Can chocolate lower your risk of this common condition?
Has the pandemic got you buying – and henceforth eating – more chocolate than usual? According to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, that may not entirely a bad thing, at least for your heart health.
“In this study, it found that eating chocolate once a week could help keep the heart’s blood vessels healthy, lowering your risk of coronary artery disease,” explains April Jensen, nurse practitioner at Aurora Health Center in Menominee, MI. “Let’s break it down a bit.”
While chocolate is full of unhealthy sugar and fats, it also contains some heart-healthy nutrients:
- Stearic acid
All of these things may help reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots and increase good cholesterol. In other words, it can be good for your heart.
Jensen says there are a few things to consider when contemplating these new findings.
“As with all things, be sure to keep moderation in mind,” says Jensen. “While the study does not indicate how much chocolate may be good for you, it’s safe to assume you should exercise caution when it comes to quantities. Eating a lot of chocolate adds extra calories, fat and sugar to your diet, which can result in obesity, diabetes and other chronic conditions.”
Assuming you do not have allergies or conditions where eating chocolate could be harmful, and that you live a relatively healthy lifestyle, try opting for chocolate of the dark variety, since you have to eat a large quantity of milk chocolate to get the benefits of one bar of dark chocolate.
“A general rule of thumb is: The higher percentage of cocoa, the better,” Jensen says.
Any time you’re considering major changes to your diet, be sure to contact your doctor to make sure it is right for you.
You shouldn’t let COVID-19 keep you from seeking the health care you need, especially in an emergency. Read how Advocate Aurora Health is taking additional steps to keep you safe with its Safe Care Promise.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.