Thinking of buying your Valentine some chocolate? Well now you can do it with confidence.
Chocolate is not only irresistibly delicious, it can be a part of a good-for-your-heart diet. The secret is Cacao. This bean-like seed is packed with flavonoids — natural compounds that help plants fight diseases as they’re growing.
While you rarely need an excuse to eat chocolate, we’ll give you five reasons it is a heart-healthy food.
1. It can help lower your risk of heart disease.
You may think chocolate is bad for your heart, but it’s just the opposite. It’s GOOD for your heart health. In one systematic analysis, researchers analyzed 16 studies examining the relationship between chocolate and heart health. They found that, compared to those who ate the least chocolate, those who ate the most cut their risk of coronary heart disease by almost HALF! They also reduced the risk of stroke by 30 percent, reduced the risk of heart attack by almost a quarter, and reduced the risk of heart failure by almost 20 percent.1
2. It can help lower your risk of diabetes.
In another systematic analysis of seven population studies with over 114,000, researchers found that eating chocolate not only reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke, but eating the sweet stuff was also associated with over 30 percent less risk of diabetes, based on one study.2
3. It can help improve brain function.
In one study, Italian researchers randomly assigned almost 100 older adults with healthy cognitive function to three groups. Each group drank a daily cup of cocoa that contained either high, medium, or low amounts of flavanols. After eight weeks, the groups consuming medium and high amounts of cocoa flavanols scored significantly higher on cognitive tests that measure executive functions than those consuming low amounts. That’s science speak for more focus, faster decision-making and sharper memory.3
4. It can lower blood pressure.
Germany researchers followed almost 20,000 people, age 35 to 65, for at least 10 years. They found that those who ate the most chocolate (an average of 7.5 grams a day) had lower blood pressure compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate (less than 2 grams a day).4
5. It can improve blood vessel function.
In one randomized, placebo control, single-blind study (which means the researchers know what the subjects are getting, but the subjects don’t), researchers gave 45 healthy men and women 8 ounces of cocoa without sugar, cocoa with sugar, or a placebo. The researchers found that the function of the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line arteries and veins, improved significantly in both cocoa groups compared to the placebo group. For more on how to improve endothelium health, see our blog post on sitting too much.5
No, you didn’t need another reason to enjoy a little chocolate as part of your heart-healthy diet, but isn’t it nice to have five healthy ones?
About Endurance Products Company
Endurance Products Company has been a trusted source of quality dietary supplements since 1978. Our sustained-release and extended-release tablets feature a unique vegetable wax matrix that releases nutrients in a slow, steady manner over a period of hours for optimal nutrient absorption and retention.
- Gianfredi V, Salvatori T, Nucci D, Villarini M, Moretti M. Can chocolate consumption reduce cardio-cerebrovascular risk? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2018;46:103-114. Review. PMID: 29290347.
- Buitrago-Lopez A, Sanderson J, Johnson L, et al. Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2011;343:d4488. Review. PMID: 21875885.
- Mastroiacovo D, Kwik-Uribe C, Grassi D, et al. Cocoa flavanol consumption improves cognitive function, blood pressure control, and metabolic profile in elderly subjects: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) Study: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(3):538-48. PMID: 25733639.
- Buijsse B, Weikert C, Drogan D, Bergmann M, Boeing H. Chocolate consumption in relation to blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in German adults. Eur Heart J. 2010;31(13):1616-23. PMID: 20354055.
- Faridi Z, Njike VY, Dutta S, Ali A, Katz DL. Acute dark chocolate and cocoa ingestion and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(1):58-63. PMID: 18614724.