Chocolate good for sweet tooth and heart

By Sara Story
Posted by Michael Hetrick

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Chocolate lovers get your sweet tooth ready, because there is a new benefit to eating chocolate.

Chocolate comes in all sizes, flavors, and shapes. Sweet shop owners like Pam Gabriel say that chocolate lovers have recently been flocking to dark chocolate.  "We are seeing it for a lot of health reasons. People come in and they get that one ounce and they feel better," said Gabriel.

This may be more than just a feeling. We already have heard that chocolate helps lower blood pressure, but according to a new study in the Journal of International Medicine, chocolate also decreases the death rate in heart attack survivors.

Dr. Stephan Sigal is a cardiologist and says a few ounces a week makes sense. "We know that cocao has compounds in it called flavonoids which have beneficial effects as antioxidants," said Sigal.

Scientists say that if heart attack survivors eat this delicious treat two or more times a week, the risk of dying from heart disease is cut by a third compared to those who don't eat it at all.

Chocolate lovers say they are ready to get their fix. "I mean I hope it is true -- then it wouldn't be so bad eating all of the sweets I eat," said chocolate lover, Aubrey Burnley.

Dr. Sigal says a chocolate diet isn't for everyone. "The downside to this is obviously weight control, and if you have a tendancy towards high sugars and diabetes, then sweets and chocolate is not going to be recommended," said Sigal.

So for those looking to satisfy your sweet tooth and stay healthy, a piece of chocolate a day may keep the doctor away.

Dr. Sigal says chocolate is not meant to replace the medical treatments your doctor has ordered. It should simply be used to supplement your normal routine.

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