“People say that you cannot buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate and that is kind of the same thing.”
We have been feeling guilty about chocolate since our teen years when we were told it would give us pimples.
But it is time to change things!
Let us put our guilt down and pick up some chocolate instead. And to make this easy I am going to give you 7 fantastic reasons why chocolate is good for you.
Also Read: New pill makes fart smell like chocolate
If we enjoy our men and coffee to be tall, dark and handsome, we at least need to apply some of these qualities to our chocolate.
The darker our chocolate the better!
- Dark Chocolate is Bursting with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are the big hype at the moment. Everyone wants more of them to stay looking youthful for longer and for their cancer fighting properties.
Our bodies are experiencing oxidative stress the whole time and one of the best ways to put a fighting army together is by eating chocolate. (I don’t mind fighting this war)
Polyphenols, flavanols and catechins are antioxidants that can be found in chocolate. These antioxidants are found in high amounts in chocolate and can boost our health.
It has been found that by eating dark chocolate that you increase your total antioxidant capacity and your blood levels of epicatechin. (Whatever this means – it sounds impressive hey!)
- Dark Chocolate Helps with Blood Sugar
High blood sugar is one of the biggest problems this planet is facing. Not that chocolate will cure it, but it might provide some benefits. (No bingeing on chocolate now)
One of the main reasons why people develop high sugar is due to their cells becoming insulin resistant. This means that your body can pump out as much insulin as it would like, but the cells will not react to it and take up the sugar present in your blood.
And where does chocolate come into this equation?
Well chocolate actually helps increase insulin sensitivity. This means your cells will start reacting (and taking up sugar) when insulin is released.
- Dark Chocolate keeps your Heart Healthy
Remember that strange word “epicatechin”, which I mentioned earlier. Well it is actually a special flavonoid in chocolate and it helps with cardiovascular health.
It has been found that epicatechin works via an antithrombotic mechanism. Ok ok, I won’t leave you hanging with what this means…
It means that it helps to keep the blood thin and running smoothly. It is not a good thing if your blood gets all clumpy and gluey.
It has a similar effect to the blood thinning properties of aspirin.
Some observational studies are showing that chocolate might be beneficial when it comes to calcified plaque. But more studies need to be done on this.
What they are staying this that, by eating chocolate 2 or more times a week it decreases your calcified plaque by 32%. And having it more than 5 times a week could decrease your risk of heart disease by 57%. (Remember dark chocolate)
1. Dark Chocolate keeps Blood Pressure Down
Ok this is going to get a bit medical, but bear with me.
A meta-analysis was done in 2012 looking at randomized trials of improving blood pressure through the consumption of chocolate. And here is what they found;
It showed a reduction in diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.6mmHg and it also decreased mean arterial pressure on an average of 1.64mmHg. Not too shabby.
All in all this shows us that chocolate can bring down our blood pressure.
Why is that?
Also Read: Dark chocolate may ease poor blood
Well researchers are looking at two reasons.
The first one is that chocolate contains flavanols which stimulates the release of nitric oxide. This nitric oxide helps the arteries to dilate and relax. And this decreases the pressure in the arteries.
The next reason is that chocolate is high in magnesium. The increase in magnesium intake can inhibit smooth vascular muscle contractions, once again decreasing the pressure.
2. Dark Chocolate is High in Iron and Magnesium
We all know how important iron is for you but do you know how important magnesium is for you?
Well luckily we find them both in chocolate.
A huge amount of iron is needed by our blood. It is present in our haemoglobin which is used to transport oxygen all over our body.
Large amounts of iron can normally be found in products such as meat and eggs, but here is another delicious one to add to the list.
As I pointed out above, magnesium helps to reduce blood pressure. And that is not the only important benefit of magnesium. It also helps with keeping our bones in good health and the rhythmic beating of our hearts.
3. Dark Chocolate Improves your Cholesterol
And just to support the heart health claim, the study showed a slight improvement in cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 0.07mmol/L and slightly increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) by 0.03mmol/L.
This won’t get you off the statins, but it is good to know that chocolate is not bad for your cholesterol.
These beneficial results are thought to be linked to the high antioxidant count in cocoa.
4. And last but not least… it makes us beautiful and bright
In very small studies it has been shown that dark chocolate can help protect your skin against UVB damage. (But don’t rely completely on chocolate – still slap on your sunscreen)
It showed that people who consumed chocolate for 12 weeks prior to this sun exposure where able to tolerate more sun before their skin turned red.
If you have the beauty, you now want the brains.
And chocolate can help with that too!
Chocolate can help increase blood flow to the brain. It has also been shown that there have been speech improvements in patients who consumed chocolate and had metal impairments.
Researchers are trying to explain this by looking at the caffeine, theodromine and flavanols in cocoa itself.
And that is all from me today. I hope I have shed some light on the benefits of chocolate and how it can improve your life.
P.S. A piece of dark chocolate a day will keep the doctor away!
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