There have been countless claims made about the health benefits of chocolate. Here is what the science says.
A new Swedish study found that participants who ate the most chocolate were 17 per cent less likely to have a stroke than those who ate none. Researchers suggested that this health benefit may be due to chocolate's high level of flavonoids, metabolites that are associated with good cardiovascular health.
A recent analysis of 20 studies found that chocolate can help lower blood pressure, due to the chemicals found in chocolate relaxing blood vessels.
Despite the fact that chocolate is often celebrated as a mood-enhancer, researchers found that people who ate at least one bar a week were more likely to be depressed than those who didn't. Is chocolate a possible cause of depression, or do the findings reflect 'self-treatment' by the study participants? More research needs to be done! marie claire shines a light on depression
While a 2011 review showed that the "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 per cent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 per cent reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels" of consumption, the British Heart Foundation warns against eating *too* much chocolate.
Not all scientists are willing to champion the health benefits of chocolate. A few cautious types claim that while chocolate has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, there is no concrete evidence explaining the link.
A study of 1000 people found that regular chocolate eaters were more likely to have a lower BMI than those who didn't, possibly due to the presence of chemicals in chocolate that assist with weight loss. Read Libby Babet's health and fitness blog
In 2007 some lucky volunteers had their heart rates measured as they chocolate melted in their mouthes, and again as they locked lips. The melting chocolate gave the participants the biggest buzz.
The positive effect chocolate has on serotonin levels in the brain may help the plight of people suffering chronic fatigue syndrome.
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