Monday, November 21, 2011

Chocolate compounds fight high cholesterol

Chocolate has received a lot of attention for being a treasure trove of nutritional goodness. Polyphenols in cacao beans are linked to promoting heart, brain, and liver health, which has sparked renewed interest in chocolate as a medicinal food. And a new study adds to the growing list of benefits, showing that chocolate polyphenols also help to lower bad cholesterol.

Published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, the study tested the effects of polyphenol-rich chocolate in a group of 12 volunteers with type-2 diabetes. After 16 weeks, the researchers from Hull University in the U.K. discovered that the polyphenols helped lower participants' bad cholesterol levels while raising good cholesterol levels.

"Chocolate with a high cocoa content should be included in the diet of individuals with type-2 diabetes as part of a sensible, balanced approach to diet and lifestyle," said professor Steve Akin, author of the study.

It also showed that high-flavanol chocolate that has been minimally processed is much different than the highly-processed chocolate candy sold in most grocery stores (

Actual cacao beans are rich in vital nutrients, including alkaloid bitters like theobromine (a different substance than the harmful bromine chemical), which stimulates the heart muscle and dilates blood vessels. This compound and others provide demonstrable benefits in lowering high blood pressure and maintaining healthy arteries. Read more...

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