Boost Cardiovascular Health with Chocolate

Did you know eating dark chocolate can improve your heart health and strengthen your blood vessel cells? In fact, dark chocolate is included in the top 10 food sources of antioxidants, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has stated.

Dark chocolate contains bioactive flavanols and theobromine, which offer wonderful cardiovascular health benefits. Yet despite its weight-gaining attributes, Everyday Health columnist Dr. T. Jared Bunch explained the health benefits of this cacao product.

“In general, the health benefits outweigh the risk of the additional calories,” Dr. Bunch said. “When you consume dark chocolate that is more than 70 to 80 percent pure, the calories are relatively low.”

However, Dr. Bunch added that less-concentrated chocolates, such as milk chocolate or white chocolate, put on lots of calories and are without any known documented heart benefits.

In addition, dark chocolate is known to improve blood circulation. A July 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed evidence that links this cacao product with optimum vascular health. The research revealed that people who are struggling with peripheral artery disease (PAD) were found to have walked longer and farther, and this development is attributed to eating dark chocolate.

PAD is a vascular condition characterized by decreased blood flow to the arms and legs. As a result, people with PAD often experience painful cramping during physical activity, like walking.

Researchers discovered that PAD patients who had 40 gm. of dark chocolate per day walk further (by 11 percent) and longer (by 15 percent) compared to those who ate 40 gm. of milk chocolate.