We didn’t need any more excuses to eat chocolate, right? We’ll give you another one, besides a sweet guilty pleasure.

Eating chocolate could help prevent heart disease, and strokes according to Harvard’s Medical School, and the Heart medical journal.

People who indulged in dark chocolate on a regular basis had a lower risk of developing heart disease. The reason is the cocoa bean has polyphenols, and these compounds help with inflammation and increasing blood flow.

Chocolate has antioxidants that are also found in fruits and vegetables.

The study was conducted in Norfolk, England for 11 years, and those who ate more chocolate, died of cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t consume chocolate at 17.4 percent.

The average American consumed 107 pieces of chocolate annually, and women topped men by eating 89 percent compared to men who ate 85 percent. With any study, it’s important to balance how much you eat, and remember that there are a lot of calories in a chocolate bar.

Not all chocolate is the same, so stick to dark chocolate in small doses. A lot of the polyphenols are cancelled out in milk chocolate with all the fat and sugar usually added.

Romina di Giuseppe led a study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition (2008) and found that there was a reduction of inflammation in those who consumed dark chocolate, than those who did not.

“People having moderate amounts of dark chocolate regularly have significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood. In other words, their inflammatory state is considerably reduced.”

Chocolate could also lower cholesterol, and improve blood pressure.

So, there you go. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate for a happy heart. 

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