Reasons To Not Give Up Chocolate This Lent
I’m always looking for a reason to scoff chocolate. Normally my reasoning is, it’s there. Which is good enough for me, but not for the friend who’s suddenly missing a candy bar. Luckily, there are actually lots of health benefits to eating dark chocolate and because there’s no better reason to become a scientist than proving chocolate is good for you, there are many studies to back up these claims.
The latest research to catch my eye has come from the Netherlands by Esser et al (2013), showing that eating dark chocolate can improve the health of your heart. They gave 44 overweight men 70g of dark chocolate every day for two weeks. By the end of the fortnight the participants were found to have increased flexibility in their arteries, which helps improve blood flow and prevent a build up of plaque (atherosclerosis). It’s the perfect study for my dad to quote when he steals my chocolate.
It turns out that dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage (over 65%) is actually pretty nutritious, containing B-vitamins and essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium. But something that surprised me about cocoa beans is the amount of antioxidants found in them, such as resveratrol and flavonoids. One study even showed that they contain more antioxidant activity than blueberries and acai berries, which by media standards means it could be classed as a ‘super fruit’. I’m starting to rethink what counts as my 5 a day!
It’s important to remember that these sort of studies aren’t about your standard candy bar, you can’t eat a pound of Hershey’s or Cadbury every day and expect positive results! Those type of chocolate bars tend to have a low cocoa percentage as well as high amounts of sugar and fat, which would cancel out any possible health benefit hiding in your candy. But I think eating a small amount of good quality dark chocolate every day is definitely something you can rationalize, especially when it tastes so delicious. So now I’ve found another reason for you to justify a subscription to Cococlectic, go for it!