Is Chocolate Really Good for You? Research Points to Yes!


Chocolate SmileyWhen some of us initially heard the news that chocolate is good for you, we took the revelation with a large grain of salt. Surely, our Inner Cynics thought, something we’ve grown up thinking was equivalent to “sin” couldn’t really be healthy.

Calling chocolate a health food might be a stretch, but according to the latest University of California/Berkeley Wellness Letter, several recent large-scale research reviews appear to support the idea that chocolate is good for your heart.


In one review, researchers analyzed data from seven studies of more than 100,000 subjects. The people who ate the most chocolate had a 37 percent lower risk of heart disease, after controlling for diet, education, physical activity and other factors. This same chocolate-besotted group proved to be 29 percent less likely to have a stroke.

In another review, Harvard researchers analyzed 10 clinical studies from the last decade. The group of subjects was smaller this time — 320 people — but the results were still observable. Consuming dark chocolate or “cocoa products” for 2 to 12 weeks lowered cholesterol somewhat. Another review found that cocoa-rich products had a small effect in lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension and prehypertension.

These health benefits are largely due to the flavonoids in chocolate, the same family of polyphenol compounds found in tea, red wine, grape juice and other colorful plant-based foods that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties.

Stuart Saunders
10/22/2012 4:59:18 PM

Where is my comment?

Diana McCalla
10/22/2012 3:43:48 PM

Not all chocolate is created equal. Processing of cocoa beans into commercial chocolate candy greatly reduces flavonoid levels. In fact, a main manufacturing objective is to remove these compounds because they have a bitter taste. The percent cocoa (or cacao) listed on a label is not a reliable indicator of flavonoid content. Look for a manufacturer that has had the amount of flavonoids certified by an independent lab.

Marsha Woesner
10/22/2012 3:38:54 PM

72% Cacao or higher has been absolutely intergral to my beyond full recovery from an undocumented or professionally treated busted skull I incurred in March. I stand behind it fully and strongly!

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