If you need yet another reason to love chocolate, researchers have begun testing a new product that could take cocoa's health benefits to the next level. Chocolate pills—or, more scientifically: cocoa extract capsules—could be the key to getting the heart health boost of the beans without the added fat and sugar of a candy bar.
According to NPR, in recent years dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, as flavanols—the compounds found in cocoa—have the ability to increase blood flow. "Intake of dark chocolate is associated with a greater ability of blood vessels to dilate when they should," says Dr. David Katz of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.
- Is Cocoa In Jeopardy?
- 13 Tips for Eating as Much Chocolate as Possible This Year
- Eating Dark Chocolate Every Day Could Help You Be a Better Athlete
Despite these apparent benefits, many—including the Harvard Medical School—have pointed out that while cocoa does have health boosting properties, most chocolate is not health food. "While some observational studies have linked chocolate consumption to reductions in heart disease and dementia, they don't establish a cause-and-effect relationship," Harvard Health writes about the half-virtuous food, noting that high levels of milk fat and sugar in most chocolate bars have their own negative effects on the body. "Any benefit is thought to be due not to chocolate as such but to flavanols—bioactive compounds that occur naturally in the cocoa bean," they add.