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II. Đề thi IELTS READING: Chocolate’s Potential Health Benefits (08/04/2022)
Read about the health benefits of chocolate. Then answer the questions below by selecting YES, NO, TRUE or FALSE.
Researchers have some news for chocolate lovers: it may be good for you. The research, the latest which correlates eating flavonoid-rich foods with a reduced risk of heart disease, was presented in February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston.
Clinical studies found that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (NO), a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure. They also showed that flavonoids in cocoa prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries, and make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause clots. Flavonoids are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties; so far, scientists have found more than 4000 kinds. Cocoa beans contain large quantities of flavonoids, and so do tea, cranberries, peanuts, strawberries, apples and many other fruits and vegetables.
Generally, science has found that dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate. Unfortunately, the way that cocoa powder and chocolate syrups are processed into chocolate bars and drinks removes most flavonoids. However, other positive characteristics are retained. For example, chocolate is still considered the food of choice for those who feel depressed and need to cheer themselves up.
Two studies were carried out. In the first study, researchers lead by physician and professor of medicine Dr Norman K Hollenberg, gave volunteers cocoa with either a high or low amount of flavonoids. Those who drank cocoa with more flavonoids processed nitric oxide more effectively.
The residents of an island called Kuna in Panama prompted Hollenberg’s study. These indigenous people, who drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day and include it in many recipes, rarely develop high blood pressure. However, if they leave the island, the risk of high blood pressure increases, and studies found it isn’t related to salt intake or obesity.
The other study compared how blood platelets responded to a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink and a blood-thinning aspirin dose. The research found similar reactions to the two from a group of 20- to 40-year-olds: both the drink and the aspirin prevented platelets from sticking together or clotting, which can impede blood flow. In other words, flavonoid-rich cocoa and chocolate act similarly to low-dose aspirin in promoting healthy blood flow. Reducing the blood’s ability to clot also reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Lead study author Dr Carl Keen cautioned that his team isn’t suggesting that people eat a couple of chocolate bars instead of taking a daily dose of aspirin. ‘We’re not saying that people should consume flavonoid-rich foods in place of aspirin. However, for people who cannot take aspirin, eating flavonoid-rich foods may be a useful approach’ he said.
Which possible benefits are mentioned (YES) and which are not mentioned (NO) by the author in Part 1 of the article?
1. It tastes good.
2. It can help to protect your heart.
3. It acts as an anti-depressant.
4. It contains substances which are stimulants.
Which of these statements are (TRUE) and which are (FALSE) according to Part 2 of the article?
5. Cocoa with high levels of flavonoids increases nitric oxide in the body.
6. In Kuna, cocoa is a common ingredient in lots of dishes.
7. Flavonoid-rich cocoa and aspirin have identical positive health effects.
8. Dr Carl Keen suggests that flavonoid-rich cocoa might be a suitable alternative to aspirin for some people.
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