While you’d probably be hard up to find a doctor endorsing Twix bars and Reese’s Cups (not all chocolate is created equal, after all) some of the sweet stuff is actually good for you. The key: going for dark chocolate over milk chocolate, which helps lower the amount of added sugar. When you stick to dark chocolate, you’re actually consuming brain-boosting flavanols, magnesium, zinc, and iron—and in that regard, it’s almost as if you’re doing your body a favor. But does all of this quite simple mean that you should abide by the philosophy of the more, the better? Well, not exactly.
According to the Evening Standard, researchers recently presented the results of five studies at the European Society of Cardiology conference, all of which—at least in part—studied the link between over half a million participants’ sweets habits and heart health. They found that people who ate three chocolate bars a month reduced their risk of heart failure by 13 percent compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate at all.
While this is more of a correlation than a direct cause-and-effect data point, the presenting cardiologists said that they do think there is legit reasoning behind it: It turns out those flavanols helps blood vessels expand, which in turn keeps inflammation down and the heart strong.
It seems, like most things in life, chocolate falls into the “everything in moderation” bucket; after all, three bars a month isn’t all that much. But if you needed a justification for your 4 p.m. snack fix, well, you’re welcome.
If you’re seriously craving chocolate now, check out this candy bar, made with adaptogens. And here’s the verdict on if it’s healthy to pair your chocolate with wine.
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