Why you SHOULD eat Chocolate!

Most of us have heard it’s ‘fine’, or maybe even healthy, to eat dark chocolate in moderation, but where is that coming from (aside from the soul soothing ‘goodness’ factor)? Today, the day after Valentine’s day, seemed like a good day to share what I’ve discovered:

·         Many of chocolate’s health benefits come from it’s high antioxidant level. The darker the chocolate, and therefore higher the cocoa content, the more benefit! Dark chocolate, if good quality, typically also contains less ‘bad’ fat and sugar, but it’s wise to read the label

·         Chocolate consumption may help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Authors conclude “"Regular consumption of chocolate bars … may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure."

·         Harvard researchers suggest that drinking 2 cups of hot cocoa a day may support cognitive health and memory. They found hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain, quoting “as different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's.". Another study suggests eating chocolate at least once weekly could improve cognitive function!

·         A review article in the BMJ found chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 37% percent!

·         Scientists found that people who ate one serving of chocolate weekly were 22 percent less likely to have a stroke, while those who consume two ounces of chocolate a week were 46 percent less likely to suffer a fatal stroke. In 2015, a study published in the journal Heart concluded that eating up to 100gms of chocolate lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • The purported benefits don’t stop there! Consumptions during pregnancy has been linked to improved fetal outcomes and athletes who eat chocolate have improved oxygen metabolism. And that ‘goodness’ factor? – Authors in this study have discovered an entire range of compounds in chocolate that can impact mood, proposing the concept of a "mood pyramid"!

 

Katie Weststrate