Snacking on chocolate during the winter months will boost levels of the sunshine vitamin, a new study has found.
We’ve all heard the rumours that chocolate comes packed with mood elevating benefits and anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
But chocolate lovers will be delighted to hear that a new study, published in the journal Food Chemistry, found that foods rich in cocoa, including cocoa butter, cocoa beans, cocoa powder and dark chocolate, provide a previously unknown source of vitamin D2.
Do you get enough vitamin D?
Our main source of vitamin D comes from sunlight directly on the skin. But, according to government research, approximately 10 million people in the UK develop low vitamin D stores between October and early March, thanks to a lack of sunshine.
Vitamin D is an essential building block for growth and development, and deficiency can lead to serious health implications.
Researchers at the Martin Luther University (MLU) Halle-Wittenberg and the Max Rubner-Institut found that chocolate contains significant amounts of vitamin D2.
Vitamin D benefits
This is great news for chocolate fans, because the human body needs to hit a daily vitamin D quota for strong bones. The essential vitamin is also said to have an impact on cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and infections.
According to the study findings, cocoa butter and dark chocolate contain the highest amounts of the sunshine vitamin, followed by milk chocolate, with white chocolate having the least.
This choc load of good news could see cocoa products being recommended as a vital food source for people deficient in vitamin D or those at risk of brittle bones and respiratory diseases.
But before you swap your broccoli for a Mars Bar, remember that moderation is key. Professor Gabriele Stangl at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg said you would need to eat excessive amounts of chocolate to cover your vitamin D2 requirements. ‘That would be extremely unhealthy because of the high sugar and fat content,’ she said.
? According to Public Health England 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed to help keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
To ensure you hit your vitamin D quota during the winter months, you should take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D, topped up with a delicious bar of dark chocolate, of course.