Snacking on unprocessed dark chocolate may help reduce a person’s risk of obesity and diabetes, Medical Daily reported.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonols, a type of antioxidant shown to improve cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow. In order to determine whether flavonols also have a protective effect on weight, researchers placed lab mice on a high-fat diet rich in flavonols.
Their results, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, demonstrated that a flavonol known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs) seemed to have the greatest protective effect on health. Mice were able to keep their weight and blood sugar low when consuming a diet rich in PCs, even when the overall content of their diet was high-fat.
“Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,” the researchers stated.
However, flavonols are also what give dark chocolate its bitter taste – and manufacturers often process cocoa to lesson that flavor, stripping it of its flavonols in the process. The researchers recommend choosing unprocessed dark chocolate to reap the healthiest benefits.