How does chocolate cholesterol affect your health? Is chocolate really bad for cholesterol levels in your blood? In this article, you will find the effects of chocolate on your blood cholesterol and your heart.
But first, here are the 3 common myths about chocolate and its effect on cardiovascular health:
Chocolate is a very high carbohydrate snack. Chocolate has saturated fats that deposit into your body and are difficult to get rid of.
FACT: Even though chocolate has high amounts of saturated fatty acids, it is not the worst among several other high carbohydrate snacks that you consume on a daily basis.
Chocolate is bad for cholesterol levels in your blood. High intake of chocolate can lead to high amounts of chocolate cholesterol in your blood.
FACT: Unlike what you would guess – chocolate helps in decreasing the blood cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health (1).
Dark chocolate is worse than milk chocolate. Consuming chocolate with high cocoa content or dark chocolate can adversely affect your heart and blood vessels.
FACT: Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are very beneficial for our blood vessels.
Chocolates, especially, dark chocolates contain high amounts of 18-carbon stearic acid. Stearic acids are known to increase the bad cholesterol in the blood.
However, the stearic acid saturated with 18-carbon atoms found in chocolates has been shown to lower plasma and LDL cholesterol (2) level in blood streams.
Thus, chocolates with high content of 18-carbon stearic acid reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and can be consumed as a substitute for high carbohydrates snacks like potato chips, muffins, bagels, etc.
Several doctors recommend consumption of chocolate for cholesterol reduction.
Chocolate and cholesterol are both known to negatively impact the human heart. However, the consumption of naturally occurring cocoa and dark chocolates in moderation lowers plasma cholesterol in the blood.
Moreover, polyphenols, the main antioxidants found in cocoa and dark chocolates neutralizes reactive oxygen in our blood and lead to LDL oxidation. This is very beneficial for our blood vessels.
Researchers have also shown that the consumption of dark chocolates lowers the rate of cardiovascular diseases, strokes as well as some types of cancer (3). Controlled intake of dark chocolates with more amount of cocoa can even lower human blood pressure, improve the way in which the arteries work and reduce blood vessel inflammation.
Now-a-days, doctors are recommending increased intake of dark chocolates for the people with elevated blood cholesterol. Doctors advise heart and cholesterol patients to consume moderate amounts of dark chocolates for cholesterol reduction and improved state of heart.
However, you must remember that excess consumption of chocolates and overindulgence may lead to deposition of unused fat of chocolate in the body causing obesity.
(1) http://www.cholesterolcholestrol.com/chocolate-cholesterol.html Written by Michael T. Sapko M.D., Ph.D., and edited by Donald Urquhart.
(2) Bonanome A, Grundy S. (1988) Effect of dietary stearic acid on plasma cholesterol and lipoprotein levels. N Engl J Med 318:1244-8.
(3) Allen RR, Carson L, Kwik-Uribe C, Evans EM, Erdman JW Jr. (2008) Daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing flavanols and added sterol esters affects cardiovascular risk factors in a normotensive population with elevated cholesterol. J Nutr 138(4):725-31.
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