Everybody loves chocolate, right? There is nothing better to put you in a better mood than a large dreamy chocolate bar or an oversized slice of double chocolate cake.
So is chocolate good for you, or is that just wishful thinking? Well recent studies have proven that chocolate does indeed have a range of health benefits; however that doesn’t mean you can run out and munch down a kilo of chocolate. As with almost anything in life moderation is key, and you will not be doing yourself any favors by indulging on huge amounts of this dark, sweet treat.
Chocolate does have some health benefiting properties, read on so you can discover the benefits and the drawbacks of this dark sweet stuff.
Is Chocolate Good for You?
I’m sure you are all hanging on the edge of your seat wanting to know if chocolate is good for you or not. So I will not keep you in suspense any longer, here are some of the real known benefits that chocolate can provide.
Make You Smarter
A study carried out in Britain discovered that people who drank a cup of cocoa regularly were actually better at doing mental math equations. The Flavonols (a class of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate) found in chocolate acts as an effective brain boosting agent.
So for those of you study or have exams it might be a good idea to stock up on chocolate before you sit your exam.
Fight Heart Attacks
Other studies show that eating chocolate helps to prevent blood clots, when blood form clots the risk of heart attacks is much higher. So by eating healthy amounts of chocolate will help to reduce blood clots which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks.
Decreases Risk of Stroke
Yet another study done by a Swedish research team has found that if you are eating more than 45 grams of chocolate per week, which is roughly two full bars, there was a 20% decrease in stoke among women.
The Flavonoids present inside of the chocolate help to reduce cholesterol from your arteries, which recues your stroke risk.
Improve Skin Health
It seems that eating too much chocolate can cause acne is just an old wife’s tale, because chocolate is actually good for your skin! well dark chocolate that is. According to a team of German scientists, the Flavonoids found in dark chocolate helps to protect your skin from harmful UV rays from the sun.
Enhance Circulation to the Brain
In 2008 a Harvard scientist forced chocolate down test subjects for two weeks. After two weeks of force feeding researchers found that the participants experienced increased blood flow to their brains.
Prevent Blood Inflammation
If you munch on just one dark chocolate bar per week your risk of heart disease will decrease. A 2008 study found that around 6.7 grams of good quality dark chocolate per day helps to keep blood inflammation proteins at bay.
Feed Beneficial Bacteria
The Scientific American published an article covering the benefits they had found of dark chocolate and the bacteria living inside of your intestines (gut). The fiber and antioxidants found inside cocoa become fermented by the bacteria in your gut, which in-turn releases probiotic compounds that fuels and feeds the body’s intestinal flora.
Probiotics are great for improved digestion, immunity, as well as general overall health.
Reduce Cancer Risk
Any good quality chocolate will contain nutrients called pentamer or pentameric procyanidin, these compounds help to disrupt the cancer cells’ ability to multiply and spread. So eating chocolate could be a proactive way to help prevent and reduce your cancer risk.
A study out of Italy discovered that by eating chocolate help to increase insulin sensitivity, which in-turn reduces your risk of diabetes significantly.
Increase Life Expectancy
Who says that eating too much chocolate is going to do you harm? Jeanne Louise Calment lived to the age of 122 and she ate 2 ½ pounds of dark chocolate each week. Recent studies have shown that eating chocolate can add up to two years onto a healthy person’s life expectancy, so if you want to live longer eat chocolate!
Improve Brain Function
Dark chocolate can help protect your brain from decay as well as help to reduce any damage caused by strokes. The compound called Epicatechin found in chocolate significantly reduced the brain damage in mice who had suffered strokes. And another group of researchers also found that the same compound (Epicatechin) improved mice’s memories.
Forget about those disgusting tasting cough medicines, chocolate seems to do the trick on your cough. Theobromine found in chocolate can help to reduce the activity of the Vagus nerve which is part of the human brain that triggers coughing fits.
Researchers have also begun testing new cough medicine formulas that contain theobromine as alternatives to addictive codeine which commonly used today, in most shop brought cough medicines.
So there you have it! You don’t have to feel guilty next time you open up a large bar of chocolate, and if anyone gives you a hard time just direct them to this article or share to your friends with the buttons below. You could of course get some of the benefits from cocoa by taking supplements along with a healthy meal plan.