7 Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Written by: Barb Kelly

August 2, 2018

For many years, chocolate was considered a “bad” food because of its high levels of saturated fat and sugar. However, in the 1990’s several studies revealed that chocolate had many positive benefits and adding it to one’s diet was actually recommended because of the many health benefits observed with its consumption. While the sugars in it continue to raise concerns (except when eating Ross No Sugar Added Chocolate, of course), the fats in chocolate were found not to cause the negative health impacts created by saturated fats in other foods.

Subsequent research continues to support the inclusion of a moderate amount of chocolate in our daily diets.

What are the Benefits of Eating Chocolate?

A. Promotes steady energy:

Despite the small amount of caffeine found in chocolate, theobromine – not caffeine – provides the energy boost associate with chocolate. Theobromine, the primary alkaloid found in cocoa, which is the primary component of chocolate – particularly dark chocolate – promotes energy in the body without affecting the central nervous system. This produces a gentle, pleasant, long-lasting type of energy that assists without causing sleeplessness.[1]

B.  Improved cognitive function:

The theobromine and the small amount of caffeine in chocolate can provide a quick fix to improve cognitive function. Studies have also shown that over the long term, chocolate can help improve cognitive functions for the elderly and those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.[2]

C.  Improved athletic performance:

Studies have found that eating a small amount of chocolate before physical exercise improves the body’s use of oxygen, which in turn produces improved results in athletic performance.[3]

D.  Good source of antioxidants

Based on studies, raw cocoa beans are one of the best foods for fighting free radicals and are the best fruit, even better than blueberries and the acai berry.[4]

E.  Improved cholesterol

Due to its antioxidant qualities, consuming chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, results in a decrease in bad cholesterol (LDL) and an increase in good cholesterol (HDL). Eating one square of chocolate a day can significantly affect your LDL cholesterol levels.

F.  Reduced the risk of heart disease

Pile of cocoa beans

Studies have shown that moderate consumption of cocoa and/or chocolate reduces the risk of heart disease by more than one-third.[5]

G.  Reduced risk of stroke

Like heart disease, the positive affect that chocolate consumption has on blood pressure and cholesterol levels has a positive impact on the risk of stroke. Studies have found that moderate consumption of chocolate reduces the occurrence of strokes by up to 27%.

What is Moderate Consumption?

It is worth noting that every study involved participants consuming a specific amount of chocolate either daily or weekly but the amount was generalized to “a moderate” amount of chocolate. This ranged from two ounces a week to two “squares” daily. Definitions of the size of a “square” were not always supplied in the articles reviewed for this blog. One or two articles specified a “square” as being equivalent to 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of chocolate while others were less specific.

Thus, a moderate amount was reported as being from 0.29 of an ounce (8.1 grams) to 2 ounces (56.7 grams) a day. In terms of Ross Chocolate bars, that is a range from one-quarter of a bar (about two “squares”) to almost 1 and two-third bars a day. In terms of our minis, that’s a range of 1 and one-third mini to 9 and one-third minis a day.

Because our chocolate is No Sugar Added and is lower in fat than many other chocolate products and high in fibre, it is better for you (particularly your blood sugars) than regular chocolate. However, we urge you to be thoughtful when determining what a moderate of chocolate is for you.

[1] Asprey, D. November 10, 2014. Is Chocolate Good For You? The Health Benefits of Chocolate. Retrieved on July 15, 2018 from https://blog.bulletproof.com/is-chocolate-good-for-you-health-benefits/

[2] Nordqvist, J. July 17, 2018. Health Benefits and Risks of Chocolate. Retrieved on July 20, 2018 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270272.php

[3] Ibid.

[4] 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate. Retrieved in August 2, 2018 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate

[5] Laino, C. Chocolate Good for the Heart. Retrieved on August 2, 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20110829/chocolate-good-for-the-heart#1

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