Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media



Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Heart Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Feb 4, 2014 - 9:29:36 AM



Chocolate: Good for the Heart and Brain, or Just Wishful Thinking?

By Staff Editor
Feb 4, 2014 - 9:23:50 AM



Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust


Email this article
 Printer friendly page

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Boston, MA - Whether it comes inside a big red heart or wrapped in gold foil, chocolate is synonymous with Valentine's Day. The February 2014 Harvard Women's Health Watch investigates whether the health claims often made for this indulgent treat are as sweet as they sound.

According to the headlines, chocolate is "good for you," "heart-healthy," and able to "sharpen seniors' brains." But does this indulgent treat live up to its hype? The answer is yes-and no.

"The media snatch up a cocoa story and say, ‘Eating chocolate is good for you, go out and eat chocolate bars.' That's not it," says Dr. Eric Ding, a research scientist in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. The reality is that ingredients in cocoa can be healthy, but the high-calorie chocolate bars that contain it aren't necessarily good for you.

Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds. It's high in plant compounds called cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on heart disease risks and on blood flow to the brain. Chocolate is the candy that's made by adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients to cocoa powder. Those ingredients also add fat and sugar, which counteract some of cocoa's health benefits.

Many of the studies on cocoa's benefits used an average flavonoid dose of 400 milligrams a day. "The problem is, that's about the equivalent of eight bars of dark chocolate or 30 bars of milk chocolate," he says. "When you eat these actual chocolate bars, all the calories and sugar come with them."

To get the health advantages of cocoa flavonoids without the fat and calories, consider buying a more concentrated cocoa product. Some cocoa supplements on the market contain up to 250 milligrams of cocoa flavonoids per serving.

Read the full-length article: "Chocolate: The pros and cons of this sweet treat"

Also in the February 2014 issue of the Harvard Women's Health Watch:

  • Effective exercises for osteoporosis
  • 4 important blood tests for women-and what the results mean
  • How to prevent colorectal cancer

Harvard Women's Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

###

For advertising and promotion on HealthNewsDigest.com, call Mike McCurdy: 877-634-9180 or [email protected] We have over 7,000 journalists as subscribers.

 



Top of Page

HealthNewsDigest.com

Heart Health
Latest Headlines


+ Talk To Your Doctor About Heart Block
+ Possible New Stent Drug to Prevent Heart Attacks
+ New Measurement of HDL Cholesterol Function Provides Powerful Information about Cardiovascular Risk
+ Testing of ER Patients for Heart Attack in Absence of Symptoms Widespread
+ Risk of Death May Be Higher if Heart Attack Occurs in a Hospital
+ WomenHeart Launches First National Patient Education Campaign for Heart Failure in Women
+ Plaque and Risk of Heart Attack
+ Beetroot Beneficial for Athletes and Heart Failure Patients
+ Hope for Elderly Patients with Heart-valve Problems
+ Cellular ‘Power Grid’ Failure Triggers Abnormal Heart Rhythms After a Heart Attack



Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions