Updated 07:35 PM EST, Mon, Feb 27, 2017
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Chocolate: Is it Good or Bad for Your Health?

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Ritter Sport Chocolates Fights Back In Court Case With Stiftung Warentest
BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 14: In this photo illustration a bar of Ritter Sport Whole Hazelnuts (Voll-Nuss) chocolate is pictured on January 14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Ritter Sport recently won a gag order in a Munich court against Stiftung Warentest, Germany's biggest consumer reports magazine, after Stiftung Warentest gave the whole hazelnuts chocolate a 'deficient' rating due to what it claims is evidence of synthetic Piperonal, a sweetener and taste intensifier, though Ritter Sport has countered that its Piperonal is naturally derived. For both companies, which are well-known brands in Germany with long traditions, the current dispute is about each's credibility. Stiftung Warentest has announced it will counter-sue to uphold its rating. (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) (Photo : Getty)

Chocolate is a favorite indulgent of many. You can eat it on its own, or you can mix it with fruits and other snacks to make it more enjoyable. Now, science proclaims that chocolate is not only a sweet treat for your taste buds; it turns out the confection is also beneficial to your health.

Studies have suggested that chocolate has the ability to lower blood pressure, reduce the danger of heart disease, help control blood sugar, and lessen stress, according to CNET. In the last decade, researchers also found that there are chemicals in chocolate that could possibly block diarrhea.

"(Chocolate) is a good antioxidant, it has a good effect on inflammation. We think most of the beneficial effects are because of this," said Dr. Owais Khawaja, a cardiology fellow at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, as quoted by the news outlet.

Khawaja added that the chemicals found in chocolate, which came from cacao seeds, can also potentially decrease the risk of cancer and dementia, CNN wrote.

Chocolate, together with coffee, tea, and cola, can also lower a person's chances of developing skin cancer. A study of more than 120,000 nurses in the United States found that men and women who consumed the highest amount of these drinks and ate the most chocolate have a 13 percent and 18 percent lower risk of getting skin cancer, respectively.

Another study also found that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events. For the research, more than 150,000 men and women in the U.S., Australia, and Europe reported consuming up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate each day. Eating chocolate was linked with a 21 percent lower risk of stroke, 29 percent lower risk of heart disease, and 45 percent lower risk of dying due to heart disease.

Milk chocolate is also said to lower the risk of heart disease, presumably due to the calcium it contains, CNET added.

However, like many other things, chocolate is not always good. Chocolate's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities are believed to originate from a type of plant nutrients found in cocoa beans called flavonoids, CNET noted. Dark chocolate holds more flavonoids that white chocolate, which doesn't actually contain chocolate and is not a good source of the compound.

A chocolate bar that contains 70 percent of cocoa normally belongs in the dark chocolate category and carries different levels of flavonoid compounds depending on how it was processed, the news outlet added. A chocolate that underwent a chemical stage known as ditching, or Dutch chocolate, has basically lost its flavonoid compounds.

Chocolate can also cause weight gain, and can generate problems if a person has gastrointestinal conditions and kidney disease due to its high potassium content, Chron listed.

All in all, chocolate is good for the body at times, but too much of anything can cause serious problems. Chocolate, basically, should be eaten in moderation.

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