The public perception of chocolate has traditionally been that it leads to weight gain or even obesity, and that it's very unhealthy for the body, but with the help of research, scientists are now proving that this view of the delicious treat is not entirely accurate. In fact, chocolate is now being praised for its high level of antioxidants, and scientific evidence points up the fact that chocolate containing low sugar content and high cocoa content can actually be very healthy for consumers. Here are some of the benefits currently attributed to chocolate with high cocoa content.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition declares that regular consumption of high cocoa chocolate can reduce the level of harmful cholesterol in the body. During research for this study, it was determined that chocolate bars containing high levels of cocoa flavonols and plant sterols can significantly reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and support cardiovascular health, when coupled with a low-fat diet.
Reduction of memory decline
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that by drinking at least two cups of hot chocolate per day, brain health was enhanced in older people, and memory loss was slowed down. This is attributable to the fact that hot chocolate improves blood circulation in the brain, and staves off the negative effects of insufficient blood flow to critical areas of the brain. Research conducted on a cocoa extract called lovado showed that it reduces damage to nerve pathways in Alzheimer's patients, which means it has great potential for slowing the advance of the disease.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Findings published in The BMJ revealed that regular consumption of chocolate could reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 33%. This evidence, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in France, found that chocolate consumption had a direct relationship with reduced risk of cardio metabolic disorder.
Lowers the risk of stroke
In a study conducted among nearly 50,000 participants, Canadian scientists discovered that those who regularly ate chocolate were 22% less likely to have a stroke than those who ate no chocolate at all. Among those individuals who did consume chocolate but still suffered a stroke, they were 46% less likely to die as a result of the stroke, compared to those stroke victims who did not eat chocolate.
Another study published in the Heart Journal set about tracking the long-term effects of certain diet factors among members of a study group of 25,000 men and women. The results of the study concluded that those individuals who ate at least 100 g of chocolate every day had a significantly lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
All this research showing the potential health benefits of chocolate with high cocoa content should at the very least, indicate that the bad reputation chocolate has had, needs to be reconsidered. While it may be true that inexpensive chocolate with high sugar content should be consumed sparingly, there are also some surprisingly good health benefits to be gained from regular consumption of fine, high-quality chocolate.