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Is Chocolate Really Good For You?

Chocolate Bar

Have you over indulged in chocolate recently? If so perhaps you have justified it in part with the knowledge that eating chocolate is as good for your heart as jogging as recent research reported…But is that true and is that the whole story?

The study was actually very small and it was carried out on mice. What they found was that when the mice were given epicatechin (a phytochemical found in dark chocolate) they performed better in endurance tests due to changes in their muscle performance – similar to what would be seen following regular exercise.

This study is not the only one to highlight chocolate eating or health; there have been results showing a reduction in cardiovascular disease, reduction in stroke and even lower blood pressure.

The reality is though that chocolate even good quality dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) is high in calories and it is very difficult to specify consumption levels for health. So people could eat too much, put on weight and put themselves at the risk of the very diseases that the consumption was trying to avoid!

Cocoa beans contain flavonoids and it is these that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids the higher the flavonoid content. Around 3-4 pieces or 25g a day is about right as a balance of a treat and getting the health benefits.