No one will dispute the fact that chocolate tastes good. But there’s a lot of argument over whether chocolate is good for you. Now, two new studies have added to the growing controversy over whether eating chocolate really can play a role in improving your health.
The flavonols in chocolate can lower blood pressure, improve your cholesterol profile, and lower your risk of heart attack by up to 31 percent, according to the studies, published in the journals Age and the British Journal of Nutrition. The caveat: The studies were conducted by scientists working with Flaviola, a European organization affiliated with the Mars company with the objective of developing new flavonol-based health foods. And it comes on the heels of a study that showed how chocolate could play a role in weight loss—but which turned out to be hoax intended to demonstrate how easy it was to manipulate scientific results. (Speaking of hoaxes, make sure you’re not being duped by marketers by reading these essential 24 Nutrition Myths—Debunked!)
Still, there’s a growing consensus that the right kind of chocolate really can help reduce belly fat and improve your heart health. “Research is still ongoing about the effects of dark chocolate on the heart and how it affects overall health, but there is evidence to show that because of antioxidants, it can be part of a healthy diet,” Nieca Goldberg, MD, cardiologist, Director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells Eat This, Not That!. “I tell my patients about an ounce a day can help with their overall health, as part of a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, especially if it replaces more indulgent cravings. However, people should remember that more isn’t better, and to make sure they watch portion sizes.”
The secret is to eat the right kind of chocolate. The editors of Eat This, Not That! magazine have identified the best chocolates for your belly, your heart, and your tastebuds — and ranked them from worst to first. Click through the gallery to see them all!