularly, but dont overdo it, as excess calories can cause weight gain. A small portionjust a square or two a daywill still put a smile on your face while boosting your heart health.
Dark Chocolate May Help Reduce Inflammation
According to Hunnes, consuming dark chocolate is a natural way to reduce inflammation in your body. That’s because the antioxidants in dark chocolate particularly flavonoids and polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties.
Consuming anti-inflammatory foods provides overall health benefits, such as preventing future chronic diseases like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
In fact, Hunnes says reducing inflammation can help protect the following organs:
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Decreases Bad Cholesterol Levels
Mentioned in relation to other health benefits, lowering that bad cholesterol level is a health improvement all on its own. Bad cholesterol reacts to free radicals and becomes capable of damaging natural tissues like artery linings. When cocoa’s antioxidants get into the bloodstream, they protect the body’s lipoproteins against oxidation.
Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.
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It’s Good For Your Skin
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health lists vitamins and minerals dark chocolate is packed full of like copper, iron, and magnesium, to name a few that are also beneficial to your skin. Manganese, for example, supports the production of collagen, a protein that helps keep skin looking young and healthy. Other minerals, like calcium, help repair and renew skin, which is pretty important because, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, our bodies can shed up to 40,000 skin cells each day! Several earlier studies have also found the high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate may protect skin from the powerful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun.
Other research, like a study published in June 2014 in Nutrition Journal, failed to show any significant protective effects of antioxidant-rich chocolate against UV rays, but did show improvements in the elasticity of skin exposed to the sun, although the exact mechanism of this isnt known.
Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1
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Proven Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.
Made from the seed of the cacao tree, its one of the best sources of antioxidants you can find.
Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.
Here are 7 health benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa that are supported by science.
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then its quite nutritious.
It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 7085% cocoa contains :
- 11 grams of fiber
- 67% of the DV for iron
- 58% of the DV for magnesium
- 89% of the DV for copper
- 98% of the DV for manganese
In addition, it has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
Of course, 100 grams is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. These nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar.
For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.
The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is also good. The fats consist mostly of oleic acid , stearic acid, and palmitic acid.
The stearic acid has a neutral effect on body cholesterol. Palmitic acid can raise cholesterol levels, but it only makes up one-third of the total fat calories.
Flavanol Content In Dark Milk And White Chocolate
The cocoa content of dark chocolate varies widely from 35% to 95%. In general, the higher the cocoa content the higher the flavanol content and the more bitter the flavour, although this is not always the case as the processing method also has an impact.
Manufacturers dont include flavanol content on their labels so it is not possible to know the exact flavanol content, but to give a rough idea:
- 20g of dark chocolate contains 34mg of flavanols
- 20g of milk chocolate contains 14mg of flavanols
- 20g of white chocolate contains no flavanols.
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Dosage Of Cocoa For High Cholesterol
Cocoa is most easily available in the form of chocolates. Since milk chocolates contain a high amount of fats, dark chocolate should always be preferred over it.
The recommended dosage of cocoa is around 26-40 grams of dark chocolate. This would mean that up to 200 calories of dark chocolate are healthy for daily consumption.
This amount contains the necessary epicatechin, flavanols, and other polyphenols.
Dark Chocolate Lowers ‘bad’ Cholesterol And Blood Sugar Levels When Eaten In Moderation: Study
Hooray! — even more research shows why dark chocolate has heart-healthy benefits.
Researchers from San Diego State University conducted a small controlled study illustrating that eating dark chocolate has positive effects in lowering blood sugar levels and “bad” cholesterol levels and increasing “good” cholesterol levels — all of which could have positive effects on heart health.
The study was presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting.
For the study, researchers had 31 people eat either 50 grams of regular dark chocolate , dark chocolate that has been overheated, or white chocolate . The study participants ate their assigned chocolate for a 15-day period their blood glucose, circulating lipids, blood pressure and blood flow were all measured before and after the study.
But while the researchers found a positive effect of eating the dark chocolate in the study, they cautioned that chocolate is also high in saturated fat and calories, and must therefore be eaten in moderation.
For more sweet benefits of chocolate, click through the slideshow:
Flickr photo by Lee McCoyFlickr photo by Vegan Feast CateringFlickr photo by The Integer Club
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Cocoa Decreases Cardiovascular Risk
The cardiovascular disease consists of many heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, arrhythmia, and heart failure, etc.
A majority of people die every year due to these heart-related disorders. Strict precautions need to be taken by people so as to prevent the onset of these diseases.
Regular intake of cocoa powder and chocolates is healthy for the heart.
A study reported that people who consumed regular cocoa had decreased diastolic blood pressure as compared to those who didnt.
This property is due to the catechins and other flavanols present in it.
Upon daily intake of flavanol-rich cocoa, it was found that the chances of cardiovascular diseases were reduced to very low.
Cocoa reduces the bad cholesterol levels, increases the good cholesterol and prevents any blockage in the arteries.
This helps in keeping the heart healthy and decreases cardiovascular risk without leading to any weight gain.
However, it should be observed that the cocoa contains a high amount of flavonols and epicatechin so that maximum benefits can be reaped.
What does this Mean? By decreasing the cholesterol levels and preventing any blockages in the arteries, cocoa helps in maintaining overall cardiovascular health.
What About All Of The Fat In Chocolate
You may be surprised to learn that chocolate isnt as bad for you as once believed.
The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid , stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat. You may know that saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
But, research shows that stearic acid appears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, neither raising nor lowering it. Although palmitic acid does affect cholesterol levels, it only makes up one-third of the fat calories in chocolate. Still, this does not mean you can eat all the dark chocolate youd like.
First, be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories. Second, there is currently no established serving size of chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. However, we do know that you no longer need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.
So, for now, enjoy moderate portions of chocolate a few times per week, and dont forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries.
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