Just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s chocolate to the rescue! And not just for your sweetheart…for your heart! In multiple studies from around the world, chocolate is being touted as a forerunner in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. So not only can you woo your love with chocolate, you can love your heart with it too.
In a recent study by researcher Oscar H. Franco, MD, PhD, of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., people who ate chocolate had a 37% lower risk of heart disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke, compared to people who did not eat chocolate. Chocolate has also been linked to protecting against high blood pressure and diabetes, both risk factors for heart disease and strokes.
But how does it work? Researchers give credit to polyphenols found in chocolate. These antioxidants increase the body’s production of the chemical nitric oxide, which in turn leads to improvements in blood pressure and blood flow through arteries. Another factor are flavonoids in cocoa. These little sweethearts have antioxidant properties, protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and suppressing the oxidation of bad cholesterol.
So when you think of getting something for your sweetheart this year, chocolate may be the best bet. And you can be sure your gift goes straight to the heart.