Friday, April 09, 2010


Many have studied the health effects of food, in particular chocolates, on the heart. This has spun a new field called nutriceuticals. Much have been written about the good effects of chocolates and particularly the cocoa, and how the flavanoids can protect the heart. In fact my favourate saying used to be, "the darker the better, the more bitter the better ". We are eating, for good health.
The 31st March issue of the European Heart Journal carried an article by the German workers, led by Dr Brian Buijsse from the German Institute of Human Nutrition. He and his team analysed the data collected by the " European Prospective Investigation into Cancer ( EPIC )". They were actually looking into dietary patterns and cancer. In their protocol, they have enrolled 19,357 people, age between 35-65yrs, took their blood pressure and diet history, including chocolate consumption and followed them up two yearly, to see how they are. The study started in 1994-1998 with follow up two yearly, the last being 2008.
Looking into the data, Dr Buijsse et al, divided the chocolate eaters into quartiles, the hishest eaters are those consuming 7.5gms / day, and the lowest are those who concern less then 1.5gms/day. Just to put things in perspective, that one small square of chocolate, in your regular bar, is about 6gms. So we are not talking about eating alot of chocolate. Just one small square or slightly more. Lets call it medicinal doses of chocolate.
They found that those who consumed around 7.5gms/ day of chocolate, had a 39% reduction in the risk of strokes and AMI. on sub-analysis, it looked like there was more reduction in strokes then AMI, there also seemed to be a significant reduction in blood pressure. Very interesting. Eating dark chocolates lower BP and strokes and AMI. And it is all due to the flavanoids in the cocoa and chocolate. I think that we have heard all these before. This is just a re-visit, with more new evidence.
What I must also quickly emphasize is that the amount eaten, is not enough to make you gain weight. That is never a good thing. It is medicinal doses. Almost non of us who eat chocolate stop at one small square, I suppose unless it taste so bad. We usually eat the whole bar or more.
Well, for the good of your heart, eat just one small square a day. So the whole bar may last you 2-3 weeks, I suppose.
Certainly, much more research needs to be done. How much can we consume, without significant weight gain and yet with significant BP reduction, which should traslate to strokes and AMI reduction. Looks like this flavanoid stuff in our food is good stuff.
REMEMBER " the darker, the better, the more bitter the better, and now, also in small amounts ".

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