Dark Chocolate Antioxidants: Polyphenols For Your Heart

Deep dark chocolate, along with ruby red wine, is one of the most rich and decadent foods available to modern humanity. Research has shown that these two foods are also rich sources of compounds known as polyphenols, which are very beneficial to the heart and the whole cardiovascular system. Dark chocolate and red wine has become two strong symbols for how eating (or drinking) for pleasure can be the pinnacle of eating for health.

Polyphenols Are Found In Dark Chocolate

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in a large variety of fruits, vegetablesdark chocolate antioxidant liquid and spices. Researchers at the
Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg in France have identified chocolate and red wine, along with tea, as some of the most potent common sources of polyphenols in our daily diet. They found that polyphenols exhibit many different properties that combine to significantly contribute to the health of our heart as well as that of the circulatory system.

The researchers were able to observe that the polyphenols present in dark chocolate and red wine had vasoprotective, antiatherogenic (inhibits artery plaque),antiangiogenic (regulates blood vessels), vasorelaxant and antihypertensive properties. All the combined effects of these actions on the whole cardiovascular system makes foods rich in polyphenol like healthy chocolate and red wine great daily sources of heart healthy compounds.

 

Dark chocolate has long had a history of being a valued and even sacred food in the Americas

In fact, it was even used as currency by the Maya. Recently, at the University of California, a review was conducted of the studies done on dark chocolate and its effects to cardiovascular health. They were able to conclude that the polyphenol flavanoids in chocolate have substantial benefit to heart health and should be included in the doctors’ recommendations to patients in moderation.

On the other hand, red wine has had a long history of use among European countries. It is considered as one of the healthful components of the Mediterranean diet which is characterized by its relatively low rate of heart disease cases. Researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada recently studied the effect of red wine on atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. They found out that red wine contains various compounds, including trans-resveratrol, quercetin and other antioxidants that seem to give multiple mechanisms for the protection of the heart.

Interestingly, the oldest recorded lifespan belongs to Jeanne Calment of France who died in 1997 at 122 years of age. According to her biography, Calment consumed a kilo of chocolate on a weekly basis and drank red port wine regularly. She also smoked until she was 117. A recent article in Science Daily reported that a number of studies have shown that dark chocolate reduces the ill effects of smoking on the heart.

Eat Dark Chocolate In Moderation

Despite all the reported benefits of dark chocolate and red wine to the cardiovascular system; it is important that you still moderate your consumption of these two foods. Remember that they are laden with calories and fats, particularly chocolate. Experts suggest that you limit your dark chocolate consumption to one small square to enjoy it benefits.

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