Mark and Antony from cutting edge supplement makers "NutriLink" have these encouraging words for chocolate lovers this Halloween/Christmas:
"Cocoa Flavanols, some of the active components found in dark chocolate have benefits for human health. To the tantalising delight of chocolate lovers everywhere, a number of recent studies employing various methods have suggested that these flavanols could benefit cardiovascular health. Now a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of cocoa consumption reveals some further pieces of supporting evidence.
In short they found that cocoa flavanol intake may reduce dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides), insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, which as you know are all major subclinical risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. Now one must also flag at this stage that there are some limitations to this data, smallish studies, varying flavanol content and varied outcome targets, let alone different eating rates.
But after accounting for these elements, or at least accounting for them as best one can, a target volume of intake was suggested – this is the bit you have been waiting for: - 200 – 600mg of flavanol intake per day is able to improve cholesterol ratios and modify blood glucose and insulin output. There appeared to be no difference in benefit for men or women, and how it was consumed also raised no variances, simply that dark chocolate is the source.
So, for now, why not enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce/30gms) a few times per week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries. It may also enhance some cognitive function, as this paper that made its way into the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, identified that insulin changes related to flavanols also helped improve cognition. At least you should be able to remember where you hid your special bar of 75% cacao chocolate!"
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