The delicious road to artery health
Want an easy way to help keep your arteries clear? Try a little cocoa.
Before I tell you about the latest research, put down that candy bar. There's a much better way to get your cocoa without a sugar-filled gut-buster, and I'll get to that in a minute...
Spanish researchers followed a group of older patients who had a high risk of heart disease. Half of them drank skim milk, the other half got skim milk mixed with cocoa powder.
After four weeks, the cocoa drinkers had lower levels of the biomarkers associated with atherosclerosis than those who drank the plain skim, according to a study I came across in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The secret? Polyphenols, a flavonoid that can reduce levels of the inflammatory compounds that ultimately cause artery hardening.
Cocoa is so full of polyphenols that they practically spill out of the container.
Now it's time for me to be the party pooper. This study is not a license to go out and eat chocolate bars and chocolate candy, now matter what you may have read elsewhere.
Once again, those ignoramuses in the media got it wrong. I've found headlines online like "Eat up: Chocolate may reduce risks of heart disease." One newspaper even used this study as an excuse to list all the local candy shops.
These shallow, empty stories never make the distinction between pure, healthy cocoa and the chocolate crapola that most people shovel down their throats. And because of that, people think it's OK to load up on sugary garbage, which is exactly what your heart doesn't need (neither does the rest of you, for that matter).
Instead, buy some plain old pure unsweetened cocoa powder - you'll find it in just about any supermarket, usually in the baking aisle - and add it to your coffee. If it clumps up, run the powder through your blender or food processor first to make it even finer.
The subjects in this study had 40 grams of cocoa each day - roughly 7 teaspoons. For most people, one teaspoon three times a day will do the trick… and you'll get all the benefits of chocolate - with none of the problems of candy.
About the author
William Campbell Douglass I.I., M.D. has been called "the conscience of modern medicine."
You can sign up for his "Daily Dose" at DouglassReport.com.