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Chocolate is rich in antioxidants in the flavonol family, substances similar to those found in green tea, red wine, grapes, soy and other potentially healthful foods.
Research Evidence on Chocolate
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study available only in the form of a press release (at the time of this writing) reportedly found dark chocolate helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome.33
As a widely consumed food, chocolate is assumed to have a high safety factor. However, because of its caffeine and theobromine content, it would be expected to have potential side effects similar to those of coffee and black tea , namely: heartburn, gastritis, insomnia, anxiety, and heart arrhythmias (benign palpitations or more serious disturbances of heart rhythm.) 1 All drug interactions that can occur with caffeine would be expected to occur with chocolate as well.
Most chocolate products are high in calories, and therefore could lead to weight gain.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- MAO inhibitors : The caffeine in chocolate could cause dangerous drug interactions.
- Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin: The stimulant effects of chocolate might be amplified.
- Drugs to prevent heart arrhythmias or treat insomnia, heartburn, ulcers, or anxiety: Chocolate might interfere with their action.
- Cannon ME, Cooke CT, McCarthy JS. Caffeine-induced cardiac arrhythmia: an unrecognised danger of healthfood products. Med J Aust. 174(10):520-1.
- Health Benefits of Chocolate Revealed. Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust website. Available at: http://www.hey.nhs.uk/pdf/media/chocolate.pdf. Accessed December 21, 2006.
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