Chocolate lovers may argue that the yummy cocoa substance is good for the soul, but it turns out that may be good for the body too. Science has indicated through past studies that chocolate can help decrease the likelihood of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, help with stress, and controls blood sugar. However, there may be other benefits to chocolate as well.
Past research reveals that cocoa just may have helped the Mayans with diarrhea. In fact, within the last ten years, there has been a number of studies that have shown there seems to be chemicals within chocolate that can further help block the runs, for those who are suffering through stomach upset. And, the benefits of chocolate do not end there …
Dr. Owais Khawaja, St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio notes that chocolate also has a positive effect when it comes to inflammation, and is also considered an antioxidant. Additional benefits to chocolate include decreasing the risk of dementia and cancer.
Still, before everyone starts stocking up on chocolate bars, chocolate chips, and chocolate-covered almonds; there could be a bit of a catch when it comes to this substance’s power as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. That is, CNN reports these benefits come from a type of nutrient that is found within a certain plant of cocoa beans, known as flavonoids; which is found more in dark chocolate than milk chocolate.
It’s also important to note, that while a chocolate bar may contain 70% cocoa, and thought of as dark chocolate, it can have differing levels of flavonoid depending on how the chocolate was processed. It seems that a chemical step referred to as dutching, can affect its flavonoid content, as this step removes all traces of the nutrient.
Khawaja also brings up the milk and sugar added to chocolate. She states that commercially manufactured chocolate is not considered ‘pure chocolate’; and that the milk and sugar within chocolate may not be so good for individuals.
At the end of the day, more research is needed when it comes to the effects of consuming chocolate. Khawaja adds, there is simply not enough data to prove that chocolate is in fact good for you, and just how much one should consume. Khawaja recommends to continue consuming chocolate, just not to go overboard. She also suggests that dark chocolate may be a better option.