Of all the comfort food available in the market, chocolate is probably the one that has the worst reputation. Just mention the word ‘chocolate’ and people will run for the hills. Many people associate chocolates with thick hips, pimples, and diabetes, just to name a few.
However, recent studies conducted in various top universities all around the world show that chocolates are not all bad. In fact, consuming these delectable morsels (in moderation of course) may actually be good for the body! These are some of the many reasons why you shouldn’t avoid chocolate:
It is Good for the Heart and the Brain
Studies in Germany, Sweden and Australia show that having one or two servings of dark chocolate every week can cut down the risk of heart failure by as much as a third! The reason is that dark chocolate is high in Flavonoids, which are antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.
Flavanoids also have the capacity to boost blood flow to key parts of the brain for up to 3 hours, which is a great way to achieve alertness and increase productivity, albeit a short period of time. The long term effect of consuming moderate quantities of dark chocolate is more promising. Resarchers from Oxford and Norway discovered that those who had a flavanol-rich diet (dark chocolate, wine, tea) scored higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.
It Aids in Weight Loss and Prevents Diabetes
You got that right! Researchers from discovered that dark chocolate is more filling than lighter-colored varieties. A small piece of dark chocolate can give you a feeling of satiety which will, in turn reduce your cravings for sweet, salty and fatty food items.
In addition to that, a study in Italy showed that the potential for insulin resistance of the group that ate a candy bar’s worth of dark chocolate a day for 15 days drop by nearly half! This is attributed to the presence of Flavanoids that increase nitric oxide production which helps control insulin sensitivity.
So if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t feel too guilty about having a bit of chocolate after a session on the treadmill.
It Makes Everyone Happy!
It’s already a known fact that eating chocolates can give you a feeling of immense satisfaction and bliss, but did you know that women who ate a chocolate a day while they were pregnant were better able to cope and handle stress than those who avoided it? Furthermore, a study in Finland showed that babies who have a bit of dark chocolate were happier and tended to smile more than those who don’t.
Researchers have also conformed that consuming an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks helps reduce stress hormone levels. Now there’s another good reason to have some chocolate after a particularly hard day at work.
It Quiets Coughs and Gives Diarrhea Relief
Chocolate contains theobromine, and studies show that theobromine is just as effective in quieting pesky coughs as the well known pharmaceutical drug, codeine. It’s probably more effective because you get cough relief without feeling sleepy or dull – common side effects of codeine.
Chocolate can also help those suffering from Diarrhea. Scientists have found that the Flavanoids in dark chocolate bind to a protein in the body that regulates fluid secretion in the small intestine – thus helping to stop the ‘thing’ that needs to be stopped.
It’s Great Sun Protection
No joke! Chocolate can provide some form of sun protection! Researchers in London have discovered that, after 3 months of eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, the skin of their test subjects took twice as long to turn red as compared to those who ate low-flavanol chocolates.
Now that you know the health benefits of Chocolates, you don’t have to feel too guilty about having that little bit every now and then. Enjoy and savor this delectable treat – but always in moderation. Remember that chocolates, even the dark varieties, are not made up entirely of Flavanoids. In most cases, chocolate is mixed with milk, sugar, saturated fats, liqueur, nuts and fruit – and these would offset all these health benefits.
So go ahead and start to eat your way to good health. Have some chocolate.