Stay Healthy, Eat Chocolates!

When we think chocolate, we think of mindless indulgence and guilty pleasures, not health benefits. Indeed, it is more like the antithesis of health and nutrition in our minds as we have learned since we were little kids-that eating copious amounts of chocolates can have dire consequences and therefore forbidden to some extent (you can’t eat it before a meal as well as during nighttime). But thanks to new scientific findings, it turns out that chocolates have health benefits too, particularly dark chocolate.

Lowers Your Blood Pressure

According to a scientific report published in the Aug 27, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, dark chocolate (but not white or milk chocolate) helps lower blood pressure. Dr. Dirk Taubert from the University of Cologne, Germany, together with his colleagues, conducted a study among seven women and six men between the ages of 55 to 64 who were diagnosed with mild high blood pressure ranging from 84 as the lowest (diastolic blood pressure) to 153 as the highest (systolic blood pressure). Each patient was instructed to eat one 100-gram candy bar (containing 480 calories) every day for a period of two weeks. Half of them had to eat dark chocolate while the other half had to eat white chocolate. They were also instructed to avoid eating foods that had similar calories and nutrients to offset the 480 calories contained in the 100-gram candy bar. By the end of the second week, those who were given dark chocolate saw their blood pressure drop significantly- an average of 2 points for those with diastolic blood pressure, and 5 points for those with systolic blood pressure. While those who were given white chocolate did not see a drop in their blood pressure. Still, don’t make this an excuse to binge on chocolates. Moderation is still the healthiest way to go.

A Significant Source of Antioxidants

In another study published in Nature’s Aug 2003 issue, dark (but not white or milk) chocolate was found to contain potent antioxidants, which helps fight free radicals and other destructive molecules that cause various ailments from heart disease to cancer. Dr. Mauro Serafini of the National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, Italy, together with his team, conducted a study on seven women and five men, aged 25 to 35, who were all in perfect health. Each were instructed to eat 100 grams of dark chocolate for a day, 100 grams of dark chocolate together with a glass of milk on another day, and 200 grams of milk chocolate on yet another day. After an hour of eating the chocolate, it was found that dark chocolate, when eaten alone, increased the total antioxidants in the blood, particularly the levels of epicatechin which is a healthy compound found in cocoa. Milk chocolate was found to have the lowest level of epicatechin. Milk was found to interfere with the absorption of antioxidants and therefore when eating dark chocolates, better to enjoy it as is, which is the best way anyhow.

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About The Author, Chris Alleny
Chris loves to write about all kinds of food particularly chocolates. Find out more about Dark Chocolates by visiting