In The News: Eat Chocolate for a Healthy Heart

| 9/14/2011 12:11:32 PM

J.PattonTo all of my chocolate-loving readers, I have great news. Researchers have discovered yet another reason for you to indulge in your favorite food completely guilt-free.

A study performed at the University of Cambridge in England found that chocolate can help improve heart and vascular health. The team of researchers concluded that the cocoa in chocolate contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which could reduce heart disease risk by one-third and lower the instances of sudden death resulting from a heart attack or stroke.

How much your heart benefits from the sweet depends on how much of it you eat. The study found that the more chocolate you devour, the greater your risk of cardio-metabolic disorders is reduced. Participants who consumed the most chocolate had a 37 percent lower risk of having cardiovascular problems compared with those who ate the least amount of chocolate. Those who munched the most also had a 29 percent lower incidence of stroke.

New research suggests that you can have your chocolate and eat it, too.
Photo by carando/Courtesy

This isn’t the first time chocolate has been applauded for its health benefits. The candy has long been suspected to protect the body from heart disease. Believe it or not, chocolate is actually made from plants, so it provides many of the same perks as dark vegetables. Chocolate contains flavonoids, which promote health in the same way antioxidants do. Flavonoids also help lower blood pressure and keep hormones balanced.

The taste of chocolate can also help contribute to better health. It stimulates endorphin production, which naturally makes us feel good. Also, because it contains serotonin, chocolate acts as an antidepressant, lifting our spirits and helping ward off depression. Lastly, the caffeine in chocolate can act as a pick-me-up when you’re lacking energy to give you that boost your body is craving.