Evidence-based benefits of chocolate

We are all guilty of one piece of chocolate turning into a block. However, there has been recent evidence found that perhaps we don’t have to feel so bad about it. Despite the bad reputation chocolate has for causing weight gain, acne, fat deposits, and illness, a number of health benefits are associated with this decadent treat.

 

The earliest use of chocolate dates all the way back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica. Chocolate grew quickly in popularity after the European discovery of the America’s and after that, the demand for it exploded.

 

Ever since then, chocolate has become one of the most popular food products in the world. Millions of people enjoy it every single day thanks to its sweet, rich, unique, and decadent flavor. But what effects does this delicious treat have on our health?

 

 

The Evidence-Based Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate has always received its fair share of bad press due to its high fat and sugar content. Often, the consumption of chocolate is associated with:

 

  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Fat deposits
  • Illness
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease

 

However, according to new research, it isn’t all bad news when it comes to consuming chocolate.

 

 

Cholesterol

A study recently published in The Journal of Nutrition states that chocolate consumption could help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, also known as bad cholesterol. The authors were able to conclude that:

 

“Regular consumption of chocolate bars containing PS and CF, as part of a low-fat diet, may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.”

 

 

Cognitive Function

Scientists from Harvard Medical School have proposed that drinking two cups of hot chocolate per day could help the brain stay healthy while reducing memory decline in aged people. Researchers also found that the consumption of hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to the parts of the brain where it was needed.

 

 

Heart Disease

According to research published in The BMJ, consuming chocolate could lower the risk of developing heart disease by one-third. The authors were able to conclude, that based on their observations, higher levels of chocolate consumption could be linked to a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders.

 

 

Stroke

In a study that involved 44,489 people, Canadian scientists concluded that people who ate one serving of chocolate were 22 percent less likely to experience a stroke than those who did not consume chocolate. It also showed that those who had roughly two ounces of chocolate per week were 46 percent less likely to die from a stroke.

 

Another study published in 2015 in the journal Heart tracked the long-term impact of diets on 25,000 men and women. The study found that eating up to 100 grams of chocolate each day could be linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

 

Fetal Growth and Development

Eating about 30 grams or one ounce of chocolate every day during pregnancy has shown to have benefits to both fetal growth and development. This is according to a study from 2016 at the Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

 

 

The Bottom Line

Next time you go to pick up a bar of chocolate and scold yourself for it, remember these benefits and how they could be impacting your health in a positive way. While it is important to remember not to overdo it, there have been proven health benefits when it comes to consuming chocolate.

 

In moderation, chocolate can provide many health benefits as shown above. If you’re not enjoying chocolate in fear of gaining weight or dealing with acne, worry no more.

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