Chocolate not Just Delicious Anymore
Just about everybody loves chocolate, especially pregnant women who may be having a craving for something sweet. The health benefits of dark chocolate are multi-fold, but they can be particularly helpful during pregnancy. Now there’s another good reason to eat chocolate, especially if you’re pregnant. A study published in the August 2010 issue of Annals of Epidemiology supports the theory that chocolate may help prevent or reduce the severity of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.
In this study, subjects from 13 different prenatal care centers in Connecticut were interviewed within the first 16 weeks of gestation. Of the 2,567 women who participated in the study, 158 were diagnosed with gestational hypertension and 58 with preeclampsia. Both of these conditions can lead to serious complications for both the mother and baby. It was found that mothers with neither preeclampsia nor gestational hypertension consumed more chocolate than those who were diagnosed with those conditions.
Not the First Study on Chocolate
This was not the first study of this kind. Another study published in 2008 reported that women who consumed chocolate, especially during the first trimester, were less likely to develop preeclampsia.
It is thought that the chemical theobromine, which is found in chocolate, can affect the health of the heart and blood vessels in a positive way. Other non-pregnancy related studies, such as one conducted by Swedish scientists in 2009, found that chocolate could reduce the risk of death from heart disease in heart attack survivors by up to 70 percent.
Other studies pop up from time to time, touting the health benefits of chocolate. Not all chocolate, however, is created equal. Dark, minimally processed chocolate is the best when it comes to health benefits. Waxy milk chocolate, which is laden with chemicals, won’t do anything more than add padding to your hips.
Chocolate Back in the News