Chocolate, little dark brown squares of sweetness that melt in your mouth, may be a guilty pleasure or a love that people confidently declare. In fact, Jo Brand, an English comedian, once said, “anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.” As it turns out, chocolate not only tastes good but is also beneficial for fetal health according to a new study.
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In a study conducted by researchers in Canada, 129 expectant mothers were separated into two groups. One group was given 30 mg of low or high flavonol chocolate. Flavonols are a type of flavonoids, nutrients that function as antioxidants, chemical substances that protect cells from certain damages, and anti-inflammatory agents. In particular, they have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. The results indicated that those who consumed the high levels of flavonol chocolate showed better uterine, placental, and fetal blood flow compared to the control group. These are all healthy signs for fetal development.
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An earlier study in 2012 also examined the effects of cocoa consumption on health for pregnant women. One group of women, who attended a local clinic, was given 30g of chocolate to supplement their diet, while the other group was allowed to supplement their diet with increased consumption of any other food type. From the data collected, it appears that those who consumed a moderate amount of chocolate every day had lower blood pressures and lower blood sugar levels, indicating the potential health benefits of chocolate consumption in pregnant women.
Chocolate appears to have more than just the ability to satisfy the taste buds of individuals. It can also influence the health of both the mother and the baby by improving fetal blood flow and lowering the blood pressure and blood sugar levels of the mother. Although, it is always good to keep in mind that too much of anything can result in more negative effects than advantageous benefit. Nonetheless, perhaps one day, we may see moderate chocolate consumption as a common recommendation for a healthy pregnancy diet.
Feature Image Source: Dick Thomas Johnson