Oh How Sweet It Is: The Heart's Love Affair With Chocolate
For many chocolate is not a health food. It has been linked to medical conditions including acne (1) and in most forms it is high in fat and sugar. Recent data, however, has shed light on chocolate's cardio-protective roles. Specifically, cocoa has been found to have flavonoids which are high in antioxidant activity (3). Cocoa's role in platelet activity has also been investigated10 and has been shown to inhibit platelet activity which can further prevent cardiovascular disease. Investigators have also looked at chocolate's fat content and noticed that, although it is high in fat, most of it is in the form of stearic acid which is not well absorbed and excreted as feces (2). Although the data is limited, there is promise that chocolate may provide benefits beyond great taste. Until more research is completed, however, the quantity of chocolate should be limited, but each bite should be relished, not only for its flavor but for its health benefits as well.