Pregnancy Use

Cocoa and chocolate can be considered safe to use in pregnancy.

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Cocoa has many potential benefits for the cardiovascular system and may reduce blood pressure, inhibit platelet function, and improve the serum cholesterol profile, as well as having beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. However, further research is required to confirm the benefits.

• The most active agents in cocoa are the polyphenols, which are present in high amounts in dark chocolate, with lesser amounts in milk chocolate and minimal amounts in white chocolate.

• Cocoa powder contains minimal fat while dark chocolate contains less fat and sugar than milk or white chocolate. Beneficial effects are more likely to result from the use of cocoa powder or dark chocolate containing more than 50-60% cocoa mass.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Cocoa is a nutritious food that appears to have beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, blood clotting, and psychological well-being.

When will it start to work?

Psychological effects of chocolate consumption may be evident immediately, whereas beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol may be evident after 2-4 weeks.

Are there any safety issues?

Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are extremely safe and are unlikely to precipitate migraine or dental caries or produce adverse effects from the caffeine content.

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