We’ve found some simply delicious research reports.
Chocolate Lovers- Take Heart!
Denmark has created a large health study, with over 55,000 participants who have been tracked for over 13 years. Originally designed to identify cancer risk factors, it captured sufficiently rich and detailed information that it can be used to assess heart health benefits as well.
Research teams from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, and Aalborg University Hospital in Aalborg Denmark teamed up. Kim Overvad, PhD in Epidemiology at Aalborg University Hospital took the lead; Murray A. Mittleman, MD of Beth Israel and Elizabeth Mostofsky, ScD and a post-doc at Beth Israel also worked on it. The researchers were trying to determine if consumption of chocolate reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is commonly called “afib” here in the U.S. It’s likely you’ve seen advertisements for medications to treat it. Afib is associated with a higher risk of stroke, dementia, heart failure, cognitive decline and, in general, worse mortality.
Relating the consumption of chocolate to those with afib, those who ate a one-ounce serving 1-3 times per month had a 10% lower risk of afib than those who consumed it less than once per month. Those who enjoyed chocolate once a week had a 17% lower risk, and those chocolate lovers who treated themselves 2-6 times a week reduced their risk of afib by 20%. (!) According to co-author Dr. Mostofsky, “Moderate consumption of cocoa and cocoa-containing foods may promote cardiovascular health due to their high content of flavanols, a sub group of polyphenols with vasodilatory, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.” The whole study is linked here.
There you are: treat yourself to an ounce of delicious dark chocolate containing 70% or higher cocoa. After all, it’s for your heart.
Some of the researchers who made me feel better about chocolate have also weighed in on coffee. This time the team was Dr. Murray Mittleman, Elizabeth Mostofsky, ScD, Megan S. Rice, ScD, and Emily B. Levitan, ScD. The actual article title: Habitual Coffee Consumption and Risk of Heart Failure A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. The press release had a friendlier headline: Moderate Coffee Consumption Offers Protection Against Heart Failure. Link to the study here.
It was another large study with 140,000 participants. Their conclusion generally matched some studies we’ve commented on before, with one difference-specificity on portion size (or, as they called it: dose. I like it. I’ve occasionally considered a coffee IV, or eating the freshly ground beans with a spoon. And making a perfect pot of freshly-brewed coffee requires careful measurement of the amount of coffee i.e.-the dosage.) The study showed that the positive health benefits peaked at two eight-ounce cups a day. (Note that 3-4 cups weren’t much different). Dosing with, er, drinking two eight-ounce cups daily was associated with a 11% reduction in heart attacks. The only bad news from the study: if you drink more than 10 cups a day, your risk goes up to the level of non-coffee-drinkers. There it is addicts: don’t drink the whole pot.
Did You Know?
Did you know that we offer our own, freshly roasted small batch coffee? It’s roasted for us by the first boutique roaster in MA. And here is the dirty little secret of the coffee business: coffee begins to lose the richness of its taste within days of roasting: fresh roasted is simply better. That stuff on the grocer’s shelf? How long has it been there? And those little K-Cups-how old is that instant coffee? Please. Do us and yourself a favor – buy some fresh roasted. We only offer whole beans. At home and our office, we grind them every morning.
Always trying to grow bigger brains,
The Big Brain team.
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