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Eat More Chocolate to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

There’s good news out there for chocolate-loving seniors. Researchers believe that moderate consumption of chocolate can protect your cardiovascular system and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. This means that post-stroke caregivers in Nashville can prevent stroke recurrence by letting their senior loved ones indulge in a tasty treat. There are several ingredients in chocolate that are believed to contribute to the health benefits experienced by those that consume chocolate in moderation.

1. Antioxidants – There are many environmental contaminants and normal physiological processes that generate harmful free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds that cause damage at a cellular level. The formation of plaque in arteries, for example, is partially due to the activity of free radicals. Antioxidants are able to neutralize these harmful chemicals.

2. Flavonoids – These chemicals are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that protects plants from environmental toxins. The consumption of flavonoids provides much of the same benefit for humans.

3. Flavonols – This is the specific variety of flavonoid found in chocolate and cocoa. However, the benefit goes beyond antioxidant activity. Flavonols have been found to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to both the heart and brain, and reduce the formation of blood clots.

Not all types of chocolate are rich in these helpful antioxidants. The more heavily processed the chocolate, the lower the antioxidant content. In most cases, milk chocolate isn’t a healthy option. Not only does it lack these healthy nutrients, there is also an excess of added sugar and fat. Dark chocolate is the best option for seniors, particularly dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. This information is often found on the label. Look for chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 65 percent for maximum benefits.

A little research will show which brands of chocolate are highest in flavonols. The content can vary dramatically from brand to brand, depending on the manufacturing process. Shop wisely and consume in moderation.

To learn more about how nutrition impacts the health and wellness of your senior loved one, contact a reliable provider of senior care in Nashville, TN, like Home Care Assistance at (615) 656-4999 today. Our team of experienced caregivers receives ongoing training in the latest home care techniques, including lessons in healthy diet and exercises that promote longevity and wellbeing. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with a trusted Care Manager today and let us help your loved one enjoy the vitality he or she deserves.