Healthy lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of serious heart conditions result in lower life insurance premiums and less expensive medical costs. So, can one say that eating dark chocolate has financial benefits?
According to recent scientific evidence, people who consume a small amount of dark chocolate every day can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke.
The cocoa bean contains a compound known as flavanols, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Flavanols have been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and make blood platelets less sticky and capable of clotting. Cranberries, apples, onions, tea, and red wine all contain this plant chemical.
Unfortunately, not all chocolate is created equal. Most are high in calories and high in unhealthy sugars. The flavanols in pure cocoa give it a very strong, distinct flavor.
To make chocolate, cocoa goes through several stages to reduce the flavor. The more processed the chocolate, the more flavanols are lost. The majority of commercial chocolate falls into this category.
The percentage of flavanols in chocolate can be determined by looking at the percentage of cocoa, according to the Wall Street Journal. Chocolate with 10% cocoa is highly processed and contains a lot of sugar, especially milk chocolate. Dark chocolate typically contains 50-60% cocoa.
According to a German study, eating a square of dark chocolate once a day can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 39%. Dark chocolate, however, should not be used as a diet supplement; regular exercise is also recommended to help lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.