We've known for quite some time that eating dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But now, due to research at the University of Cologne led by Dr. Dirk Taubert and published in this month's JAMA, we know that very small amounts (30 calories) of dark chocolate eaten regularly (actually every day in the study) can have a significant effect. What is small? Just one small square of the usual-sized chocolate bar of the $1.99 (or more, depending on how fancy you get) type.
There are two things I love about this study, OK, three: (l) chocolate is really good for us (if we don't eat too much); (2) small amounts make a difference; and (3) like so many other things about our bodies and minds, regular, consistent intake of small to moderate amounts of dark chocolate is the key to maximizing the healthy effects and lowering cardiovascular risk (around 8% in the study, which is significant). So savoring that tiny sliver of delicious, dark chocolate placed beside your coffee cup in your neighborhood French bistro really makes sense. No need for guilt. Instead, feel grateful for cocoa polyphenols!
This news was big enough to make the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle today. We love our food, especially chocolate, here in the Bay Area.