Why you should eat a bit of chocolate every week

Almost all the advice about healthy eating that you hear these days tells you to avoid chocolate if possible, due to its high sugar content.  It’s true that too much chocolate is bad for you, but a little bit of chocolate now and then is actually good for you.  We spoke with Lisa Fowler at Discovery Learning to find out the facts about how chocolate can be healthy:

“Chocolate reduces your blood pressure. The cocoa powder of chocolate contains these things called flavanols that help your body to produce ACE, which in turn reduces your blood pressure level. Flavanols are also a stimulating agent for our bodies; they generatenitrous oxide in our bloodstream and open up our p blood vessels.”

“As a secondary effect of reducing blood pressure, chocolate also helps to prevent liver damage, because high blood pressure has a chance to cause failure of or damage to the human liver. Science has proven that dark chocolate, in particular, improves the quality of one’s liver.”

“The cocoa contained within chocolate transfers substances called polyphenols, stearic acid and oleic acid into our bodies, which help to reduce cholesterol in our systems. So a little bit of chocolate can actually do more to benefit our cholesterol than harm it.”

While Lisa does a good job of illustrating the benefits of occasional chocolate eating, it is important to remember that occasional means just that. Regularly eating large amounts of chocolate is bad for your body because of the high sugar content, and will do damage rather than good.

Chocolate, especially the cheap chocolate sold in shops and supermarkets, contains a lot of something called “free sugar”, which means sugar as a substance by itself, not bound up with other things such as fibre.

This is why it’s easier to eat large amounts of chocolate than it is to eat large amounts of something like apples, which also contain sugar, because in apples the sugar is bound up with other nutritional substances, and those other nutritional substances will make your body feel fuller after it’s eaten just one apple, while you could go through an entire large bar of chocolate without ever feeling full.

Try to limit yourself to one large chocolate bar every week. Break up the segments into thirds, and have one third on Monday, another on Wednesday and the last one on Saturday, for example. Eating chocolate in these quantities should allow your bodies to reap the health benefits it offers without putting on extra weight through its consumption.

Thanks for reading, we hope you found this helpful.

Dee Jones