Dark Chocolate: Way to a Healthy Heart?

A new study suggests that eating up to two chocolate bars per day may decrease the risk of heart disease. The study published in the journal, Heart, analyzed 21,000 middle-aged and older people. Results showed that those who ate 16 to 100 grams of chocolate per day had a decrease in heart disease and stroke. 

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We spoke about dark chocolate being a great snack based on a new study sponsored by Hershey Chocolate. Some of the health benefits of dark chocolate are: 

1. Rich in antioxidants

2. Cocoa flavanols have been linked to heart health

3. Can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow in the body

4. Helps control blood sugar and protect against type 2diabetes

5. Boosts alertness and cognitive performance

6. Improves mood

7. Reduces stress

8. Boosts immune system

9. Reduces risk of premature aging

10. Rich in vitamins and minerals

Dark chocolate has been proven to be full of antioxidants which is great for our health, but eating that much chocolate may not be good. Researchers studied the food habits of participants over the course of 12 years. They found that those who ate a higher amount of chocolate weighed less and regularly exercised. Can we truly attribute this to eating dark chocolate? More studies are needed, but it's an interesting step forward. They also looked at lower waist-to-hip ratios and blood pressure levels as related to a lower heart disease risk. 

This may lead to a lower risk of heart disease but they did note that some factors weren't account for. This is just an observational study and more research is needed. The amount of chocolate consumed in the study is a lot. For comparison, a typical Hershey chocolate bar is 43 grams, meaning one would need to eat two to gain these so-called "benefits." That's quite unrealistic and may not be healthy to maintain weight.