Thursday, June 15, 2017

Chocolate and Atrial fibrillation

What a crazy combination!? Heart issues and yummy indulgent food?

Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.  The risk factors for Afib generally are related to having other medical issues that can be risk factors for many illnesses.  Specifically, things like high blood pressure, heart disease, drinking excessive alcohol, sleep apnea, advanced age, diabetes, asthma and hyperthyroidism increase the risk.

The risk factors above are related to inflammation in the body.  The tissues in the body become inflamed and swollen, leading to decreased function and health debility.  Reducing inflammation will produce improvement in general health as well as reducing specific issues like high blood pressure or heart disease.

Determining whether a food is healthy in Ayurveda depends on who is asking the question. Pure cocoa, the bean that chocolate is made from, is very bitter (just try eating plain cocoa!).

Bitter is one of six tastes in Ayurveda (along with sweet, sour, salty, pungent, and astringent). Like each of the tastes, bitter has very specific actions in the body. Bitter brings about the cool, light, and dry qualities in the body, which translates into actions that are anti-toxic, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing.

This bitter quality of pure chocolate (lightly sweetened or unsweetened) is what gives the health benefits of reducing oxidation and inflammation.  A recent study found eating 2 to 6  one ounce portions of chocolate a week does reduce the risk of developing Afib.  Ayurveda is not surprised by this result because the bitterness of the chocolate will provide the anti inflammatory action needed for this type of result. Ayurveda teaches that food and herbs can be medicine for our body.

The connection between chocolate and atrial fibrillation is not so crazy.

Stay healthy & well,
Lisa

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