Health, Lighter, News, Science

Chocolate May Be Good For Your Heart

chocolate; image: Nieuw, Wikimedia Commons
Image: Nieuw, Wikimedia Commons

Chocolate – eaten in moderation – may actually be good for you, according to a new study.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that people who ate small amounts of dark chocolate instead of other high-fat treats, had slight improvements in the health of their heart.

For some participants, their blood pressure came down slightly. Some people had lower insulin levels.

The researchers, at the Norwich Medical School in the UK, studied more than 1,000 people. They asked people to eat chocolate (or not eat chocolate) and then they monitored them to check for changes in their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of waxy fat; too much of it can cause damage to the heart.

Similar studies in the past have also suggested that for some people, eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate may be good for their heart.

The researchers don’t know why dark chocolate helps the heart, but it may be because it has “flavonoids” in it. Many scientists say flavonoids help the body fight cancer and some other diseases.

Of course, there is a downside to chocolate. Most chocolate has a lot of fat and sugar in it, which means that while there could be some slight improvements to your heart’s health, you may end up gaining weight, and that would probably offset any improvements to your heart.

So for now, scientists say it’s not a good idea to add chocolate to your diet to improve your heart’s health. The extra sugar and calories likely won’t be worth it.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Making healthy choices can change your life. What are some healthy choices that you make? How does being healthy make you feel, think and behave?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
What is the point of view of the journalist writing this article? How would this article be different if it was written by a doctor, a chocolate manufacturer, a nutritionist or a person who loves chocolate?

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Grammar Feature: Adjectives
Adjectives (describing words) help us to visualize what we read. When we think of chocolate (and any sweet treats), many adjectives come to mind.

List all of the adjectives you can think of to describe your favourite treat.

Once you have described your treat, read the adjectives to a friend. Can they can guess the treat you are describing based on the adjectives that you chose?