Cocoa: discovered new and surprising beneficial effect of eating dark chocolate after 60 years

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Elia Tabuenca García

A study has discovered a surprising new beneficial effect linked to consuming dark chocolate every day, which can reduce heart disease and the risk of death for those over 60.

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You might think of chocolate as an "unhealthy" food, but dark chocolate has enormous benefits, it is good for the mood but also for the skin.

While eating a bar of milk chocolate, perhaps even filled with caramel, every day is probably not the healthiest choice, eating a couple of squares of dark chocolate it is a healthy and nutritious option.

New research has highlighted how consuming this product can protect against cardiovascular disease. (Read also: Thus sugar-free dark chocolate surprisingly lowers the blood sugar and blood glucose levels of diabetics)

A systematic review

In the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers looked at more than 20.000 U.S. adults, ages 60 and up, over several years, supplementing some participants' diets with cocoa extract. 

Those who received the supplement were significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular diseases.

The study author stated that:

We found that cocoa flavanol supplementation can reduce clinical cardiovascular events, including a statistically significant 27% reduction in death from cardiovascular disease.

Flavanols are compounds found in cocoa powder, chocolate and other foods and have been linked to a number of health benefits. 

A 2014 study on cocoa flavanoli found that these could play a role in protecting us from age-related cognitive decline.

Additionally, another 2005 study published in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension found evidence that chocolate flavanols can reduce blood pressure.

Flavanols are not only found in the cocoa bean, but also in berries, tea and grapes.

Hence, understanding exactly how these affect cardiovascular health requires further research. However, given the proven health benefits of dark chocolate, the advice is to always have some in the pantry.

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Photos: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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