A group of researchers at Cambridge University have reported a long known curiosity of people who eat chocolate more than others in comparison tend to have lower risks of getting diseases. According to five out of the seven different studies under the same report that monitored a little over 100,000 individuals in countries such as the United States, Japan and Germany for nearly a decade, the risk of cardiovascular disease lowered by 37%.
Although dark chocolate was focused on, it was not the only type of chocolate that was studied as well. Other forms of chocolate consumed in moderation such as chocolate milk, chocolate drinks, chocolate biscuits, chocolate snacks and desserts that contained chocolate were also found to have the same effects.
It can also decrease blood pressure but on the other hand eating too much chocolate can actually lead to obesity and from there, health problems such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
Which brings in the question, “why” chocolate in moderate amounts seem to be beneficial for the human body?
We don’t know. Yet.
There’s only speculation such as the one put forth by Doctor Oscar Franco from Cambridge University’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit and the individual who presented the findings at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Paris.
“Foods are very complex structures where many substances interact to have a beneficial effect..it could simply be that chocolate could be contributing to better quality of life, and that could be one of the mechanisms, but that’s just speculation.”
Evidence regarding this speculation pointed to the pituitary gland’s and hypothalamus’ release of endorphins (basically the neurotransmitters that make you happy, relaxed or “extremely happy” during times of certain human to human intercourse) when chocolate was being consumed.
Others speculated that due to the large amount of antioxidants (polyphenols) present in chocolate, arteries can be kept clean which lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses.
As for how much chocolate, Dr. Franco recommended that two pieces of chocolate daily would be sufficient enough for health purposes. Other studies in the past that found chocolate had positive effects have recommended as much as a small bar (around 50 grams of chocolate).
The studies pointed to dark chocolate particularly as the most healthiest of the three types of chocolate present: dark, white and milk due to the lighter presence of sugar and fat.
As for the Cambridge University group’s research, it was implied that there will be more ongoing analysis and research to confirm if chocolate itself or the components inside it is such a positive “shield” for the human body.
(Cover Photo: DarkChocolateHealthBenefits)