Preventive Health

Vitamin Chocolate? Why Chocolate Is Good For You

September 2, 2011

I’m Kim.
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In recent years, you might have heard rumors about chocolate being good for your health. And you promptly dismissed said rumors as being way too good to be true. But this week a study was published that is seriously validating the idea of chocolate as health food.

According to the folks at the British Medical Journal, chocolate is good for your heart. Really good, that is. Like, reduce-your-heart-disease-risk-by-37%-kind-of-good.

The meta-analysis published this week analyzed 53 studies on chocolate and cardiometabolic disease (meaning: heart disease and stroke, plus diabetes and metabolic syndrome). This was quickly trimmed down to seven studies, as the lower-quality or non-relevant research was weeded out.

But in those seven studies, the researchers found  that “high chocolate consumption” was associated with about a third decrease in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders—37% in the case of any cardiovascular disease and 29% in the case of stroke prevention.

Now, just a little sidebar: the “high chocolate consumption” they’re referring to is up to two pieces per week. Although they don’t specify how large those pieces were. So take that with a grain of salt.

But here’s some good news for milk chocolate lovers: this time, the studies did not differentiate between dark and milk chocolate, just chocolate consumption in general. In the past, dark chocolate has always received the press; this time, not so much.

So what makes chocolate so beneficial? The researchers speculate that the high content of polyphenols in cocoa is at the root of it all. Previous studies have shown other health-boosting effects of chocolate: it appears to lower blood pressure, cut inflammation, reduce cholesterol, and inhibit clotting. All effects that will improve a person’s cardiovascular health.

Now if this news isn’t Wicked Healthy, I don’t know what is.

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