Is Chocolate Bad for Your Heart?
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death around the world, so it is no wonder that people are becoming more and more concerned with the health of this vital organ. Eating a healthy diet, cutting out bad habits like smoking, and exercising regularly can all reduce your risk of heart disease.
When it comes to the “diet” part of the equation, there are many questions about which foods are okay to eat and which ones are harmful. Entire books have been written on the subject, but today we will focus on whether or not chocolate is bad for your heart.
Let’s look at the negative parts of chocolate first. Many commercially produced chocolate products are highly processed, and in certain countries, milk chocolate is the most popular form. Milk chocolate is high in sugar and saturated fat, and excessive amounts of both of these can contribute to heart disease.
White chocolate also has high levels of sugar, as it contains no chocolate solids and only uses cocoa butter and sugar. This means that it is high in calories and can cause weight gain which puts extra strain on your heart. Both white and milk chocolate should be consumed only occasionally.
While some chocolate may have negative effects on your heart, the good news is that pure cocoa contains many beneficial substances that can help reduce your risk of disease. You just have to be careful to choose the right products.
Cocoa solids have flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant that can also be found in healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that there are correlations between consuming flavonoids and having a reduced risk of heart disease.
These beneficial ingredients in cocoa are certainly good for you, but they aren’t the end-all be-all for ending heart disease. Their advantages can easily be wiped out by consuming too much sugar or saturated fat. This is why you need to look for the purest chocolate that you can find.
Dark chocolate with 70 to 85% cacao is the way to go. Try to find bars that are low in sugar and high in cacao content, and you’ll be doing your heart and waistline a favor. Typically, milk chocolate contains twice as much sugar, and white chocolate even more, which can counteract the positive effects of the cocoa contained in them.
Enjoy Your Chocolate!
Overall, you shouldn’t expect that eating chocolate will erase the effects of any bad habits that you have. But you can rest assured knowing that cocoa alone is not bad for your heart, and that it does in fact contain healthy substances that can lower your risk of heart disease. You simply have to do your research when choosing what type of chocolate you are going to consume. If you find the purer dark chocolate with lower amount of sugars, you are free to enjoy it in moderation!