Chocolate eaters have less body fat and healthier hearts

 
By Kelsey Meany • Published: February 14th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Ready to crack open a heart-shaped box of sweets from your sweetie? Aside from validating your love, it turns out that your Valentine’s Day chocolate could have a few more benefits than you realize. A new study reports that chocolate lovers have less body fat and healthier hearts … at least according to their blood pressure readings.

Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain looked at the diets and fitness levels of teens between the ages of 12 and 17. The ones who ate the most chocolate had the lowest overall body fat. Their exercise levels did not seem to influence the results.

The researchers also found that chocolate eaters had better blood pressure, healthier hearts and better circulation than their chocolate-shunning counterparts.

The nutritionists emphasize that this all applies to eating chocolate in moderation. One nutritionist says to have a “relaxed approach” to the news, but emphasizes not depriving yourself of something you love, like chocolate, while dieting.

In fact, according to an unrelated study, when dieters gave up all of their favorite treats, 65 percent of them gained weight instead of losing it.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has been linked to many health benefits. The University of Cambridge found that people who have a taste of chocolate every day were 29 percent less likely to have a stroke and 37 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease than people who abstain from chocolate.

Women who eat chocolate during their pregnancies are reported to have happier babies and seem better able to handle stress during pregnancy.

This Valentine’s Day when those heart-shaped chocolates are staring you in the face — give them a chance. The sweet little treat could benefit your belly, heart and so much more.