Can Dark Chocolate Help Fight COVID Infection?
When it comes to chocolate there are so many reasons switch to the dark side!
- Dark chocolate is a “superfood” chock-full of antioxidants that fight dangerous free radicals in your body.
- There are numerous studies that confirm dark chocolate’s cardiovascular benefits. It reduces blood pressure, increases the elasticity of the blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and reduces LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
- Eating dark chocolate has also shown to be good for the brain by improving mood, memory, and cognitive function.
- Dark chocolate has less sugar, cream and/or milk than regular milk or white chocolate.
Now there is one more reason to make the switch.
A new study shows that dark chocolate is among certain foods that contain compounds helpful in preventing the replication of SARS-Cov-2, the virus responsible for COVID19.
The study out of North Carolina State University aimed to find out if there were chemical compounds in plants that could prevent the main protease (Mpro) in the SARS-CoV-2 virus from replicating.
Using computer simulations and lab studies the researchers confirmed that the compounds found in dark chocolate, green tea, and muscadine grapes successfully inhibited Mpro activity, in some cases by up to 50%!
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So, how can you take advantage of these benefits without doing more harm than good? Here are some helpful tips.
- Not all dark chocolate is the same. Look for at least 70% cacao, the ingredient that is the source of the antioxidants. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better.
- Eat chocolate in moderation, not more than between 1.5 and 3.5 ounces per day. Although dark chocolate is good for you, the best diet is a balanced diet, so make sure you are also eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t eat chocolate at night; it provides a dose of caffeine that can interfere with proper sleep, which is essential to obtaining and maintaining good health.
Medical Research Demonstrating the Benefits of Dark Chocolate.
* Effect of cocoa products on blood pressure: systematic review and meta-analysis.
* Chocolate consumption is inversely associated with prevalent coronary heart disease: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study.
* The emerging role of flavonoid-rich cocoa and chocolate in cardiovascular health and disease.
* Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis.
* Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health.
* Sub-Chronic Consumption of Dark Chocolate Enhances Cognitive Function and Releases Nerve Growth Factors: A Parallel-Group Randomized Trial
* Impact of Coffee and Cacao Purine Metabolites on Neuroplasticity and Neurodegenerative Disease
* Beneficial Effects of Dark Chocolate for Episodic Memory in Healthy Young Adults: A Parallel-Groups Acute Intervention with a White Chocolate Control
*Docking Characterization and in vitro Inhibitory Activity of Flavan-3-ols and Dimeric Proanthocyanidins Against the Main Protease Activity of SARS-Cov-2
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Dr. Kaplan discusses the many health benefits of dark chocolate and offers a few other health-boosting suggestions
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