Until the last decade, intake of chocolate was a strict no no for those who considered health, fitness & figure as the primary objective of living. Even among the vaster society chocolate had been used as a gift, reward or a dared act of deviation from healthy lifestyle.
- The chocolate faddists were stigmatized as unhealthy beings of the planet. But in recent times there have been confounding news about health benefits of chocolate that have put the stigmatized on the front row of health conscious social beings. Well, let’s try to decipher the facts here.
- After searching tones of research articles I found that all the researchers are concentrating on a particular chemical compound called FLAVONOIDS or POLYPHENOLS. Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, tea & wine which have excellent antioxidant property. Since last one decade researchers have noted that daily intake of adequate amount of flavonoids, be it in any form, reduces the risks of Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Attacks & equivalents) and most importantly Cancers and activity against the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV).
- Flavonoids like LUTEOLIN and KAEMPFEROL can be considered as promising candidate agents for treatment of gastric and ovarian cancers, respectively and APIGENIN, CHRYSIN, and LUTEOLIN have good perspectives as potent antitumor agents for cervical cancer.Sounds like a panacea, doesn’t it. Traditional chocolate derived from the cocoa bean, which is one of the most concentrated sources of flavonoids. That’s where the chocolate scores. Higher the cocoa content, greater the benefits.
- As the cocoa content of the chocolate increases the chocolate becomes darker. That brings us to the conclusion that, Darker the chocolate, Healthier the benefits.Current evidence from experimental studies in animals and humans along with findings from prospective studies indicates beneficial effects of green and black tea as well as cardiovascular health, and that tea and chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of stroke.
- The strongest evidence exists for beneficial effects of tea and cocoa on endothelial function (Walls of the blood vessels), total and LDL cholesterol (tea only), and insulin sensitivity (cocoa only).There have been many observational studies to date that have reported a positive correlation between the consumption of dietary flavonoids, including flavanols, and a reduced risk for Cardiovascular Disease. Interestingly, there is also epidemiological evidence to support that the regular consumption of cocoa-containing foods may confer similar cardio protective benefits
- The Kuna Indians, an indigenous population in Panama, have been shown to have a very low incidence of age-related hypertension and have a low rate of Cardiovascular disease mortality This much lower prevalence of hypertension and related CVD mortality has been suggested to be related to their regular consumption of a cocoa rich in CF.Introduction of regular intake of flavonoids in form of low fat , fortified dark chocolate bars is being intensely evaluated in national nutritional program of many countries.