It’s official: chocolate is good for you
This is the kind of good news everyone wants to hear on a Friday: eating chocolate at least once a week is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease. Whooh-hooh! This sweet report is courtesy of new research published 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?”
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 chocolate 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, which may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol,” says Dr Krittanawong.
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 of chocolate seem to protect the coronary arteries but it’s likely that large quantities do not,” he says.
The study isn’t just good news for chocolate lovers; it could also be a boost for chocolate 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 says a significant proportion of chocolate demand is comprised of impulse and gift purchases made at retail shops, vending machines, airports or while travelling.
“The instant gratification of an in-person purchase has been largely unavailable while consumers have been stuck at home and under lockdowns and this, combined with the prospect of a recession, has seen consumers more likely to shun indulgent snacks,” says report author, Rabobank commodities analyst Andrew Rawlings.
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?