Tasty remedies — chocolate as preventative medicine!

Mmmm, chocolate…

You may have heard people beginning to buzz about the health benefits of chocolate.  But what is it good for, what kind and how much?  Well, researchers are making a concerted effort to further our understanding of why chocolate is so good for us.  A recent meta-analysis was just published in the British Medical Journal by Dr. Adriana Buitrago-Lopez (University of Cambridge, UK) – which you can check out here – revealing compelling evidence that chocolate of any kind (the studies did not differentiate between dark, milk or white) have profoundly positive effects on one’s cardiovascular health, and in men can be preventative for diabetes!

Here are the stats: (pooled meta-analysis results) high levels of chocolate consumption compared with the lowest levels of chocolate consumption reduced the risk of any cardiovascular disease by 37% (RR 0.63; 0.44–0.90) and stroke 29% (RR 0.71; 0.52–0.98). There was no association between chocolate consumption and the risk of heart failure, and no association on the incidence of diabetes in women, but a positive reduction in the risk of incident diabetes in men.

My recommendations would be a regular consumption of organic dark chocolate sweetened with real sugar and absolutely no high-fructose corn syrup or trans-fats. Dark chocolate contains the greatest amount of bioflavonoids (the compounds important for reducing free-radical damage in the body and consequent atherosclerosis) and organic sourcing ensures you will not be exposed to environmental toxins that often reside in foods treated with pesticides.

In Dr. Buitrago-Lopez’s conclusion, she states:

“These favorable effects seem mainly mediated by the high content of polyphenols present in cocoa products and are probably accrued through the increasing bioavailability of nitric oxide, which subsequently might lead to improvements in endothelial function, reductions in platelet function, and additional beneficial effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and blood lipids,” conclude Buitrago-Lopez and colleagues.

This evidence is exciting and hopeful for individuals with a family history of stroke and cardiovascular disease.  Not only is it tasty medicine, it may be preventing very serious health complications in one’s future.  Dr. Buitrago-Lopez’s conclusion indicates that chocolate is helping prevent atherosclerosis and keeps blood healthy by reducing its likelihood of forming clots and it may additionally prevent the body’s inclination to develop insulin resistance which causes diabetes.

So next time you’re in the sweets aisle at the grocery store, think about investing in your health by choosing a good quality chocolate!

Happy healthy eating!

Dr. Rachelle

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