Chocolate has numerous health benefits. This page will show research of chocolate to justify my love of it! Back in 2018, I authored a journal article on chocolate and its health benefits (see below reference). I also presented on cardiometabolic health in Barcelona in 2016, and of course, I had a section on chocolate.

The cardiometabolic benefits of chocolate: can chocolate be the elusive elixir to optimum health? Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2018 Aug; 5(2): 80-81.

Dr Brad McEwen presenting on Cardiovascular Disease – Barcelona July 2016

Cardiovascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate?

The use of cacao for health benefits dates back at least 3000 years. The understanding of cacao has evolved with modern science. It is now felt based on extensive research the main health benefits of cacao stem from epicatechin, a flavanol found in cacao. The process of manufacturing dark chocolate retains epicatechin, whereas milk chocolate does not contain significant amounts of epicatechin. Thus, most of the current research studies are focused on dark chocolate.

Both epidemiological and clinical studies suggest a beneficial effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure, lipids, and inflammation. Proposed mechanisms underlying these benefits include enhanced nitric oxide bioavailability and improved mitochondrial structure/function.

Ultimately, further studies are needed to elucidate its potential for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases as well as other diseases that have underlying mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction and nitric oxide deficiency.

Higginbotham E, Taub PR. Cardiovascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate? Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2015 Dec;17(12):54.

Chocolate and the Heart ❤️

Consuming moderate amounts of chocolate has been associated with significantly lower risk of being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation – a common and dangerous type of irregular heartbeat. These findings were from a large study of 55,502 men and women (26,400 men and 29,102 women) in Denmark led by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and in Denmark. Median follow-up was 13.5 years.

Compared with those who ate a 28 g (1 ounce) serving of chocolate less than once per month:

  • men and women who ate one to three servings per month had a 10% lower rate of atrial fibrillation
  • those who ate one serving per week had a 17% lower rate of atrial fibrillation
  • those who ate two to six servings per week had a 20% lower rate of atrial fibrillation.
  • Results were similar for men and women.

Accumulating evidence indicates that moderate chocolate intake may be inversely associated with atrial fibrillation risk.

Chocolate is awesome!

Mostofsky E et al. Chocolate intake and risk of clinically apparent atrial fibrillation: the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. Heart. 2017 May 23. pii: heartjnl-2016-310357. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-310357. ( )

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