It’s that time of year again when you eat tonnes of chocolate. Stop feeling guilty! There are numerous great health benefits associated with this delicious treat.

The earliest use of chocolate dates back to the Olmec civilisation in Mesoamerican and is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. Throughout the years, it has been on the receiving end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, often associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. So, what positive effects does eating chocolate have on your health?

The recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has stimulated research on its positive effects on ageing, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation and atherosclerosis. Indeed, it may lower cholesterol, prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Consuming chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one third!

Stick to healthy chocolate with at least 70% cocoa

Limit yourself to 7 ounces a week.

 

Cholesterol levels

Dark chocolate consumption may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Authors of a study determining whether chocolate bars contain plant sterols and cocoa flavanols have any effect on cholesterol levels wrote that the consumption of those chocolate bars as part of a low-fat diet may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.

Memory decline

Scientists and researchers claim that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy! It also prevents memory decline in older people thanks to chocolate preserving blood flow in working areas of the brain.

Heart disease risk

A report presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris suggested that consuming chocolate could help lower the risk of developing heart disease by one third, with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.

Finally, a study carried out by Canadian scientists involving 44,489 people proved that people eating chocolate on a regular basis were 22% less likely to suffer a stroke than those who didn’t.

Recent developments on the benefits of chocolate suggest that chocolate could prevent obesity and diabetes thanks to a certain antioxidant in cocoa.

Remember to eat in moderation!

Chocolate, especially milk and white, has a high calorie count, containing a large amount of sugar. Stick to healthy chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and limit yourself to 7 ounces or about 4 dark chocolate bars a week.