Wednesday, October 01, 2008


One of the serious theory for cholesterol building up in the arterial wall is inflammation ( irritant wall reaction ). It is quite obvious that LDL-Cholesterol is the culprit, but LDL-Cholesterol is the chemical at the site. This LDL-Cholesterol seem to excite an irritant reaction in the wall and this seem to promote the deposition of cholesterol in the plaque, thereby promoting plaque progression. We are able to measure the extent of inflammation by measuring the level of a chemical in the blood called hs-CRP ( the Harvard boys are expert in this ). The higher the level of hs-CRP, the more likely the heart attacks and vice versa. So low hs-CRP is good.
We have written previously that dark chocolate is good for the heart. Dark chocolate seem in some ways to halt the plaque progression and lessen the risk of heart attacks. This may be due to the presence of flavonoids in dark chocolates, especially those which are cocoa based. Flavonoids seem to be able to dampen the inflammation reaction.
The Italians have reported in the Oct 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the Moli-sani project. This Moli-sani project study the effects of eating dark chocolates. Those who eat dark chocolates have a lower level of hs-CRP. That seems easy. But what was a little surprising was that too much dark chocolates is also bad. It looks like, as with everything in life, moderation is better. How much is moderate?. Well about 20 grams every three days ( or three times a week ). That is about 2 small squares of your chocolate. ( not very much ). Eating more then that does not reduce hs-CRP. Maybe too much chocolate raise the LDL-Cholesterol too much. We are not sure. But one thing is for sure. More study is needed.

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