Scientists Say Three Bars Of Chocolate Each Month Are Good For You

Chocoholics, it's your time to celebrate. Scientists have said eating chocolate can actually be good for us.

That bar of pure loveliness is one of life's little pleasures, but for so long we've been told about the damning effects of everyone's favourite treat.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

However, research suggests moderate consumption - up to three bars a month - cut a person's risk of heart failure by 13 percent.

With heart failure affecting more than 900,000 people in Britain - leading to nearly a third of those dying within a year of diagnosis - this could be a positive find.

Okay, so not the three big bars a week we'd hoped but it's still a good argument to pose next time you're in the supermarket.

Scientists believe natural compounds in chocolate, called flavonoids, can boost blood vessel health and help reduce inflammation.

But, you know what they say about too much of a good thing, researchers do stress the benefits of eating in moderation.

Eating chocolate is only healthy if you do it occasionally, up to three times a month, because the sugar and fat means eating more of the treat than recommended can do more harm than good.

Unfortunately, people who eat chocolate daily can see their risk of heart failure increase by 17 percent, research has found.

So don't be taking on a Bruce Bogtrotter chocolate cake everyday.

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Lead researcher Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said: "I believe that chocolate is an important dietary source of flavonoids which are associated with reducing inflammation and increasing good cholesterol.

"Most importantly, flavonoids can increase nitric oxide [a gas which widens blood vessels and boosts circulation].

"However, chocolate may have high levels of saturated fats. Therefore, moderate consumption is recommended at this moment."

The research, that looked at five studies that involved more than 575,000 individuals, was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference, in Munich.

For those that find the treat a bit too sweet, good news, Dr Krittanawong believes dark chocolate is the most healthy option because it contains the most flavonoids and the least amount of sugar.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He said: "To make definite recommendations, we will need randomized clinical trials to compare between dark chocolate group and non-dark chocolate group."

A senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, Victoria Taylor, said cocoa had been linked to a variety of health benefits.

Taylor said: "This large-scale analysis suggests that enjoying a moderate amount of chocolate might protect you against heart failure, but too much can be detrimental.

"If you have a sweet tooth, make it an occasional small treat and go for dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

In a previous study by the universities of Aberdeen, Manchester, Cambridge and East Anglia, research found people who regularly eat chocolate are 11 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems.

But there has been criticism which points out the studies may be distorted because people with a high risk of heart disease are already more likely to steer clear of chocolate. So, people who regularly eat the food might already be healthier.

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Featured Image Credit: PA

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is journalist from West Cumbria, recently moved to Manchester for an exciting opportunity at LADbible. She used to work as an editor of a small newspaper, in Cumbria. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

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