What does Cacao do to cholesterol levels

Cholesterol levels Cacao

Cacao powder used in the production of chocolate, cacao has been used since ancient history by the Native Americans like Aztecs and Mayans and where introduced to the European shores in the 16th century, first In Spain and later the rest of Europe. Chocolate comes in many forms but only the dark kind is truly made from the beneficial cacao powder where the white chocolate is actually made from cacao butter and has none of the beneficiary effects  that cacao is supposed to have.

Note:  chocolate contains alkaloids that have a psychological effect on humans, but the presence of a alkaloid called Theo bromine also known as xantheose makes chocolate toxic to certain animals like cats and dogs. White chocolate does not contain xantheose so it is not toxic to these animals.
There are several types of chocolate in existence, while one is pure or unsweetened the majority today consumed is sweet chocolate which is chocolate mixed with sugar.

Chocolate is said to provide a whole list of beneficial effects a small list can be found below:

It should be noted that the benefits are only for dark chocolate or cacao powder, cacao butter or white chocolate does not provide these benefits except for the properties this fat might posses due to the monounsaturated content, not all of these potential benefits have been proven and if they work most only work in moderation.
Cacao is rich in flavonoids:  strong anti-oxidant that protects the plant from environmental toxins and help repair damage.
Flavonols are the main kind of flavonoids found in cacao and have been found to have other potential benefits outside the regular flavonoids properties such as an effect on your cardiovascular health, it can help lower your blood pressure if you have a high blood pressure, improve the flow of blood
Cacao is rich in anti-oxidants: which are believed to help resist cell damage and too few anti-oxidants to fight off the oxidants you cause with every single breath or action you take during the day may have a very negative effect on LDL cholesterol.

It should be noted that cacao undergoes a process before it turns into your average bar of chocolate in the store and this process has been known to destroy most of the beneficial effects of cacao depending on how the chocolate was processed. However your best choice to gain asmuch as possible would probably be by looking for pure dark chocolate.

Cacao fat has a benefit on its own that it is made mostly out of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, if you read the low cholesterol page you are aware by now that this kind of fatty acids has a neutral to positive effect on your general health and cholesterol levels. Unfortunately white chocolate bars are often filled with sugar so remember moderation and look for unsweetened kind (if they have any)

But to go further about the effects of cacao on cholesterol and why it might actually be possible to include some(remember moderation) cacao to the diet to improve cholesterol levels, but remember only the dark chocolate really is chocolate.

Fortunately chocolate has been well studied over the years and several studies can show you the effect of cacao on people with normal to high cholesterol.

Plasma LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL concentrations are altered in normo and hypercholesterolemic humans after the intake of different levels of cocoa powder.

160 subjects divided in 4 groups
1 group ingested low-polyphenolic compound (placebo group) or 2 levels of cocoa intake either 13g/d for low, 19.5g/d middle or 26 g/d for high cocoa groups. The powders where consumed as a beverage. Twice a day for four weeks.

Samples where collected before the test and 4weeks after intake.
Blood cholesterol levels, plasma oxidized LDL was reduced in the low/middle/high groups compared to baseline.
Reduction of LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL cholesterol  in the blood was noticed in the low/middle and high groups while HDL increased.

Conclusion: the polyphenolic substances from cocoa powder may contribute to reducing LDL cholesterol and elevation of HDL cholesterol and suppression of oxidized LDL cholesterol.

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