Mom and dad always say that chocolates are bad for your teeth and can make you fat. Yes indeed, indulgence to chocolate may cause tooth decay if you forget to brush it after eating too much and yes it can make you fat if you just remain a couch potato all day. Chocolates may have their downside but according to recent studies published in the journal neurology, chocolates have been proven to reduce the likelihood of suffering a stroke for men by approximately 17 percent.
The study was conducted among 37,103 Swedish men from the age of 45 to 79 and they were given chocolates of about 63 grams or approximately 2 ounces per week. These samples were divided into four groups based on the consumption of chocolates from no chocolate, little chocolate and average consumption with the top group consuming 2 ounces per week. They conducted a follow up check up among this sample after 10 years and found out that 1,995 men out of this sample suffered from stroke and these were the men who ate very little or no chocolates at all.
According to one of the researchers, Prof Susanna Larsson who is from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the flavonoids present in chocolate may be the one giving the beneficial effect of lowering the risk for stroke among men.
Flavonoids are naturally found in cacao – a plant which is the main ingredient in making chocolates. They are previously referred to as vitamin P because of the effect they have on the permeability of vascular capillaries. Aside from this benefit, flavonoids other studies suggest that it has an anti microbial, anti diarrheal, anti allergic, anti inflammatory, anti clotting, antioxidant and anti cancer properties. Cardiovascular diseases are prevented because of the antioxidant, anti clotting and anti inflammatory content found in flavonoids which are present in chocolates.
Epicatechin, a type of flavonoid found rich in cocoa which is a major ingredient of dark chocolates, has also been proven to improve blood flow and contains a potential to improve cardiac health. Cocoa is also rich in antioxidant twice the amount present in red wine and triple times that of antioxidant found in green tea.
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that this can reduce blood pressure and as well as the blood concentrations of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. LDL often accumulates in the walls of blood vessels and when it is not flushed out it blocks the passage thus increasing the risk for heart attack. Adding foods rich in flavonoid in your diet may prevent this from happening.
This study justifies the benefit the body may get from eating chocolates although a strong warning has been given to those overweight and obese people. Chocolates should be eaten in moderate consumption for they might have that anti-stroke capacity but they are also rich in fat and calories which may contribute to weight gain and thus attribute to raising the risk for stroke and the rise for other cardiovascular diseases. They do not suggest replacing exercise and healthy diet with chocolate.