Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Chocolate a day

I know, everybody loves chocolate, you can't resist it, don't you?. I saw this article at Yahoo so I read it. You know why?, because my family loves chocolate very much and I am also worried about it. But after reading this article, my worry is lesser than before. So go on and read.

Gifts of chocolate may warm your heart, but is chocolate also good for your heart's health? As this ScienCentral News video explains, researchers have uncovered why it may be.

Lessons from Chocolate Cheaters

It's hard to resist chocolate. So when volunteers for a recent Johns Hopkins University study were instructed not to eat it, some of them indulged anyway.

"Less than 10 percent couldn't quite stay away from taking some type of chocolate. And they admitted to taking some chocolate," says biologist Nauder Faraday, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. Faraday and co-author Diane Becker were studying aspirin's power against blood clots in people at risk for heart disease in the Genetic Study of Aspirin Responsiveness

The researchers were focusing on aspirin's effect on the blood, so before the experiment began, they tried to ensure that volunteers had a similar diet. Previous studies found that large amounts of chocolate have been linked to benefits of the heart. So the "chocolate offenders" were disqualified from the aspirin study. But the amount of offenders gave the researchers a unique opportunity:

"There was very little information about the use of routine chocolate," he says.
So the researchers compared blood tests from the chocoholics with those who didn't eat chocolate. They found that chocolate had effects similar to aspirin. "What we saw in this case was that as blood is flowing through a tube, it stays fluid for a longer period of time. Because the platelets are not as able to clump together and block a hole," Faraday says.
Platelets serve to clot blood. If blood vessels are narrowed by coronary artery disease, platelets can jam up and possibly lead to a heart attack.

Faraday was surprised to see that even small amounts of chocolate led to a reduction in the "stickiness" of platelets for at least 24 hours. "If you take chocolate in your usual diet, it does have the ability to make your platelets less sticky. The effect that we saw with casual chocolate, routine chocolate [consumption] was very small, and maybe only a tenth, one tenth as great as aspirin," he says.

" I think that the interesting thing is that in your routine type of diet, just a casual amount of chocolate it could be candy bar, is enough to have a measurable effect on the platelet clumping," he says. Faraday says that this could open up future possibilities for research. "People's diet could lead to a benefit in their heart and their other blood vessel in certain people who at risk." He explains.

But he says people shouldn't think they can east chocolate for their health-- it's still high in sugar and fat. "We're still not recommending that you go out there and now take 25 servings of chocolate every day. That's not the point." He also stresses that his study looked at everyday consumption of chocolate in volunteers that had a family history of heart disease, but did not have heart problems such a heart attack.

The researchers suspect the compounds in chocolate that improve blood flow are so-called "flavonoids," which Faraday points out you can also get from grapes and certain teas. "Flavonoids are a group of compounds that are very complicated," he says. "But that group of compounds is what has been thought to have this type of effect. Additional studies will be needed just to find out just what type of flavonoid and if those flavonoids really have this effect on platelets to make them less sticky.
In the meantime, if chocolate holds a special place in your heart, Faraday suggests you enjoy it in moderation. "Chocolate tastes great, and if you want to have some, I think our study's in line with that. It's okay to have anything in moderation, and chocolate is certainly one of these things," he says.

Faraday and Becker presented their findings in the presentation "Casual Chocolate Consumption and Platelet Activity," at the American Heart Association's 2006 Scientific Sessions. Their research is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Johns Hopkins University. Additional video of platelets clumping and restricting blood flow was provided by Craig Morrell, Johns Hopkins University.


  1. Yay! I luuurve choc too with a capital 'L' Heheh... nasib it's good for our heart pula kan. So now got good reason to eat more choc!

  2. iya Flo..jangan ambil berlebihan saja, nanti kena penyakit lain...hahahahaha