4 Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate from Recent Studies

Health benefits of eating chocolateWith the growing number of studies on health benefits of eating chocolate, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it anymore. Know 4 advantages of eating chocolate that are backed by scientific research.

4 health benefits of eating chocolate

The next time you eat chocolate, you might not have to feel guilty about it. In spite of its reputation for causing weight gain, there are several health benefits associated with this tasty treat. Chocolate is made from tropical cacao tree seeds, and was used back in the Olmec Civilization in Mesoamerica. After the discovery of Americans, chocolate made its way to Europe, where its popularity and demand increased. Since then, chocolate has become a very famous food product that millions of people indulge on everyday, thanks to its rich, unique and sweet taste. But what effects does eating chocolate have on the health?

For so many years, chocolate has been on the end of so many bad press because of its fat content. Its consumption has been associated with obesity, acne, high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease. However, recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception, and even stimulated research on its effects on oxidative stress, aging, atherosclerosis and blood pressure regulation. Today, chocolate is now lauded for its huge antioxidant potential. Some of the many health benefits chocolate that are most significant are discussed below.

1. Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate: Lower Cholesterol Levels

Eating chocolate can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition was done to determine if chocolate bars that contains plant sterols and cocoa flavanols have any effect on cholesterol levels. The authors of the study said that the results indicate that regular consumption of chocolate bars with plant sterols and cocoa flavanols as part of a low-fat diet can support cardiovascular health by improving blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.

2. Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate: Prevent Memory Decline

Scientists from Harvard Medical School suggested that drinking 2 cups of hot chocolate once a day can help keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline among older people. They said that hot chocolate can help preserve blood flow in the working areas of the brain. According to the lead author, as different areas of the brain require more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. Such a relationship is called neurovascular coupling, and can play a big role in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

3. Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate: Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Research published in the British Medical Journal suggested that consuming chocolate can help lower the risk of developing heart disease by a third. This report was presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Paris, France. Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption appear to be associated with a significant reduction in the risk of cardio metabolic disorders. Additional experimental studies are still needed to confirm a potential beneficial effect on chocolate consumption.

4. Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate: Prevent Stroke

Another advantages eating chocolate is that it prevents stroke. Scientists from Canada carried out a study that involved more than 44,000 people and found out that those who consume chocolate were 22 percent less likely to suffer a stroke compared to those who did not. Also, those people who have had a stroke but regularly consumed chocolate were 46 percent less likely to die as a result.

Be warned on eating chocolate

Though, that chocolate comes with a high calorie count, and contains large amounts of sugar. So if you are trying to lose weight or maintaining weight, it might be a good idea to set a limit on your chocolate consumption. Also, there is research saying that chocolate can cause osteoporosis and poor bone structure. One study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was carried out to determine the relationship between chocolate consumption and bone density among older women. The authors were able to conclude that older women who eat chocolate every day had lower bone strength and density.

To ensure that you get to enjoy as much health benefits dark chocolate as possible, go with chocolate that has the highest amount of cocoa possible, preferably 70 percent and up. These dark chocolate variants went through less processing, so they were able to retain the most amount of vitamins and nutrients found in cacao and chocolate. Also, consume chocolate moderately. Remember that too much of a good thing can turn out bad.

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