Sep 2015 19

The health benefits of chocolate?

By: Dave Wheeler

I've blogged (a few times) before about espresso, one of my foodie obsessions, so time today to 'fess up about my other - chocolate.



If you search the web for "health benefits of chocolate" you come up with a surprising list of claims:

  • it's good for your heart
  • it reduces the risk of a stroke
  • it's mineral rich
  • it reduces cholesterol
  • it's good for your skin
  • it reduces stress
  • it's good for the brain

It's often claimed that chocolate is a superfood. But dig a bit deeper and you get to the research, none of which is particularly convincing.

Reports of research in Panama based on Kuna Indians who drink Cocoa as their main drink observed that the members of the tribe had low blood pressure and a lower incidence of heart disease and stroke than in the West. Since Cocoa is a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and some antioxidants, it seems natural to ascribe the health benefits observed to the bean from which chocolate is made.


The chocolate research

All of the research into the claim that chocolate reduces blood pressure were of very short duration (2-8 weeks) and the authors admit that there are some weaknesses in their research.

The study into chocolate and stress was based on 30 people studied for 14 days, and was funded by the chocolate industry. It found no real evidence of a reduction in stress.

A study in Norfolk this year reported that people eating 2 chocolate bars a day had a slightly lower risk of stroke. But the study failed to establish a causal link between the chocolate consumption and the lower risk.

So all in all, there doesn't seem much scientific support for the claims made that chocolate is good for you.


So is chocolate good for you?

Honestly,  who care? The 2 best things about chocolate are:

  1. It's tastes damn good
  2. Cakes made with chocolate are the best!