The impact of chocolate on cardiovascular health
Fernández–Murga L et al. – The high caloric content of chocolate, particularly of some less pure forms, imposes caution before recommending uncontrolled consumption.
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading determinant of mortality and morbidity in women.
- Functional foods are attracting interest as potential regulators of the susceptibility to disease.
- Supported by epidemiological evidence, chocolate has emerged as a possible modulator of cardiovascular risk.
- Chocolate, or cocoa as the natural source, contains flavanols, a subclass of flavonoids.
- The latter years have witnessed an increasing number of experimental and clinical studies that suggest a protective effect of chocolate against atherogenesis.
- Oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial function define three biological mechanisms that have shown sensitivity to chocolate.
- The consumption of chocolate has been involved in the protective modulation of blood pressure, the lipid profile, the activation of platelets, and the sensitivity to insulin
- Dark chocolate seems more protective than milk or white chocolate.
- Despite this array of benefits, there is a lack of well designed clinical studies demonstrating cardiovascular benefit of chocolate.