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Posts Tagged ‘Types of chocolate’

Chocolate is a mainstay of many holiday treats. While two boxes of heart-shaped delicacies linger on my table, Easter approaches for another round of tasty morsels. Is there any good news for chocolate lovers? Yes. Chocolate may have some health benefits.

In forty-two clinical studies, people who consumed chocolate or cocoa for a few weeks to months had slightly decreased blood pressure and improved blood vessel function. The British Medical Journal reported that those who regularly consumed more chocolate (forty-five grams per week) compared to those who ate smaller amounts (less than nine grams per week) were nearly 30% less likely to experience stroke. Eating chocolate also decreased insulin levels and reduced diabetes risk. Researchers, however, did not support chocolate as a healthful indulgence and recommended moderation.

In another study, two groups of overweight and obese pre-menopausal women were given either a daily dark-chocolate snack or a non-chocolate snack. Both groups showed decreases in body weight. Thus, eaten sparingly, dark chocolate did not hamper weight loss.

From a health perspective, is chocolate good? Although flavanoids in chocolate, specifically flavanol, may be responsible for healthful benefits, researchers doubt one could eat enough to improve health without creating weight problems. The downside of this decadent treat is the high calorie, fat, and sugar content. Dark chocolate has more cocoa (60%) and less sugar than milk chocolate.

We don’t need an excuse or reason to eat chocolate, but we must be wary of too much of a good thing. A feasting frenzy isn’t a good idea. Although small amounts may help, too much may result in excessive weight gain, a known contributor to several health problems. Like most foods, moderation is key. Indulge your sweet tooth with a bit of dark chocolate now and then. Just settle for a small piece, not an entire box.

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