Health Benefits of Chocolate
You’ve likely heard that eating chocolate is good for you. And now, a new study recently published in the medical journal Heart may prove it – it has found that eating chocolate may help prevent atrial fibrillation, which is a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat.
But before you run out and buy a boat load of chocolate there are a few details to consider.
After analysing long-term data of the diets of people in Denmark, the researchers concluded that adults who ate chocolate 1 to 3 times a month were 10 to 20% less likely to have atrial fibrillation than those who ate chocolate once a month or less. The greatest reduction in atrial fibrillation came with consuming just 2 to 6 ounces of chocolate per week. Therefore, just a moderate intake of chocolate may be most beneficial.
The health benefits of chocolate also depends on the type of chocolate consumed.
Chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids. These help the body repair damage cells. The highest amounts of flavonoids are found in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Whereas milk chocolate and white chocolate contain very few flavonoids, and therefore offer very few health benefits.
It is also important to remember that chocolate contains a fair amount of sugar and fat. There are many other sources of flavonoids that don’t contain added sugars and fats. These include fruits such as citrus fruits, apples, berries and grapes, nuts, onions and green tea. These foods also provide other important nutrients that chocolate does not provide.
If you choose to include a moderate amount of chocolate as part of your healthy eating plan, use these tips to enjoy the health benefits of chocolate:
Choose plain dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids is best). If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, slowly increase the cocoa solids content and your tastebuds will adjust.
Keep the portions small!