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Study Reveals: People Who Eat Dark Chocolate Daily Have Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke

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Study Reveals: People Who Eat Dark Chocolate Daily Have Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke

One thing is certain – not too many of us would turn down a cupcake or candy bar if someone offered it to us. However, the research continues to pour in about how detrimental added sugar is for our mental and physical health. In fact, studies have shown that eating too much processed sugar can raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you aren’t overweight. So, given this information, you might wonder why we advocate eating chocolate every day for your health. Doctors and scientists globally have suggested that people cut their sugar intake enormously, which would mean most chocolate would be out of the question.

So, we will go ahead and get to the good stuff – how can you eat chocolate every single day and still maintain your health? Well, it turns out that chocolate contains far more health benefits than most people realize, so next time you get a craving for something sweet, you won’t have to feel guilty for reaching for that chocolate bar!

These Things Happen To Your Body When You Eat 100g Of Chocolate Per Day

Even though eating added sugars have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health ailments, eating up to 100 g of chocolate every day can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to research published online in the journal Heart.

Also, the researchers in the study found that cutting out chocolate would not lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They based their findings on results recorded from observing nearly 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which reviews how diet affects the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England. The study gathered data about food frequency and lifestyle choices in order to obtain results. The researchers also reviewed the available international published evidence on the association between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, which included the EPIC study participants of almost 158,000 people.

The researchers tracked the study participants for almost 12 years, during which time 14 percent experienced either a fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke. 20 percent of participants didn’t eat chocolate, while the others consumed an average of 7g daily, with some eating up to 100 g daily.

They found something very interesting: eating higher amounts of chocolate was associated with younger age, lower weight (BMI), lower waist: hip ratio, lower systolic blood pressure, lower inflammatory proteins, and a decreased occurrence of diabetes, along with a fairly regular fitness routine. All of these pieces of data confirm a health cardiovascular profile.

Also, the people in the study who consumed more chocolate had higher energy levels, in many cases much higher than those who consumed caffeine and energy drinks in order to get through the day. 

What’s more, the researchers found that the people who consumed higher amounts of chocolate had an 11 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25 percent lower risk of associated death. Also, the chocolate lovers had a 9 percent lower risk of hospital admission or death related to coronary heart disease.

In the study, 16,000 people had their inflammatory protein levels measured, and the participants who ate the most chocolate had an 18 percent lower risk than those who ate the least. Not to mention, people who ate the most chocolate also had a 23 percent lower risk of having a stroke.

Out of the nine studies in the systematic review, five of them found a dramatic reduction in the risks of both coronary heart disease and stroke when at least 100g of chocolate was consumed. Furthermore, eating this amount of chocolate was linked to a 25 percent lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and even a 45 percent lower risk of death.

Even though the results from these studies seem very promising, the researchers still say that we can’t draw absolute conclusions from the at this time, as the food frequency questionnaires have a certain amount of recall bias and possible inaccuracies associated with how much food was eaten.

Related article: 6 Reasons To Eat Chocolate Every Day

Even so, the researchers say that “cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.” The researchers even say that milk chocolate, while less healthy than dark chocolate, might have some health benefits as well.

“This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association,” the researchers explain. “There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.”

Additional benefits of eating dark chocolate every day:

1. Enhances brainpower

According to a study by the U.K’s Northumbria University, subjects that ate chocolate and then waited 90 minutes tested for enhanced mathematical and cognitive aptitude. Experts believe this is due to the antioxidant flavanol, something that’s been shown to expand blood vessels and increase blood flow to the brain.

2. Helps digestion and gut health

Subjects that were tested for high levels of stress hormones were put on a dark chocolate regimen for an indefinite amount of time. However, after just two weeks, samples taken from the patients showed a marked decrease in hormonal levels in the gut related to stress. Particularly, metabolic bacteria in the gut became more active and produced additional healthy bacteria that were then made available to the body. Scientists believe that flavanol and other healthy polyphenols contributed to this noteworthy discovery, which showed chocolate’s positive gut health benefits.

3. Improves skin health

In one study, women who drank a high-flavanol cocoa drink every day for three months showed a marked increase in blood flow to the epidermis. The results: skin density increased by 16 percent, thickness by 11 percent, moisture by 13 percent, and dryness was reduced by 42 percent! The potent antioxidant and flavanol properties of chocolate are thought to be the primary reasons why skin rejuvenates at such a fast rate.

4. Reduces bad cholesterol

People that eat around 3 ounces of dark or high-flavanol chocolate everyday have a more normalized ratio of “good” (HDL) to “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Admittedly, scientists aren’t quite certain why this is, but it is believed that flavonoids play a particularly important role.

In a supplementary study, scientists discovered that dark chocolate helps elderly people with enhanced cognitive function and increased feelings of serenity. As a conclusion, scientists believe that chocolate’s positive effects on cholesterol levels, thinking capacity and feelings of serenity may be a promising solution, both short- and long-term in care of the elderly.

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