Wishing our readers a happy Easter holiday. And if you are worried about eating that chocolate Easter eggs, here are some health benefits for you to ponder. Enjoy! Chocolate may lower cholesterol levels Chocolate consumption may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition was carried out to determine whether chocolate bars containing plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) have any effect on cholesterol levels. The study authors wrote “results indicate that regular consumption of chocolate bars containing PS and CF as part of a low-fat diet may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.” Chocolate may prevent memory decline Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline in older people. The researchers said that hot chocolate can help preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain. The lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond, said: “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.” Chocolate may reduce heart disease risk Research published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) has suggested that consuming chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one third. The report was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, France. The authors concluded: “Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Further experimental studies are required to confirm a potentially beneficial effect of chocolate consumption.” Chocolate may prevent stroke Canadian scientists carried out a study involving 44,489 people and found that people eating chocolate were 22 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who didn’t. In addition, those who had a stroke but regularly consumed chocolate were 46 percent less likely to die as a result. TSB
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