The ingredients in chocolate have often been criticized for their harmful effects on health. Yet, they would have many benefits for the body.
Chocolate contains more than 300 substances, including caffeine in small amounts and theobromine, which is a weaker stimulant. But despite its complex chemical properties, it provides many benefits to people who consume it in moderation.
Chocolate and cardiovascular health
Scientists have demonstrated the positive role of the many antioxidants found in cocoa. This help protects against the oxidation of cholesterol that clogs the arteries and decreases blood flow. Present in dark chocolate as in milk, they play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, strengthen the immune system and help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Other studies indicate that high levels of chocolate phenols, substances also present in red wine, could help prevent coronary heart disease. Consuming 100 grams of dark chocolate each day would lower the blood pressure by 5 mm of mercury, which corresponds to a 21% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events.
Research at Yale University, Connecticut, shows that daily consumption of dark chocolate over a short period of time also improves the cellular functioning of the arteries. Researchers believe that long-term consumption would have greater positive effects. The subjects who consumed each day 227 grams of unsweetened dark chocolate saw the ability of their main arm artery to relax and increase blood flow.
Another study by Dr. Diane Becker, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, reveals that a few squares of dark chocolate taken daily would have the same effect as aspirin to reduce blood clotting and reduce risk blocking arteries responsible for many heart attacks.
Chocolate and tooth decay
One of the myths regarding chocolate and its harmful effects is that it would cause tooth decay. Scientists, on the other hand, have found that cocoa tannins promote caries prevention by reducing plaque formation. In addition, the lactic proteins found in milk chocolate appear to protect against caries, while the oxalic acid in chocolate would have a similar effect in decreasing acid production.
Chocolate and skin problems
Another common belief is that chocolate consumption contributes to skin and acne problems. However, the worsening of chocolate-related acne is denied by two studies, including one in Pennsylvania. In the latter, one group of acne patients received chocolate and the other a chocolate-flavored placebo. In both cases, acne was neither improved nor worsened. The other study involved 80 people with acne problems who consumed or refrained from eating chocolate. After one month, the observation did not show any changes in acne from one group to another. There is thus no direct causal link between the consumption of chocolate and this skin condition.
Chocolate and sex
Finally, the consumption of chocolate would have rather surprising positive repercussions on the personal life of the amateurs of this sweet pleasure. According to studies conducted by Dr. Andrea Salonia, a urologist at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, there is a link between chocolate consumption and sexual satisfaction. According to her observations of heterogeneous groups, chocolate-loving women would have a better love life.
Eating chocolate – preferably black – in moderation can, therefore, provide nutrients essential to good health and even participate in a balanced lifestyle, not to mention the unsuspected virtues of the small bean. No need to feel guilty when you succumb to temptation!