Do you crave chocolates? Chocolate, usually referred to as the 'food of the gods' in the U.S., is a part of human diet for almost 4,000 years. Originated from a  region surrounding the Amazon basin and introduced to the Western world by Christopher Columbus upon his return from the fourth voyage to the New World in 1502, chocolate is now loved worldwide. 

A new research found that eating six bars of chocolate in a week reduces the chance of developing a dangerous type of heartbeat - that causes stroke, heart failure, cognitive decline, dementia, and death, by almost 20 percent.

Find out your chances of suffering a heart disease in future: Heart Risk Calculator

One of the most widespread heart disease called Atrial fibrillation or heart flutter affects almost 33 million people worldwide, with chances of occurring in one of four adults at some point during the life course.

The researchers concluded that taking one to three servings of dark chocolates per month lowers the risk of atrial fibrillation by 10 percent while people who have one serving per week lowers it by 17 percent, and two to six servings per week reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation by 20 per cent.

The study published in the journal 'Heart' suggested that cocoa consumption in small amounts also have a significant and positive health impact.

However, the researchers caution eating excessive amounts of chocolate and recommend moderate intake of chocolate rich in high cocoa content, since many chocolate products may lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems with high calories from sugar and fat in chocolates. 

 

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolates 

Move from Apples to chocolates: One serving of dark chocolate per day may keep the doctor away

In a recent study, the researchers estimate that on an average, an American consumes over 10 pounds of chocolate annually.

The healthy antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory compound called 'flavanols'  present in dark chocolates support a variety of bodily roles. 

The researchers have found a link between flavanol intake and risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Chocolates, in particular, dark chocolates, have higher levels of flavanols when compared to milk chocolate, that helps to protect against the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure, blood flow, and improving blood lipid levels. Also, the results of the study show that dark chocolate alleviates the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving glucose levels and lipid profiles.

Researchers warn that chocolates should be consumed in moderation to prevent amounts of saturated fat and calories.

 

Dark chocolate: New drug to heal liver disease in patients

New research findings that were revealed at the Study of Liver meeting in Austria prescribes dark chocolate dosage for patients suffering from liver cancer or cirrhosis and dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen.

The research suggests that dark chocolate consumption eliminates any damage caused to the blood vessels of cirrhotic patients, keeping the blood pressure in the liver in complete control.

Cirrhosis is a condition of scarring of the liver which results from long-term, continuous damage to the liver. Circulation in the liver is damaged by oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant systems. Blood pressure in the abdominal veins usually elevates due to increased blood flow to the liver, after eating.

This is particularly alarming to cirrhotic patients who already have increased blood pressure in the liver (portal hypertension) and if it becomes severe may result in blood vessel rupture. The scientists thus concluded that eating dark chocolate may ultimately abort this potential threat to cirrhotic patients.

The reason behind such attribute of dark chocolate is linked to its potent anti-oxidants nature that reduces the postprandial (after-meal) blood pressure in the liver or portal hypertension, normally associated with damaged liver blood vessels or endothelial dysfunction.

Not only that, the study links the health benefits of eating dark chocolate to potential improvements in portal hypertension improvements, minimizing the onset and impact of end-stage liver disease and its associated mortality risks.

 

Ease emotional stress with an ounce of Dark Chocolate

Chocolate cure is the new remedy for all of your emotional stress, as suggested by a group of researchers from the American Society. They found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks lowers the level of stress hormones in the highly stressed people.

The researchers found that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate act as stress-busting effects that are responsible for easing emotional stress.

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Lower blood pressure and improved blood vessel  are other array benefits of eating dark chocolate 

A research study has proven that consuming cocoa flavanols not only lowers blood pressure but also increases flow-mediated vasodilation. 

Cocoa flavanols, found in dark chocolates lowers age-related risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

As we grow older, blood vessels start to become less flexible and slowly loses its ability to expand to let blood flow and circulate normally, and the risk of hypertension also increases. 

Arterial stiffness and blood vessel dysfunction increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers concluded that consumption of Cocoa flavanols, plant-derived bioactive, improves the elasticity of blood vessels and lowers blood pressure and have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. 

Read about High Blood Pressure Natural Treatment: Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure

Diabetes Patients can 'treat' themselves with dark chocolates 

Sipping a mug of steaming, flavorful cocoa may seem guilty pleasure for people with diabetes

But new research suggests that blood vessels function better by indulging in a craving for cocoa. 

The scientists saw effective results in diabetic patients whose blood vessel function went from severely impaired to normal, after drinking specially formulated high-flavanol cocoa for one month. Also, cocoa flavanols positively affect the health of the arteries.

Find out if you run the risk of diabetes by taking this online Diabetes test: Diabetes risk calculator • Diabetes self-test & assessment