Can eating chocolates prevent the risk of heart diseases? Read this article to find what dietitian Swati Bathwal has to say.
The Mechanism Of Getting A Heart Disease Is Different In Men and WomenIt is time to rejoice as chocolates are declared to be heart-healthy! But before you start jumping and dancing, let us tell you that this is for dark chocolates. Many of us know that dark chocolates are healthier than milk chocolates but what we didn’t know until now is that they can prevent heart diseases! A recent research has found that the nutrients present in dark chocolate can prevent chronic heart ailments such as atrial fibrillation. We reached out to Dr. Swati Bathwal who is a renowned Sports Dietician to know if eating chocolates can really secure heart health. Read on to know her views on this.
The fascinating history of healthy chocolate
Chocolate has a really long history where the Incas of Mexico were the ones who introduced chocolate as a health drink. For them, chocolate was the food for the soul and elixir for health. This chocolate was extracted from the theobromine tree or cacao tree. They used to drink it as an energy drink before going to the wars. An interesting fact is how pure is Ghee considered in the Indian culture, chocolate is for the Incas.
Cacao- The Healthy Chocolate
Do you know the difference between cacao and cocoa? These similar-looking words have disparate meanings. Cacao that dark chocolate is made up of is healthy. On the other hand, cocoa which is there in milk chocolates is processed chocolate containing vegetable oils, preservatives and sugar. These make cocoa unhealthy.
NOTE: Cacao is heart-healthy and cocoa is bad for health.
What does the research say?
The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology Research recently published a study that talks about the properties of chocolate in preventing heart disease. Well, as we have mentioned above, there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy chocolates. The difference lies in cacao and cocoa. The study states that consuming dark chocolates in moderation can prevent the onset of coronary heart diseases where the fat build-up blocks the arteries. Blocked arteries mean no blood supply to the heart. This puts the person at risk of a heart attack. Eating dark chocolates can maintain the health of blood vessels which lowers down the risk of heart diseases.
Also Read: Know How Chocolate Boosts Health
Cacao(Dark Chocolate) and Heart Health
Cacao contains magnesium, phosphorous, methylxanthines, flavonoids, polyphenols, stearic acid and a lot of antioxidants. These protect our health against hostile factors. Concerning heart health, these nutrients fight inflammation and increase HDL or good cholesterol in the body. One should get cholesterol screening done at regular intervals to keep a tab on the cholesterol levels.
While dark chocolates help in weight loss, blood sugar control and heart disease prevention, milk chocolates, on the other hand, are processed which destroy its nutritional value and cause weight gain, a spike in blood sugar, risk of diabetes, etc.
How much dark chocolate is good for health?
Moderation is the key. Anything is good until you consume it in moderation and the same goes with dark chocolate. As per Dr. Swati Bathwal, two small squares of dark chocolate or 1 tablespoon dark chocolate per day is the ideal dosage of cacao for health. You must not exceed the amount as raw chocolate also contains caffeine which is not supposed to be eaten more or else it will mess with your internal body clock.
Beware of milk chocolates if you trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle
Do you know why milk chocolates are tasty and tempting? Because they have artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils and taste enhancers. These are processed chocolates with a poor nutrient profile. They have less cacao and high cocoa(refined cacao) which makes them unhealthy.
In order to save production costs, manufacturers these days are adding more fat and sugar to chocolates to make them palatable. This poses greater health risks. Thus, you must check the label of the chocolate to find the percentage of cacao in it. It is best to have dark chocolates to eliminate the risks. You can either eat the chocolate if you can bear with its bitter taste or make a hot chocolate or add cacao powder to your shakes or even make delicious chocolate laddoos. There are so many ways to consume dark chocolate but remember the dosage and not exceed the top limit.
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