Is Chocolate Good for You? 7 Health Benefits of Chocolate
It’s almost Easter, so what better reason than to tuck into a family-sized bar of chocolate today? After all it is practically health food…
1. It’s good for your heart
Chocolate contains flavonoids. These healthy compounds protect your heart by increasing blood flow and easing inflammation, all of which help to lower blood pressure.
2. It can help relieve monthly cramps
Maybe one reason you crave chocolate during your period is because it actually contains something you need – magnesium.
This mineral not only helps with those horrible cramps, but it also increases energy – something that can be lacking during that time of the month. Obviously eating whole grains and green veg is a healthier way of getting magnesium into your diet, but it’s definitely not as enjoyable!
3. It can help you lose weight
Believe it or not, chocolate can help you lose weight – as long as you stick to the dark stuff! Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is not only filling, but also lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Therefore eating a couple of squares a day should help you avoid other fattening food. A diet we can all stick to!
4. It can halve your visits to the dentist
Chocolate, and in particular dark chocolate, contains theobromine. This has been shown to harden tooth enamel so compared to other sweet treats, dark chocolate can help lower your risk of need fillings – as long as you also combine your chocolate fix with a good brush of your teeth of course.
5. It can help prevent diabetes
An Italian study found that people who ate dark chocolate for 15 days saw their likelihood for insulin resistance drop by nearly 50%. It’s all thanks to those flavonoids again as they increase nitric oxide production, which in turn helps control insulin sensitivity.
6. It can reduce stress
Do you often find yourself reaching for bar of chocolate after a tough day at work? Well, there’s actually a scientific reason for that impulse. A team of researchers in Switzerland discovered that after two weeks of eating just 40 grams of dark chocolate each day, stress hormones were greatly reduced.
7. It can make you look younger
Eating dark chocolate has been shown to help protect the skin against the effects of UV exposure. UV light inflames the skin, making it look older, but the antioxidants contained in cocoa beans helps reduce this. Dark chocolates also helps increase circulation and improve moisture-retention, all of which reduces wrinkles and helps you look younger.
Scientists have improved the benefits even more, developing an ingredient called Coco-Lycosome, which means just one small chunk of chocolate would be all you’d need to keep wrinkles at bay. We can’t wait until this hits stores!
Just remember though, as with all ‘bad’ foods, it’s best to eat it in moderation. Six small squares are the maximum you should be eating, plus the darker the chocolate the better it is for you!