A choccy a day keeps disease at bay
Chocolate has a pick-me-up effect. Any chocoholic would attest to this.
But what’s great about this forbidden delicacy is that it has health benefits too.
And now, a new 12-year clinical study has revealed this to be true.
The study was conducted by researchers from the universities of Aberdeen, Manchester, Cambridge and East Anglia. It found that people who eat up to 100g of chocolate a day are 11% less likely to have a heart attack and a stroke.
But before you run to your nearest store and grab a chocolate, note that the researchers found it was dark chocolate that contained high amounts of cocoa that had greater health benefits.
The reason is that the cocoa bean that’s used in making chocolate is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids and the higher the flavonoids, the more the benefits.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that help to stimulate blood flow. Kees Beyers of Beyers Chocolates in Gauteng agrees with the study’s findings. “There’s real evidence to show that dark chocolate has several significant health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, restoring flexibility to the arteries, and acting as an anti-inflammatory.
“But dark chocolate in isolation is not going to solve all your health problems. You still need to have a healthy diet, do regular exercise, get sufficient sleep, maintain a healthy body weight and reduce stress.” Johannesburg dietician Lynn Odendaal agrees. “The only way to reduce your risk of heart disease is to take care of your health by eating food with less fat and by keeping fit.
“Eating food high in salt and fat doubles your chances of developing heart diseases,” says Odendaal.