Can You “Really” eat dark chocolate and live longer ?
If you love dark chocolate, you’re probably well aware of research that suggests it has important health benefits, mostly through improving heart health. It's a bonus to justify your chocolate addiction in the name of longevity.
The Flavanol Factor
The greatest benefit from chocolate comes with the highest concentration of cocoa, which contains flavanols, a form of flavonoid. Flavanols act as antioxidants, mopping up damaging free radicals that are produced during cell metabolism. They can also reduce resistance to insulin and make blood vessels more elastic, reducing blood pressure. Since flavanols can be destroyed through processing, some researchers recommend eating less-processed chocolate and have advocated labeling cocoa products indicating flavanol levels.
How Much Chocolate to Lengthen Life
It seems a little chocolate goes a long way in helping you to live longer. Eat the amount of chocolate that works for you. Don't eat more calories than you can burn and don't replace other healthy plant-based foods with chocolate. Enjoy just enough to fill the need for something sweet and satisfying so that it doesn't interfere with your healthy eating habits.
How Often Should You Eat Chocolate
Other studies have looked primarily at how often you eat chocolate, rather than the amount you consume. A 2011 research review involving a total of about 114,000 subjects in Europe, Asia, and North America, found a 37 percent lower risk in developing cardiovascular disease, a 31 percent reduction in risk of diabetes, and 29 percent reduction in risk of stroke, among subjects who ate chocolate the most often (more than twice a week). This review, from the University of Cambridge, included chocolate from all sources, including chocolate bars, drinks, and snacks, and did not distinguish between dark or milk chocolate.