Researchers recruited 129 pregnant women between the 11- and 14-week mark and randomly separated them into two groups. For 12 weeks, both groups were given 30 grams per day (around the same size as a small bar) of either low-or high-flavanol chocolate.
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Before and after the experiment took place, the participants were tested for pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension. They also had their blood flow, placenta weight and birth weight measured.
While the findings showed no real difference between the results of the two groups, both saw a significant improvement in their blood flow when compared to the general population.
"This study indicates that chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and foetal growth and development and that chocolate's effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content," the study’s lead researcher Emmanuel Bujold explained.
The takeaway? If you’re expecting, you officially have permission to indulge – within reason. (As with all treat foods, moderation is key!)