Tuesday, August 17, 2010


That dark chocolates are healthy is well known by now and it is recommended that a daily intake of 7.5 gm of dark chocolate can be heart healthy besides being a shield against DNA damage. Being rich in flavonols which are powerful antioxidants with high oxy radical neutralizing ability, it may not come as a surprise that cocoa based products are being touted as a nutraceutical with multiple benefits, especially to aged population. While chocolates are often indicted for their high fat and sugar content which contribute to many health disorders, dark chocolates with high cocoa solids content beyond 50% are in the market promoted for their health promoting properties. The latest study on chocolate brings out another twist to the story by reporting that chocolate consumption at optimum intake level can be beneficial to aged women in preventing heart attacks.

"Older women who eat dark chocolate once or twice a week could be lowering their risk of heart failure, says a US study. It found those eating chocolate once or twice a week cut the risk of developing heart failure by a third, but those eating it every day did not benefit. The Boston study, in a journal of the American Heart Association, looked at nearly 32,000 Swedish women aged between 48 and 83 over nine years. Dieticians say eating chocolate too often can be damaging and unhealthy. The study notes that one or two 19 to 30 gram servings of dark chocolate a week led to a 32% reduction in heart failure risk. This fell to 26% when one to three servings a month were eaten.

But those who ate chocolate every day did not appear to reduce their risk of heart failure at all".

It is a mystery as to why only the quantity recommended brings about the beneficial effect while more or less than that does not confer the benefits. Of course the role of sugar and saturated fat in chocolate cannot be discounted and probably they may be making the difference when higher quantities are consumed in denying the benefit of chocolate consumption. Also not understood is why only in women this phenomenon is noticed, Probably the study must have been carried out on women subjects only but the same results may hold good for men also.


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