1st July 2015 | Author:

Enjoy Chocolate in Moderation this Easter

Easter1

A huge array of delicious chocolate eggs have been on the shelves for ages now.

Plans for a flurry of egg hunt extravaganzas are already well underway, and the anticipation is building amongst many expectant kids (and a fair few adults, too).

It can all mean only one thing – Easter’s nearly upon us once again!

With many of us planning to spend our Easter Sunday (and possibly Easter Monday) gorging ourselves silly with chocolate on the sofa, it’s all too easy to ignore the potential health hazards associated with the cocoa-based treat.

But if you consider the risks, you might be more likely to eat chocolate in moderation this Easter.

As chocolate is laden with saturated fat and sugar, it’s perhaps unsurprising that overindulgence can lead to weight problems.

And being overweight can increase your chances of developing serious health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a growing problem too. Figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre last month (February) displayed that 65% of men, and 58% of women  in the UK are now either obese or overweight.

This doesn’t mean a bit of chocolate can’t be enjoyed over the Easter holidays – just be sensible.

Chocolate Benefits?

However, a number of recent studies have also claimed that chocolate, when enjoyed in moderation, can actually be beneficial to your health.

But are they fact, or just myth?

Reduces Cholesterol?

According to an article published by diabetes.co.uk, the consumption of chocolate with a low cholesterol diet and plenty of exercise could aid weightloss!

Swedish researcher Susanna Larsson, from the Karolinska Institute, conducted the research. She believes the potential stroke-preventing properties of chocolate could be down to the presence of cocoa flavonoids.

According to dietician Catherine Collins, Cocoa flavonoids help dilate arteries – so blood can flow more effectively – as well as reducing the stickiness of blood,  which in turn could help stop blood clots forming.

However, doctors from the Stroke Association highlighted that more research was needed, and that it shouldn’t act as a reason for men to increase their chocolate consumption.

Good for the Heart and Brain?

A 2011 review of previously conducted research found that high levels of chocolate consumption could protect against heart disease, and strokes, according to a BBC article.

In their analysis of data from 114,009 participants, scientists from the University of Cambridge compared the results of those who ate less than two bars of the sweet treat, against those that consumed more than two.

From this they were able to find a link between the reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease developing or a stroke occurring, and a higher level of chocolate consumption.

Although it was hailed as a promising finding, a researcher on the study, Dr Oscar Franco, commented that more research would need to be conducted.

Meanwhile, The British Heart Foundation added that there were better ways to keep the heart protected than gorging on chocolates.

Happy Easter from us all at TheHealthcounter! Try not to gorge too much during this extra long weekend!