It’s that time of the month again. A new health study is touting the benefits of chocolate. Your sweet tooth could save your heart later down the line. Of course, the benefits come from the bioactive compounds in the cocoa bean.

You have to strip out the sugar and milk – the ingredients that make chocolate delicious – to get to the compounds researchers are interested in.

A new study, published in the journal Heart, found daily chocolate eaters had a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes compared to the odd people who shun chocolate. I bet that was an interesting survey of finding people who hate chocolate in any form.

Researchers tracked 20,000 adults in England for 12 years. Volunteers filled out food questionnaires, and researchers measured their chocolate consumption. How cool would it be to eventually have a medical test saying your chocolate level is too low? Damn doc, this is the best news I’ve had all year…

What type of benefit does chocolate offer? The Harvard Health Blog calculated out the corresponding benefits: “Among those in the top tier of chocolate consumption, 12 percent developed or died of cardiovascular disease during the study, compared to 17.4 percent of those who didn’t eat chocolate.”

Study author, Phyo Myint, broke the numbers down to grams consumed per day: “The group with the greatest benefit generally ate 16 to 100 grams per day.”

chocolate heart health

To make it simpler, let’s use a candy bar for scale. A typical Hershey bar weighs 43 grams. The researchers should just lead with that.

What Makes Chocolate Heart Friendly

And here’s the bad news. What? You thought pharmaceutical companies were going to let you go all Willy Wonka on the chocolate aisle? The study does not prove a causal relationship between chocolate and the reduced risk of heart disease. More research will have to be done to prove the correlation.

How do you prove that? With a clinical trial involving the cocoa bean’s polyphenols – the compound researchers are targeting as being beneficial to your heart.

I know what you’re thinking. A clinical trial involving chocolate? Where is this signup sheet? There’s a catch. The trial will involve polyphenols in capsule form. No sugar. No calories. No candy bar. Zero fun. That’s borderline sadistic.

For us normal people, keep with the now and then candy bar. Like all things in your diet, moderation is key. Not sure if you’re eating chocolate moderately?

If you have to ask, cut back at least 50 percent.

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