Most of us are accustomed to the notion that we shouldn’t be overdoing it on chocolate – and even here at Coeur de Xocolat, we wouldn’t exactly depart from that widespread belief. Even when it comes to some of the very best things in life, after all, it is sensible to have limits.
However, if you feel guilty every time your cravings lead you to reach for that bar of chocolate you had been trying not to touch in the back of the cupboard, we might have a few good reasons for you to not feel quite so bad about yourself.
Yes, that’s right; we’re delving into just five of the observed health benefits of chocolate that you may not have known about… until now.
It could play a role in reducing ‘bad cholesterol’
A Journal of Nutrition study in 2008 found that the consumption of chocolate could help lower the body’s levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – or as it’s better known in many circles, “bad cholesterol”.
It might help decrease the risk of heart disease
Perhaps even more surprising than the above findings for some observers, research published in The BMJ has indicated that eating chocolate could help drive down the likelihood of someone developing heart disease by about a third.
Dark chocolate could contribute to lowering blood pressure
Dark chocolate has long had something of a reputation as the “healthy chocolate” (although of course, it is important not to take this expression too literally, given that it is, after all, still chocolate).
Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that, as found by research published in Nutrition Reviews in 2015, the flavonoids in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium (a single layer of cells lining the blood vessels) to produce nitric oxide (NO).
A function of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax. When this occurs, the resistance of blood flow can be lowered, thereby reducing blood pressure.
Dark chocolate could be good for protecting your skin against the sun
Now, we definitely aren’t suggesting that you should replace the sunscreen you pack for your summer holidays with dark chocolate, but this is still an insightful finding.
To be more specific, it has been suggested that the natural compound known as flavanols – and that is present in dark chocolate – may protect against sun damage, while also increasing skin density and hydration, and improving blood flow to the skin.
There could even be advantages for foetal growth and development
Expectant mothers are advised to avoid overindulging in chocolate due to its fat, sugar, and caffeine content.
However, it was intriguing that at the 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, a study was presented that indicated the consumption of 30g (about one ounce) of chocolate every day during pregnancy might be beneficial for foetal growth and development.
There you have it – just in case any of you reading this doubted our commitment here at Coeur de Xocolat to the most useful chocolate education!
Naturally, the above information is meant as a bit of fun rather than as health or nutritional advice, and we would remind you that health claims are precisely that – claims. So, you shouldn’t base the entirety of your diet philosophy on what we have written here. As always, a healthy and balanced diet will be crucial if you are to achieve your goals, and chocolate can still play a part in that.
Don’t forget that if you are interested in any of our other renowned services in relation to chocolate education, workshops, consultancy, and more, you are very much welcome to reach out to us to find out more.
We really are believers in embracing so many of the wonders of chocolate, and we would be delighted to help you appreciate those wonders even more deeply for yourself!