A choccy a day keeps dis­ease at bay

CityPress - - News - ZINHLE MAPUMULO zinhle.mapumulo@city­press.co.za

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.

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