The potential health benefits of chocolate is a truly beloved topic, perhaps brought up most often at suburban book club meetings after someone says "just one more piece." So it's always reassuring when science makes us feel good about ourselves by confirming that, yes, chocolate is good for you.
You already know that it can help improve your memory, but a new study published by the British Medical Journal’s cardiology magazine, Heart, shows that consuming chocolate daily can actually lower the risk of heart disease and strokes.
According to the BBC, University of Aberdeen reachers in Scotland examined the eating habits of over 20,000 middle-aged and elderly people for the study, and found that those who ate up to a small bar of chocolate each day had an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 23% lower risk of stroke, compared to those who did not eat chocolate.
The Guardian reports that most of the study's participants ate milk chocolate, not dark chocolate. Since dark chocolate is known for having a higher percentage of protective molecules called flavonoids, the study says this may show that "other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents such as calcium and fatty acids" could lower one's risk of heart disease as well.
There is a caveat, though: as the study was observational, it may not show cause and effect, but rather a circumstantial association. Come on science, don't let us down now! The Guardian does note, however, that the research team found similar benefits to regular chocolate consumption in its review of other published studies.
Dr. Tim Chico, a consultant cardiologist at the University of Sheffield, tells the BBC, "The message I take from this study is that if you are a healthy weight, then eating chocolate (in moderation) does not detectably increase risk of heart disease and may even have some benefit," but, he notes, "I would not advise my patients to increase their chocolate intake based on this research, particularly if they are overweight."
It seems safe to say though, if you're not overweight, daily chocolate may do you some good. Be sure to tell Janice as she's hesitating over that Toblerone at book club next week!
Lucy Meilus is a staff writer for Thrillist and would like to be told that cheeseburgers are good for her. Follow her on Twitter at @Lucymeilus and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.