Savor your Easter chocolate - it may help control your cholesterol. The latest good news about chocolate’s effects on health comes from a study showing that antioxidants that it contains, called polyphenols, boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and lower LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) at least in the lab. Japanese researchers used cultures of human liver and intestinal cells to analyze the effect of cocoa polyphenols on cholesterol. They found that these polyphenols increased levels of apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) a protein that is a major component of HDL, while lowering levels of apolipoprotein B (ApoB), the main component of LDL. They reported that the polyphenols work by boosting the action of specific proteins that attach to DNA and switch on genes that raise HDL levels. They also observed that cocoa polyphenols appear to increase the activity of LDL receptors, which helps lower levels of this "bad" cholesterol. The study was published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
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