Can chocolate cravings be beneficial during a pregnancy?

March 02, 2012 12:00 AM by

Everyone knows that most ladies love chocolate, and pregnant women are no exception! In fact, many mothers report craving chocolate more often during a pregnancy, which recent studies have found could actually be beneficial to the health of both mother and child.

According to The Daily Mail, a study by Yale University suggests that eating chocolate when you're pregnant could prevent a condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia occurs when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine in the late second or third trimester, which can cause a variety of complications for her and the baby.

The study looked at the dietary habits of 1,681 pregnant women and the levels of theobromine in their cord blood, reports Yale News. Theobromine is a chemical found in cocoa beans that can have relaxing effects on the body. For example, it can help to lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels and allowing blood to move more freely.

The study found that the women who reported eating chocolate more than five times a week had a lower risk of developing preeclampsia. As for the theobromine levels, researchers found that women with the highest levels were 70 percent less likely to develop the condition than those who had less theobromine, according to Yale News.

Before you start stuffing your face with Kit-Kat bars, you should know that not all kinds of the sweet stuff have the high levels of theobromine that pointed to a reduced risk for preeclampsia. If you're going to add a bit of chocolate to your diet during pregnancy, choose a dark variety, which is less processed and has more cocoa.

Remember that eating a lot of chocolate isn't always a good idea, as it could lead to excessive weight gain and other health problems. Aim for a small piece of dark chocolate once a day.

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