It’s official: chocolate is good for you
This is the kind of news everyone wants to hear on a Friday. There‘s a link between eating chocolate at least once a week and a reduced risk of heart disease. Whooh-hooh! This sweet report is courtesy of new research in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
“Our study suggests that chocolate helps keep the heart’s blood vessels healthy,” says study author Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong.
“In the past, clinical studies have shown that chocolate is beneficial for both blood pressure and the lining of blood vessels. I wanted to see if it affects the blood vessels supplying the heart or not. And if it does, is it beneficial or harmful?”
Everything in moderation
The researchers analysed studies from the past five decades that examined the association between chocolate consumption and coronary artery disease. They found that, compared with having chocolate less than once a week, eating it more than once a week was associated with an eight percent decreased risk of coronary artery disease.
“Chocolate contains heart-healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid,” says Dr Krittanawong. “This may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol.”
The study didn’t look at whether any particular type of chocolate is more beneficial, or whether there’s an ideal portion size. But Dr Krittanawong warns against overeating.
“Moderate amounts seem to protect the coronary arteries,” he says. “But it’s likely that large quantities do not.”
Good news for chocolatiers
The study isn’t just good news for choc lovers; it could also be a boost for producers. With COVID-19 restrictions around the world limiting impulse purchasing and decreasing consumer confidence, global chocolate consumption has fallen significantly over recent months, according to a new report by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank.
The report indicates that a significant portion of chocolate demand stems from impulse and gift purchases made in retail shops, vending machines, airports and while travelling.
“The instant gratification has been largely unavailable while consumers have been stuck at home under lockdowns,” says report author Andrew Rawlings. “This, combined with the prospect of a recession, has seen consumers more likely to shun indulgent snacks.”
Perhaps it’s time to do our bit for the chocolate industry, and buy ourselves some quality choc. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, right?