Heart-Healthy Chocolate Bar:
What's the deal?

Written by
Published in March 2006

What's in Chocolate?

Research conducted at the University of Scranton has demonstrated that the quality and quantity of antioxidants in chocolate are relativly high when compared to other high-antioxidant foods. Cocoa powder ranks the highest of the chocolate products, followed by dark chocolate and milk chocolate. According to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, dark chocolate contains about 8 times the polyphenol antioxidants found in strawberries.

Benefits of Chocolate?

In our previous chocolate benefits article published in December 2005, we reported the results of a small Italian chocolate study. This study found that dark chocolate may lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. In addition, levels of LDL cholesterol in these individuals dropped by 10%. Since the publishing of our article, another review study conducted by the Harvard University released their findings in the Nutrition and Metabolism Journal on January 3, 2006.

This Harvard study reviewed 136 scientific articles published between 1996 and 2005 on chocolate and its ingredients. Their analysis found that eating 50 g of dark chocolate per day may reduce the risk of heart disease by 10.5 percent. In addition, eating dark chocolate may lower the risk of dying from heart disease by 19 percent.

Eat more chocolate? The simple answer is No. All the research conducted so far investigated the benefits of dark chocolate or cocoa powder - not the regular chocolate goodies such as milk chocolate, white chocolate or Dutch chocolate. Moderation is always the key. In spite of high calories and fat from most chocolate bars, having a decadent piece of chocolate once in a while is not going to harm your health either. If you have a choice, choose dark chocolate for its higher flavonoid content!

2 servings of CocoaVia a day? The simple answer is again No. It is nice to know that it contains at least 100 mg of flavanols in a serving. Therefore, CocoaVia may be a better alternative to other regular chocolate bars. However, if you are not used to eating chocolate every day, it makes no sense to start doing so now. As pointed out by the author of the Harvard study, all chocolate research conducted so far were only of short term nature. No one really knows if the effects can be extended if we eat chocolate every day for a long period of time.

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