Great news for chocolate lovers—dark chocolate may lower the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of blood glucose and bad cholesterol while boosting levels of good cholesterol, according to the results of a new study.
The study included 31 people who were assigned to consume 50 grams per day of either dark chocolate (70 percent cacao) or white chocolate (0 percent cacao) for 15 days. The researchers performed a variety of blood tests on the participants before and after the study and found that those who ate dark chocolate had lower blood sugar (glucose) levels, lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. In fact, the participants who ate dark chocolate lowered their bad cholesterol by 20 percent and raised their good cholesterol by 20 percent.
Chocolate contains compounds called flavanols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dark chocolate has higher flavanol levels than milk chocolate. These flavanols may play a role in the positive health effects of chocolate.
Of course, it’s not too difficult to convince people to consume chocolate. The researchers cautioned that despite its potential health benefits, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation because it is high in saturated fat and calories.
The bottom line—enjoy some dark chocolate in moderation. It’s good for your mental—and possibly your physical—health!
 Orsa C, Plumlee D, Wright A, Hong MY. Effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function in healthy adults. The FASEB Journal. 2012; 26:1026.4
Tags: Heart Health