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The Health Benefits Of Chocolate

chocolate treats in a box

Dear A Moment of Science,

Is chocolate good for you? I ask because I'm a bit of a chocoholic, and I'd feel better about my habit if there was actually some health benefit involved. Signed: Craving Chocs.

Chocolate A Day

In a one study, a few dozen lucky subjects were randomly assigned to eat fifty grams of chocolate a day for fifteen days. That's about the size of an average Hershey bar. Some ate regular dark chocolate, others ate dark chocolate that had been overheated, or bloomed. And yet another group ate white chocolate.

Meanwhile, the researchers recorded the subjects' blood pressure, forearm skin blood flow, lipid profiles, and blood glucose levels.

Cholesterol And Chocolate

And they found that those who ate either type of dark chocolate had lower blood glucose and lower levels of LDL, or bad, cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol. So, in other words, eating dark chocolate may lower the risk for heart disease.

That may be due to dark chocolate's rich cache of flavanols compounds that scientists believe help tame inflammation and improve blood vessel health.

But, dark chocolate is still chocolate, meaning that the kind you buy in the store is also full of sugar and calories and fat and other things that aren't so good for you.

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