Dark Chocolate: Good for Romance and Your Heart
My earliest memory of chocolate is of my granny sneaking it to me. She loves chocolate more than anyone else. The best part of going to the store with my granny was walking out with a Hersey bar.
Chocolate is a seductive ingredient, appealing to everyone, especially in the romantic moment. Chocolate makes you feel loved. It is generally observed that novels equate chocolate with romance. It also has health benefits.
One of your favorite and most decadent snacks has been strongly associated with a reduced risk of stroke. You are right, it is dark chocolate. Eating and sharing moderate amounts of chocolate just might be the most pleasant way to protect yourself and your loved ones from having a stroke.
A recent research study from the UK and the Netherlands titled the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer, the EPIC- Norfolk analysis, examined 20,951 men and women. Careful analysis of a food diary distributed to men and women who participated in the study determined that those who reported the highest levels of consistent chocolate consumption experienced lower rates of stroke, while enrolled participants who reported no chocolate consumption or very low chocolate consumption had the highest rates of stroke throughout an almost 20 year follow up period.
So why is dark chocolate so healthy? Dark chocolate contains flavanoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant, that come from extracts of the cocoa bean. Choosing chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa gives you more of these antioxidants. Some studies indicate that small portions can maintain the health of blood vessels.
How Much Dark Chocolate Should I Eat, to Live Longer?
Suggestions for a concrete number of grams or ounces are hard to come by. A 2010 German study of nearly 20,000 people, followed over a period of eight years, did conclude that those who ate an average of 6 grams (0.2 oz) of chocolate per day had a 39% lower risk of heart attack or stroke. That’s a very small amount of chocolate, perhaps only half a single square of a typical 100g dark chocolate bar. Interestingly, this study included dark, and milk, chocolate.
Despite the beneficial effect of different sources of chocolate in their study, the Cambridge researchers warn against consuming too much of this energy-dense food. Even if it’s “healthy” chocolate, if you eat more calories than your body can burn off, you will gain weight. Obesity puts you at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all of which can shorten your life.