Hooray! -- even more research shows why dark chocolate (in moderation) has heart-healthy benefits.
Researchers from San Diego State University conducted a small controlled study illustrating that eating dark chocolate has positive effects in lowering blood sugar levels and "bad" cholesterol levels and increasing "good" cholesterol levels -- all of which could have positive effects on heart health.
The study was presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting.
For the study, researchers had 31 people eat either 50 grams of regular dark chocolate (70% cocoa), dark chocolate (70% cocoa) that has been overheated, or white chocolate (0% cocoa). The study participants ate their assigned chocolate for a 15-day period; their blood glucose, circulating lipids, blood pressure and blood flow were all measured before and after the study.
But while the researchers found a positive effect of eating the dark chocolate in the study, they cautioned that chocolate is also high in saturated fat and calories, and must therefore be eaten in moderation.
For more sweet benefits of chocolate, click through the slideshow:
A 2011 Swedish study found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke
than women who treated themselves to fewer than 9 grams of the sweet stuff.
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Because it's rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you'll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and HuffPost blogger told The Huffington Post
. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on "11 other things first" he said.
Dark chocolate does the trick much better than milk, according to a small study from the University of Copenhagen, and may even reduce cravings
for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
Katerina Nanopoulou via Alamy
Forget what you've heard about chocolate causing breakouts: Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The type of antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage
from the sun. And no, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen!
Andrew Harding via Jupiter Images
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Because of chocolate's ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a small 2011 study that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina
, thereby giving vision a boost.
That boost of blood flow to the brain created by cocoa's flavanols seems to make people feel more awake and alert, and, in a small British study, perform better on counting tasks