Chocolate and Your Heart

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

With the holidays upon us, it seems like there is chocolate everywhere! And while too much chocolate and your heartsugar is never a good thing, it turns out that chocolate has some cardio-protective benefits.

The April 15, 2000, Internal Medicine News featured three separate studies—all of which concluded that chocolate and cocoa might actually be good cardiovascular nutrition. The studies were small, but placebo-controlled and double-blinded, so the data is meaningful even though the sample size is limited. (Maybe they just had trouble finding enough folks willing to share their "choc-a-lot" habits!? )

The researchers made a determination that certainly raises my eyebrows: They found that chocolate has a positive impact on platelet activity similar to a baby aspirin! In addition, they identified that chocolate has a strong antioxidant effect, is "endothelial cell friendly," and causes relaxation of the inner lining of blood vessels. Who'd have ever guessed it?

Now, with all this favorable research, that doesn’t mean you have a license to eat chocolate at will. Remember that chocolate contains sugars, caffeine, and trans fatty acids. As in all things, moderation is the key.

But, if you have considered chocolate and cocoas an absolute no-no, it's time to reevaluate. Just stick to dark chocolate and take time to savor and enjoy. Happy Holidays!

For more cardiovascular nutrition tips, visit Dr. Sinatra’s Web site.
 

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