The benefits of chocolate
Many studies have already shown that plant compounds called flavonoids increase production of nitrous oxide which helps blood vessels relax and decreases blood pressure. A new study shows that a specially designed chocolate bar can significantly decrease resistance to insulin in diabetic women. Researches said that the flavonoid compounds they used in these specially formulated chocolate bars appeared to offer women better protection against heart problems than conventional drugs when administered under very carefully controlled circumstances.
Unfortunately, this study does not give diabetic women the go ahead to eat more chocolate, as these bars were specially formulated to provide a high dose of two flavonoid sub-classes - flavan-3-ols which are found in cocoa and tea, and isoflavones which are found in soy.
Commercial chocolate vs. dark chocolate
Commercial chocolate does not usually have significant amounts of flavonoids as the compounds are destroyed in processing. The good news is that dark chocolate (ideally greater than 60% cocoa) is good for the heart and women can consume 1 oz, or a couple squares of the dark variety each day to decrease risk of heart disease and possibly improve insulin response.
The brand, Cocovia, chocolate also claims to have these heart-healthy benefits as flavonols are added into each bar. Even if the claims aren’t necessarily confirmed, these bars can be a good option as they are individually wrapped. If a woman consumes just one bar, this is a good way to practice portion control when satisfying sweet cravings.
Even though this study is not conclusive, it is still a great idea to consume more flavonoid-rich foods as they are all very good sources of antioxidant vitamins and fiber that promotes optimal health.
Flavonoids are found in high amounts in cocoa, red wine and grapes, apples, berries, and teas- especially green, white, black, and oolong. Try consuming a flavonoid-rich food with each meal to increase heart health and overall nutrition.
Source: BBC Norfolk