(NaturalNews) Could that enticing chocolate bar be the key to a healthy pregnancy? A new study out of Canada suggests so, revealing that regular intake of both low- and high-flavonol chocolate may help reduce a woman’s risk of preeclampsia, a condition marked by an unusual jump in blood pressure that puts her and her unborn baby’s life at risk.
The study, which was presented at the recent 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, further found that chocolate may also help improve fetal growth and development, for reasons that aren’t yet fully understood. But one thing is clear: there are definite health benefits to be had from this sweet treat!
The randomized, controlled trial looked at 129 women who were between 11 and 14 weeks of gestation. All the women had double notching on their uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index at baseline – this just means that the women all had heavy resistance to blood flowing into their placenta, suggesting a high-risk fetal outcome such as hypertension of preeclampsia.
All the women were assigned to one of two groups given 30 grams per day of either low-flavanol or high-flavanol chocolate. At the end of 12 weeks, each woman’s uterine artery Doppler pulsatility was measured a second time, and follow-up evaluations were given to all the women until the time they gave birth.
Variances in rates of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placental weight and birthweight were virtually nonexistent between the two groups, however researchers noted significant improvements in the uterine artery Doppler pulsatility rates of women in both groups. This led them to speculate that an expectant mother who regularly eats either low- or high-flavanol chocolate could be helping to improve the growth and development of her unborn child.
“This study indicates that chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and fetal growth and development and that chocolate’s effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content,” stated study co-author Dr. Emmanuel Bujold from the Universite Laval in Quebec City.
Love chocolate? Just make sure your favorite brand is free of lead and cadmium
While this is good news for all the chocolate-loving, sweet-toothed women out there, it’s important to remember that not all chocolate is the same in terms of quality and purity. Some varieties of chocolate, as revealed by the Oakland, California-based non-profit group “As You Sow,” contain potentially dangerous levels of lead, cadmium and other toxic heavy metals.
As The Washington Post reported last February, some 26 different varieties of chocolate tested by As You Sow were found to contain levels of lead and cadmium exceeding the amounts currently allowed under California’s Proposition 65 toxic chemical law. The As You Sow testing sweep indicts major brands like Ghiradelli, Godiva, The Hershey Company, Mars, See’s Candies, Theo, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market and more.
A complete listing of contaminated brands, as tested by As You Sow, is available here.
“We are getting [lead and cadmium] from multiple sources,” explained Eleanne Van Vliet, director of toxic chemicals research at As You Sow, during an interview following her group’s release of the findings. “The problem with those toxic heavy metals is they accumulate in the body. It’s terrible for adults, but especially for children.”
The group has also published a list of non-offending brands, according to tests it conducted. That list is available here.
The Natural News Forensic Food lab, headed by our own Mike Adams, has also conducted its own tests on chocolate to see which brands contain high levels of cadmium and lead. For more about heavy metal contamination in your favorite foods, be sure to visit FoodForensics.com