Did you know that chocolate was once called the food of the gods? This treat is so delicious that almost no one on the planet can resist it. If you’re health-conscious though, you’re probably trying to limit the amount of chocolate you eat because of its high sugar content. But researchers say that consuming dark chocolate in moderation could actually help to improve your health.
In this article you’ll discover the science-backed studies that explain why you can still enjoy your favorite chocolate without feeling guilty.
Some of you might be thinking that maybe this article is another corporate-sponsored content intended to mislead people; that’s not the case. Because of the argument surrounding this topic, we diligently searched for high-quality studies. Here are the top four proven health benefits of eating dark chocolate:
Improves Heart Health
Chocolate can benefit your heart in many ways. One study published by the American Heart Journal (1) says that eating about 90 to 180 grams of chocolate per week can significantly reduce the possibility of a heart failure event by up to 18%.
Additional research from the BMJ Journal (2) shows that the compounds present in chocolate could help people avoid atrial fibrillation (a-fib). This is a medical disorder that causes an abnormal heartbeat.
The researchers of this study discovered that the participants who ate 2 – 6 servings of chocolate weekly had a 20% less risk of having a-fib than people who only consumed it once per month.
The study goes on to explain that cocoa is an antioxidant agent and the magnesium it contains can help to boost the flow of blood. They also pointed out that this treat has anti-inflammation properties while aiding the functioning of the platelet formation-factors, which helps to keep the heartbeat rate balanced.
Reduces Blood Pressure
One study conducted a meta-analysis of over 40 different clinical trials and found that people with hypertension who eat chocolate daily reduced their systolic blood pressure by at least 4 mmHg. This result is good news, especially because drugs only help to lower systolic blood pressure by about 9 mmHg (3).
The researchers suggest that the flavanols present in chocolate might be responsible for the expansion of the blood vessels which promotes blood flow; thereby helping to reduce blood pressure.
Lowers Your Risk of Diabetes
In 2018, a paper published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition interviewed over 150,000 people (4). The findings showed that even after adjusting for sugar, those who ate at least 70 grams of chocolate per week had a 10% reduction in their risk of type-2 diabetes.
Chocolate can also act as prebiotic (5); meaning that it helps to promote the growth of beneficial gut microbial. Strong evidence (6) says that the presence of good bacteria in your gut is very important. For example, these microorganisms produce compounds that help to boost insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in the body.
Enhances Brain Performance
One study published by the Journal Appetite says that adults who eat chocolate no less than once per week scored higher on cognitive tests than those who barely eat any (7).
Evidence shows that methylxanthines which are a group of compounds present in chocolate including caffeine can help to boost concentration and improve mood (8). This goes to show that eating good food that makes you feel better can also improve the performance of your brain.