It’s usually during the month of October that our chocolate cravings are in full swing. After all, Halloween is just around the corner, and practically everywhere we go we are reminded to stock up on Halloween candy for all the trick-or-treaters. Now while eating an entire bag of Halloween isn’t something we’d recommend, you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating a few pieces of chocolate – especially after a new study revealed that chocolate benefits heart health.
We Heart Chocolate!
The University of Aberdeen in Scotland analyzed date from more than 21,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC-Norfolk study), which gathered data on exercise and eating habits along with general lifestyle variables. Over the course of twelve years, more than 3,000 participants out of the total 21,000 experienced a stroke or cardiovascular disease. Interestingly enough, those who ate anywhere between 16 and 100 grams of chocolate a day actually reduced their risk of experiencing a stroke by 23 percent and were 14 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Eating this amount of chocolate also lowered participants’ body mass index, systolic blood pressure, diabetes risk and inflammatory proteins. Another surprising benefit: those who ate the most chocolate were also more likely to exercise.
If this doesn’t convince you, these researchers analyzed data from previous studies to analyze data from more than 150,000 participants, and these same results were even more evident.
We’re certainly not complaining about this study’s results – after all, chocolate has to be one of the tastier medications you can take to boost your heart health, but why chocolate? Chocolate contains antioxidants, calcium and flavonols, which is why researchers believe chocolate benefits heart health.
Healthy Chocolate Recipes
This is far from the first study to explore the health benefits of chocolate, and other studies have shown that chocolate benefits heart health and brain health. Drinking hot chocolate has been known to boost memory and critical thinking skills in older adults, which can help lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
But how do you know what is too much chocolate? Since it can be easy to get carried away when eating chocolate (which negates the positive benefits of eating chocolate), study author Phyo Myint recommends consuming about 16 grams of chocolate a day.
If you’re looking for some new ways to eat chocolate after reading this study’s results, check out some deliciously indulgent healthy chocolate recipes:
- Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites: This might be the easiest recipe on this list, but you just can’t beat this classic combo! Simply dip sliced banana pieces in semisweet chocolate, wait for the chocolate to set and you’re ready to enjoy.
- Mini Chocolate Cream Pies: Worried about eating too much chocolate? These mini chocolate cream pies are the perfect serving size and deliciously simple to make!
- Creamy Chocolate Pudding: Made with low-fat dairy ingredients, this bone-boosting recipe is perfect for a big event or gathering – just add chocolate shavings for the finishing touch.
- Chocolate Brownie Bites: At only 111 calories per serving, these chocolate brownie bites may just become your new go-to dessert.
So go ahead – indulge and go coo-coo for these cocoa recipes!