A box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day may be key for a long-lasting, healthy relationship… and heart, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study pooled data from 42 randomized controlled trials that included 1,297 subjects and found consistent short- and long-term cardiovascular benefits from intake of chocolate, cocoa, or cocoa flavanols—the antioxidant components of chocolate. Chocolate eating was associated with better toned blood vessels, blood flow, and maintenance of blood pressure. Additionally, chocolate eating was linked to better insulin sensitivity, a previously unreported finding.
The researchers evaluated several effects of cocoa flavanols on cardiovascular risk factors such as blood vessel elasticity (endothelial function), inflammation, and platelet function. Notably, chocolate appeared to help blood vessels become more elastic and flexible regardless of how much eaten per day.
For most of us, the quantity of chocolate we eat is not a problem, but as usual, quality is the key. The study results are no reason to over-indulge in chocolate, the authors caution, as the sugar-and-fat calories can quickly add up. Unless the goal is to gain weight, there still needs to be moderation in chocolate-eating habits.
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Getting cardiovascular benefits from chocolate can be as simple as eating a couple or more pieces of IsaDelight Plus Dark Chocolates, specially formulated to be rich in antioxidant flavanols yet be low in calories. The chocolates also come packed with metabolism-boosting green tea extract and brain-supporting amino acids to assist in weight management. Healthy snacking never tasted so good!
Feeling bitter about dark chocolate for your Valentine? Give your sweetie a sweeter version with the new IsaDelight Plus Milk Chocolates. Still packed with cocoa flavanols, green tea extract, and amino acids, IsaDelight Plus Milk Chocolates offer a delicious, antioxidant-rich alternative.
For chocolate lovers, the additional evidence confirming cocoa’s heart-health benefits is great news. However, note that chocolate will not undo years of inactivity and a poor diet. Yet it can help jump-start the journey towards a healthier heart and overall you, especially when combined with Cleanse Days and Shake Days of an Isagenix system.
Reference: Hooper L et al. effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2012; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.023457.