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Natural Awakenings

For Love and Heart: A Delicious Way to Keep Heart Disease at Bay

Feb 01, 2009 03:00AM

Dark chocolate comprises a true gift of the heart, both pleasing the palate and keeping the risk of heart disease at bay, according to a recent article published in The Journal of Nutrition. A moderate amount of the sweet treat works best.

In their study, researchers focused on the complex mechanism of inflammation, a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. They note that the high amounts of antioxidants in the cocoa seed, in particular flavonoids and other polyphenols, appear to have a beneficial effect on the inflammatory state. But the amount of chocolate consumed also plays a crucial role. An average of 6.7 grams per day, corresponding to one small square of chocolate, two to three times a week, is sufficient to reap chocolate’s protective effect. Beyond these amounts the benefits tend to disappear.

Incidentally, milk chocolate does not have the same heart-healthy effects, because its milk content interferes with the absorption of cocoa’s antioxidants.

Source:  Catholic University, 2008

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