You might want to make a cup of hot chocolate to sip as you read this report: Researchers have discovered that chocolate lovers have less body fat, better heart health and even healthier blood pressure readings, reported Food World News on November 1.
Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain studied the diets and fitness levels of teenagers between 12 and 17. Those who ate the most chocolate had the lowest overall body fat. Their levels of exercise did not appear to influence the results.
In addition, the researchers discovered that the chocolate eaters had better blood pressure readings, healthier hearts and enhanced circulation.
Chocolate may provide these benefits because it contains flavonoids, reported Medical News Today on November 1. These polyphenolic compounds protect against cardiovascular disease through antioxidant, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties.
"It's also possible that flavonoids in chocolate may decrease blood concentrations of bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure," says Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, of Sweden's Karolinska Institute, where she and her team conducted a study of Swedish men that found chocolate consumption may also lower stroke risk.
However, a nutrition scientist emphasizes that moderation is essential. Diets that deprive you of what you love, such as chocolate, don't work as well as food plans that allow small treats.
"The key is to take a more relaxed approach and to have a little of what you like," nutrition expert Janet Aylott explained.
One study showed that when dieters gave up all their treats, 65 percent of them gained weight rather than lost.
The newest chocolate study is supported by several previous studies:
- University of Cambridge discovered that people who enjoyed chocolate every day were 29 percent less likely to have a stroke and 37 percent less likely to suffer with heart disease than those who avoided it most of the time.
- University of California, San Diego found that chocolate-lovers have lower body mass indexes (BMIs).
Want to savor the joys of chocolate in healthy way? Get vegan Robin Quivers' Chocolate Coconut Mousse recipe by clicking here.