Dark chocolate is found to be beneficial for the heart
7th June 2012
Certain health benefits from eating dark chocolate have been widely known for a long time. For instance, consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis has been shown in studies to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10%. It also contains many antioxidants, which help to get rid of ‘free radicals’ from the body, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are linked to the aging process and may be a cause of cancer. If you eat foods that are rich in antioxidants like dark chocolate, they can protect you from different types of cancer and slow the aging process. Dark chocolate also contains vitamins and minerals to support your health, such as potassium, iron and magnesium. If all that wasn’t good news for chocolate lovers, researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University have uncovered even more positive news in relation to dark chocolate. They carried out a study involving 2,013 Australians and determined that if the subjects ate approximately 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day that contained at least a 70% cocoa content, this was a good way to assess potential benefits. The researchers adopted a mathematical model to estimate the long-term health benefits and the total cost of a daily intake of dark chocolate. All subjects in the study had no previous history of heart disease or diabetes and were not taking any medication to aid blood pressure. Lead researcher from the study, Ella Zomer, and her team claim over a 10 year period that 70 fatal and 15 non-fatal cardiovascular related events could be prevented in some high-risk patients if they did not miss any daily portions. The mathematical model also concluded that this treatment could cost people just 42$ a year. Zomer commented on the study’s findings, “We've predicted significant health benefits of eating 100 grams of dark chocolate everyday over a 10 year period. That's about the equivalent of one premium quality block containing a minimum 70% cocoa. Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease. We're not suggesting that the high-risk group use dark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but in combination with sensible choices, such as exercise.” The authors in the study have stressed though that they have not assessed the possible effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption on cardiovascular events except for nonfatal stroke and nonfatal myocardial infarction, such as heart failure. In addition, although they acknowledged the benefits of dark chocolate on blood pressure and cholesterol, they commented that drug interventions are still a lot more effective. Effective medications to help reduce cholesterol include Crestor (Rosuvastatin) and Lipitor (Atorvastatin). These are prescription only medicines that belong to a group of cholesterol-lowering medicines called statins. Along with diet, they lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-C), increase ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL-C), and also slow the progression of atherosclerosis in adults with high cholesterol, as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol to goal. Medical Specialists Pharmacy are now pleased to inform our patients that we also offer legal generic Atorvastatin, with prices from as little as just £11.25 per pack.