Dark chocolate may lower your risk of heart disease by lowering levels of blood glucose and bad cholesterol while boosting levels of good cholesterol. A small study by researchers at San Diego State University compared dark and white chocolate, looking for various health benefits.
These results concur with other studies that show chocolate has health benefits. However, the type of chocolate apparently matters. Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa was used in this research. The cocoa solids contain flavanols , known to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Tea, wine, fruits and vegetables also contain flavanols.
Dark chocolate contains more flavanols than milk chocolate; white chocolate has none. Research participants ate a candy-bar size serving (50g) of chocolate every day for 15 days. (Somehow, I missed the phone call to drop by and help)
Compared to those who ate white chocolate, dark chocolate eaters had lower blood sugar levels, improved LDL (bad cholesterol) and improved HDL (good cholesterol). There was apparently no difference in blood pressure between the groups, but previous research has found a connection – so it’s possible the small size of this study affected that outcome.
The researchers also found that the white chocolate slowed down skin blood flow, – a process that indicates the functioning of blood vessels. That’s not good.
So the message is, a little daily chocolate is a good thing – but make it dark, say the experts. Of course, the usual “moderation” caveat is included, but so what? Now when you eat chocolate, you can rationalize that it’s good for your heart.