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The next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you may not have to feel so guilty about it. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, a number of health benefits may be associated with this delicious treat.

Chocolate is made from tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. Its earliest use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.

After the European discovery of the Americas, chocolate became very popular in the wider world, and its demand exploded.

Chocolate has since become a popular food product that millions enjoy every day, thanks to its unique, rich, and sweet taste.

But what effect does eating chocolate have on our health?

Fast facts on chocolate

  • Chocolate consumption has long been associated with conditions such as diabetescoronary heart disease, and hypertension.
  • Chocolate is believed to contain high levels of antioxidants.
  • Some studies have suggested chocolate could lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline.
  • Chocolate contains a large number of calories.
  • People who are seeking to lose or maintain weight should eat chocolate only in moderation.

Chocolate receives a lot of bad press because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been associated with acneobesityhigh blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

However, according to a reviewTrusted Source of chocolate’s health effects published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, it’s not all bad news.

The authors point to the discovery that cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains biologically active phenolic compounds.

This has changed people’s views on chocolate, and it has stimulated research into how it might impact aging, and conditions such as oxidative stressblood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.