Cocoa is Excellent for Your Heart and Cholesterol

Over the past dozen years or so, a steady stream of science has emerged, showing that cocoa and the confection made from it (chocolate) are exceptionally good for health. Most notably, cocoa demonstrates significant benefits for the cardiovascular system, helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, elevate HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of cancer.

Furthermore, cocoa consumption is associated with reduced cognitive decline in old age. Another dimension of the benefits of cocoa and chocolate consumption concerns mood. Cocoa is rich in agents that enhance the production of various feel-good chemicals in the brain, notably serotonin and dopamine. This means that cocoa possesses anti-depressant, mood-elevating properties.

Dr. Norman Hollenberg at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston has conducted ground-breaking research into the health benefits of cocoa — specifically with a native group living on the San Blas islands off of Panama. The tribe, known as the Kuna, have approximately ten percent the rates of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and cancer of other populations. This remarkable health status has brought the Kuna to the attention of various medical experts, including Hollenberg.

In his years working in Panama, Hollenberg observed that the Kuna people only drink water mixed with cocoa, which they raise year around. As a result of consuming a lot of cocoa daily, the Kuna enjoy unusual cardiovascular health. According to Hollenberg, the Kuna also experience far less cognitive decline in their latter years. In other words, cocoa might prove to be a preventive factor against various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Hollenberg’s remarkable research led to several important published studies showing that cocoa is one of the healthiest substances you can put in your body. //C. Stevens