Chocolate has been viewed as a snack, used as part of a gift offering and in the lyrics of songs such as the 1999 hit “sweet like chocolate” from British garage group Shanks & Bigfoot.
Away from the aesthetics, chocolate is good for you, it truly is. Other than being a comfort food, medical reports and research show that consuming amounts of chocolate is actually beneficial to your health.
Despite the many benefits of chocolate, you shouldn’t go out there and take it in large amounts, remember it has plenty of calories and one can easily over indulge. You would also need to be aware that not all chocolate on the market is healthy. That notwithstanding here are the benefits;
Lifting your mood
Phenylethylamine is a chemical generated by the brain whenever you’re experience moments of joy and happiness. The same chemical is contained in chocolate and triggers the brain to release those endorphins that uplift your mood.
Aids circulation of blood
Recent research reveals that dark chocolate not only stops white blood cells from sticking to blood vessels but also gives flexibility to arteries thus ensuring circulation of blood. This prevents clogging of the arteries and plays a big role in ensuring a healthy heart.
Cuts down the risk of getting a stroke
Multiple research findings have all drawn up similar conclusions – that eating small amounts of chocolate can lower the risks of stroke.
Plays a role in preventing diabetes
Taking dark chocolate in moderate amounts has been proven to delay or even prevent diabetes.
Rich in minerals
Did you know that dark chocolate has been found to contain minerals such as selenium, potassium and zinc are which are vital for the body’s immune system? Well, now you know.
Good for the brain and skin too
Dark chocolate possesses anti-inflammatory qualities that are vital in managing and treating brain injuries such as concussion. It also contains flavanols which are widely reputed to reduce memory loss in elderly people. These flavanols also help in protecting the skin against damage from the sun.
Stress reliever for expectant mothers
A study by the University of Helsinki’s Katri Raikkonen revealed that chocolate reduced stress levels of expectant mothers and that their babies eventually smiled more than those whose mothers didn’t eat chocolate.
How do you ensure the chocolate you are eating is healthy?
Not all chocolate is healthy.
There are three types of chocolate which are dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest choice as it contains 50-90 percent cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate which is the second healthiest type contains 10-50 percent cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar while white chocolate does not have any cocoa solids but contains only cocoa butter, milk and sugar.
Cocoa solids are health-boosting minerals and fiber that activate cells and boost metabolism, improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They are also high in magnesium and copper. Cocoa Solids are mostly found in cocoa powder.
Cocoa solids also contain flavonoids which are phytonutrients mostly found in all fruits and vegetables. Dark chocolate also contains 20-30 percent more flavanols which make it the healthiest choice between milk and white chocolate.
To ensure that you enjoy all the benefits that come with chocolate, ensure that you read nutrition labels and get chocolate that has a minimum of 70% cocoa to get the most amount of flavanols. Also ensure that you indulge sparingly. A sensible amount would be a 30gram piece per day.
Go on now, indulge in some chocolatey goodness for yourself!