Surprising Effect of Eating Chocolate

You may think of chocolate as an "unhealthy" food, but dark chocolate can actually have benefits for everything from your mood to your skin.

While eating a bar of caramel-filled milk chocolate every day is probably not the most nutritious choice, having a couple of  squares of dark chocolate can be just what the doctor ordered, as it were

In the study, published earlier this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 60 and up

Following up after several years, supplementing some participants' diets with cocoa extract. Those who received the supplement were significantly less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

"We found that cocoa flavanol supplementation may reduce clinical cardiovascular events, including a statistically significant 27% reduction in… cardiovascular disease (CVD) death,"

Flavanols are compounds found in cocoa powder, chocolate, and other foods, and they have been linked with a range of health benefits. A 2014 study on cocoa flavanols,

One major point to flag in this most recent study is that researchers received grants from Mars, Incorporated, the company that owns M&M'S, Snickers, Twix, Dove and more.

Mars provided the study pills and packaging. However, the implications of the study extend beyond just chocolate products.

"Flavanols are not only found in the cocoa bean, but also in berries, tea, and grapes, among other fruits and vegetables that remain a critical part of a healthy diet for overall health,"

He added that understanding exactly how cocoa flavanols affect cardiovascular health "requires additional research."

Still, given the proven health benefits of dark chocolate, you may as well pick up a bar on your next trip to the grocery store, especially if you enjoy the taste.

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