You may have heard about a health fad that has been gaining popularity in recent months called “dechox”. The idea is that by completely eliminating chocolate from your diet, you improve your overall health and strengthen your heart. A detox with chocolate. Paying attention to your cardiovascular health is a great thing, but removing chocolate won’t fix any heart problems.
While it is proven that chocolate can actually be quite healthy for you, these fads continue to arise. Is there any truth to it? Does chocolate damage the heart? Are you in danger because you enjoy a sweet chocolate treat from time to time?
The truth behind the dechox fad may surprise you. Keeping reading to learn more about how chocolate affects your cardiovascular health.
How Chocolate Affects Cardiovascular Health
Chocolate continues to prove that its ingredients are necessary to a healthy mind and body. While these ingredients can be found in other foods, you wouldn’t believe how much health a chocolate bar can pack. Studies show that all kinds of chocolate boast nutritional benefits, not just the bitter-tasting, “pure” chocolates that your health-nut friends love so much.
Can there be too much of a good thing? Absolutely. No doctor would recommend that you only eat chocolate, and it is always a good idea to cut back on your daily sugar intake. Eating far too much chocolate could have disastrous health implications, but to cut chocolate out entirely can have drastic effects as well.
A healthy diet includes well-balanced nutritional choices that allow your body to get the strength that it needs from a variety of foods. Health fads like “dechox” can actually be a bit dangerous. If you cut out foods that your body uses to get important nutrition, you run the risk of endangering your health.
What the Doctors Say About Chocolate
A study in 2015 from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that people who ate 3.5 oz of chocolate each day had a lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Surprisingly, most of the people in the study ate milk chocolate or another sweetened chocolate, rather than dark or bitter chocolate, although many people claim dark is healthier than milk chocolate.
The study didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between eating chocolate and heart health, but that’s just the point. Because chocolate isn’t clearly linked as a cause to heart failure or disease, a fad like dechox is just plain silly.
Dr. Pylo Myint, the co-author of the study, explains that people concerned about their heart health should be more concerned about their overall health (including their aerobic exercise and well-balanced diets) than they should be about the supposed health dangers of chocolate. “The key,” he says, “is moderation.”
Another study authored in 2011 found that eating chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease or other cardiovascular problems by as much as one-third. Their study not only showed that some chocolate is good, but actually that “higher levels” of chocolate consumption is beneficial.
What Studies Prove About Chocolate and Heart Disease
All things considered, chocolate eaten in moderation can result in positive health benefits. Study after study proves that people who eat a few squares of chocolate each day have lower blood pressure and fewer heart health concerns than those who abstain.
People who eat a bit of chocolate each day tend to be younger, exercise more, and have overall better health. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity-all factors that contribute to a cardiovascular risk profile-are less likely to be found in people who love their chocolate. When all is said and done, a fad like dechox just doesn’t make sense.
Choose the Best Chocolates
If you’re still concerned, look at it this way. One of the most important factors in cardiovascular health is a well-balanced, nutritional diet. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth without getting carried away, choose chocolates with quality ingredients.
Your local chocolate shop will use traditional recipes and superior ingredients from trusted sources. That pure, sweet taste of chocolate tastes so good because it isn’t manufactured in a factory, it’s made right in the confectionary. You can trust it because it’s not full of artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that damage your heart.
You should avoid overly-processed foods anyway, especially if you want to improve your heart and lower your risk of heart failure, disease, and stroke. And if you choose to eat quality chocolates from your local chocolate shop, you fill your body with quality nutrition that will actually benefit your cardiovascular health (and taste great).
Strengthen Your Heart
If you really want to improve your heart health, don’t dechox. Instead, talk to your doctor and create a plan with him or her that is personalized for you. Your doctor will know what your body needs and what dietary restrictions may help improve your health.
You can also follow several general guidelines for improved cardiovascular health, including:
- Reduce your sodium intake. Table salt and foods that contain a lot of salt increase your risk of high blood pressure, so stay away.
- Participate in aerobic exercise. Bike, swim, walk, or jog-these kinds of exercises strengthen your heart, expand your lungs, and gently strengthen your muscles over time.
- Avoid dangerous fats. If you need to cook, use olive oil or another healthy fat.
And of course, eat your chocolate!
Have any questions? Give your local chocolatier a call to learn more about their ingredients and processes. We’ll be happy to give you a description of how we make our candies.