A study has found that a delicious chocolate drink can be surprisingly effective in lowering cholesterol levels, even within weeks.
Hypercholesterolemia is the value that indicates the presence of a fatty substance in the blood. It is the cause of some serious diseases like high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, which poses a threat to our health. This is why it is essential to control its rate, which must be between 100 and 129 mg/dL, speaking in this case of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.
In this regard, the effects of a plant-based diet on improving blood cholesterol levels are already known. It is therefore recommended to consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and to choose foods low in saturated fat and salt.
However, a study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseasesexplained how a delicious chocolate drink can be surprisingly effective in lowering cholesterol levels, even within weeks.
Based on the assumption that regular consumption of cocoa products may provide some cardiovascular protection, the study researchers decided to investigate the effects of cocoa on lipids.
The study was based on a sample of 42 volunteers at high risk of cardiovascular disease including 19 men and 23 women. Concretely, the participants received hot chocolate, prepared using 40 g of cocoa powder and 500 ml of skimmed milk or pure milk only, every day for 4 weeks in a random order. Before and after the intervention period, the research team measured the concentrations of cholesterol and antioxidant vitamins.
The analyzes showed that people who drank the drink had lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, one that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, hot cocoa also seems to cause an increase in the level of “good” cholesterol which, in turn, helps control the “bad” type. While no particular effect was observed on vitamins B1, B6, B12, C and E, the impacts on cholesterol were significant.
The reason ? Hot cocoa, according to the researchers, is able to modulate the lipid profile in subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Indeed, cocoa is rich in flavonoids which are bioactive compounds found naturally in cocoa beans and which protect against the risk of heart disease.
So, while many chocolate treats are generally a bad idea when it comes to healthy eating, a simple hot chocolate could surprisingly help lower cholesterol.