One of the most notorious guilty pleasure foods out there has be chocolate, and while the common opinion on chocolate is to avoid it, that might not necessarily be the best advice.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers looked at how eating chocolate influences the blood vessels supplying the heart. The researchers looked at a combined analysis of studies from the past five decades that examined the connection between chocolate consumption and coronary artery disease (the blockage of the coronary arteries).
The analysis was quite extensive and had a total of 336,289 participants who reported their chocolate consumption. What the researchers found was that eating chocolate more than once a week was associated with an 8% decreased risk of coronary artery disease.
Study author Dr. Chayakrit Krittanawong of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, said, "Chocolate contains heart healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid which may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol)."
The author did note that the study left out what specific type of chocolate has the best effect on the heart and that more study is needed to find out the ideal portion size. Here's what was stated, "Chocolate appears promising for prevention of coronary artery disease, but more research is needed to pinpoint how much and what kind of chocolate could be recommended".
Even though this study does prove that chocolate can be beneficial to people's health, Dr. Krittanawong warned against overeating, "Moderate amounts of chocolate seem to protect the coronary arteries but it's likely that large quantities do not. The calories, sugar, milk, and fat in commercially available products need to be considered, particularly in diabetics and obese people."