I don’t know many people that would pass up a good piece of chocolate, especially if it has proven health benefits. I was recently educated by my favorite Chocolate Store Owner, Bruce Goldberg, from Teuscher Chocolates. Bruce introduced me to the dark chocolate truffles that are made with 55% cocoa. They are a mouthwatering experience and cheaper alternative to dessert after any meal (prices range from $2.25 – $2.50).
According to researchers who recently conducted a study at Harvard, consumption of cocoa actually showed significant decrease in blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and showed improvement in cholesterol levels.
Eric L. Ding, PhD, of Harvard Medical School says the apparent health benefits come from polyphenolic flavonoids in cocoa that have the potential to prevent heart disease. Flavonoids are antioxidants that are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, tea, wine, and coffee.
Specifically the Harvard study showed a decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in people under the age of 50 and increased the “good” HDL cholesterol levels. It also showed a decrease in risk levels for diabetes – which is a major risk factor itself for cardiovascular disease.
It’s good to know that a nice piece of dark chocolate to satisfy your craving is some what beneficial. Though past studies by Ding and others have found that cocoa may reduce heart attack risk, the dosage necessary to produce this effect is not known, and further research is needed to shed more light on that question. Either way, I will be in Teuscher Chocolates to see Bruce real soon.