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Chocolate is a decadent creation fit for the kings. It is made from roasted and ground cocoa seeds. You can eat it in liquid, paste or block form, or use it as a flavouring in other meals. This ‘love’ food is a bestseller at the Christmas holidays, Easter or during the February Valentine celebration.

Health Benefits of Cocoa

While doctors cannot recommend it as medicine, chocolate has some heart-healthy compounds called flavanols which appear to sharpen eyesight in a small but significant measure.

By taking two or three 30-gramme servings per week, you are at a lower risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It may also reduce coronary artery plaque. Cocoa powder is also said to be helpful for weight loss when taken unsweetened and in moderate doses. This shows that chocolate in measured amounts is good for cardiovascular health.

All chocolates are not equal. Dark chocolate has chocolate liquid or cocoa, which is reduced or missing in white chocolate. When studied, it was found that dark chocolate showed a reduction in blood pressure while its white counterpart did not affect blood pressure.

This blood pressure reduction from consistent consumption of dark chocolate in small measured amounts is small but noteworthy.

Eye candy?

Is there a relationship between blood pressure and the eyes? Research results show a connection. The flavanols in cocoa heal damage in the lining of the blood vessels, improve blood flow and relax the muscles. They also improve blood sugar metabolism and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. For those who have diabetes, when taken correctly, it can reduce the risk for heart and vascular disease.

These positive effects translate to the blood vessels in the eyes. This means increased blood flow to the retina and the visual pathways.

Recommended Dosage?

Please do not overeat chocolate. Excessive consumption leads to weight gain that can increase blood pressure and lead to other health complications. Do this, as all things, in moderation. Dark chocolate is the way to go as it contains 50% to 90% cocoa flavanols. You can nibble on two squares of dark chocolate daily to enjoy the flavanol benefits. Milk chocolate has 5% to 50% of cocoa flavanols and generally contains more fat and so is not recommended.

Not so sweet after all

Dark chocolate is usually more bitter and might take some getting used to if you’ve been taking milk chocolate, but you can get used to the taste over time, or you can mix it into other healthy recipes.

 

Remember that what keeps you healthy is not dark chocolate, but good health habits, a healthy diet and exercise. Contact us for counselling on ways to improve your eye health.