Hearing Loss Prevention with Chocolate?
Ah, chocolate, to aficionados, the delicacy made from the beans of the cacao tree is nothing short of “manna from heaven.” To ordinary people, it’s just a food-like candy that other people are obsessed with. As much as modern culture treats it like candy, the origins of chocolate are rooted in medicine, and that it would seem is also its future. As ongoing research into chocolate and cacao shows, a vast array of health benefits for almost every part of the body is found inside. In 2019 scientists in Korea published findings from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2012 to 2013 that stated, “our results suggest that chocolate decreases the rates of hypertension and dyslipidemia, which enables the preservation of hearing loss.”
Hearing Loss and Chocolate: What is the Connection?
When the term “superfood” first appeared, cacao went very quickly to the top of the list. Initially native to South America, 90% of the cacao that is made into chocolate is grown in Africa. Today products made from chocolate are found everywhere humans go, from the local corner store to the antarctic circle and even into space. As it turns out, this is a good thing, as cacao is chock full of vitamins and nutrients. Iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper are all essential for proper nutrition and are found in chocolate and cacao. While the mechanisms are still not wholly understood, cacao is recognized for its anti-oxidant properties and can help reduce cardiovascular inflammation. It is theorized that the same could be valid for vascular hypertension, which is related to hearing loss.
The study conditions prevented the Korean researchers from determining any dosage information beyond “eaten a few times per week.” However, other studies on the effects of cacao could provide a few guidelines that could be helpful. It is well known that the process that turns cacao into chocolate reduces the efficacy and nutrient value of the beans. So it is recommended to get the darkest chocolate you can stand or, better yet, go for some sweetened cacao nibs. Unfortunately, the researchers could not find any correlation or helpful benefits for tinnitus. The results seem to indicate that chocolate and cacao help create a protective environment that helps prevent damage rather than a restorative one.