A recent analysis of 10 medical research trials from Harvard Medical School indicates that people who incorporate cocoa and dark chocolate into their diets had reduced their overall cholesterol levels and their LDL cholesterol as well. No effect was found on HDL cholesterol levels or triglycerides.
Short term intake of cocoa and dark chocolate lowered cholesterol over 6 mg for each overall dl, and LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol was also lowered an average of nearly 6 mg per dl.
The polyphenols and flavanols in cocoa and dark chocolate are pointed to as the reason for the health benefits for cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolate contains a flavanol called epicatechin, which is believed to be responsible for the benefits for overall health.
The research studies were conducted with dark chocolate and cocoa products that were rich in flavanols. In some studies, some study participants were given over 500 milligrams of cocoa or dark chocolate, while less was given to other participants.
After analysis of the 10 studies, researchers concluded that cocoa and dark chocolate products, specifically those that contained high amounts of flavanols and polyphenols had a significant positive effect on cholesterol levels.
It is thought that compounds in dark chocolate and cocoa help to reduce the absorption of cholesterol.
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