If you are looking for an excuse to feed your sweet tooth while pregnant, look no further than a recent study out of the UK. Researchers examining the chocolate-eating habits of 2,500 women and found that those who indulged at least three times a week were less likely to develop pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition in which the blood vessels in the placenta don’t develop properly. Doctors don’t know what causes it, but they do know that it can raise a woman’s blood pressure and reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients the baby receives. There’s no cure for the condition, but women who suffer from it are generally given blood pressure medication and confined to bed until the baby is developed enough to be delivered, usually prematurely via c-section.
In the study, the women were asked how many times a week they ate chocolate, whether it was in candy, drinks or other snacks. Of those that developed pre-eclampsia, only 36% reported regular chocolate consumption. And there’s the catch, of course. Because they were asked to remember and confess what they ate rather than keep a food diary, the numbers may be skewed.
The study also didn’t differentiate between what kind of chocolate the women ate. Other research has suggested that milk and white chocolate may hot have the same health benefits as dark chocolate as they have more sugar and less flavanols, the magic ingredient in cocoa that has been found to fight disease.
No matter. Considering the fact that chocolate is believed to be effective in fighting everything from heart disease to tooth decay, I think it would be foolish to not eat it while pregnant.