To Your Health: The Facts on Chocolate

chocolate health benefitsA lot of things have been labeled “superfoods,” from seaweed and kale to blueberries and chia seeds. Why not add chocolate to that list?

We’re not saying it should replace fruits and vegetables in your diet, but a number of studies have shown that eating chocolate can have health benefits, from lowered blood pressure to happier babies.

Here are five reasons chocolate can be good for you:

1. It’s good for your heart.

A study in Sweden looked at more than 31,000 women and saw that those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate a week cut their risk of heart failure by up to a third. Another study in Germany in 2012 determined that a square of dark chocolate each day lowered blood pressure and the risk for stroke and heart attacks.

2. It can help with weight loss

Research at both Yale and the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate can fill you up, meaning that you’ll eat less. The Copenhagen study suggests dark chocolate may even reduce cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods.

3. It can stop your cough.

“Chocolate cough remedy’ in sight,” the BBC reported in 2010. The news story said British scientists were studying a new cough medication that contains theobromine, an ingredient found in chocolate and cocoa. Theobromine helps calm the vagus nerve, the section of the brain that prompts coughing.

4. It leads to happier babies

We’re not saying you should feed your baby chocolate. But a study in Finland showed women who ate chocolate each day during their pregnancies were able to handle stress better than those who stayed away from chocolate. Researchers also found that the chocolate-eating moms had babies who were in better spirits and smiled more.

5. It improves blood flow and helps cholesterol

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cocoa has blood-thinning properties that work in a similar fashion to aspirin. And research at Penn State discovered that dark chocolate and flavonoid-heavy cocoa powder lowered LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol) oxidation.

At Stutz Candy, we’ve always known chocolate makes our lives better. It’s nice to know science is on our side.