Having chocolate cravings? Now you can justify satisfying your palate with a healthful excuse – chocolate is good for you in more ways than one. From giving you an orgasm-like high to keeping your heart healthy; there’s so much of good a bite or two of dark chocolate can do. Let’s explore the ten top reasons to include this ambrosia into your daily diet.
1. A healthier, happier heart
The flavonoids in chocolate are n anti-oxidant in nature and work from the inside out – keeping your body and its mechanisms younger, longer. It prevents the oxidation of LDL, aka the bad cholesterol, thus reducing any artery build-up and keeping the blood pressure in check. This in turn keeps away any stress from your heart and reduces the risk of cardiac events.
2. Strokes? No thank you!
According to a Swedish study, men who ate more than two bars of chocolate in a week (not a day) had a 20% reduced risk of having a stroke. Why? Well, again, chocolate contains flavonoids which are anti-oxidant in nature. Anti-oxidants reduce bad cholesterol which in turn reduces the risk of strokes and blood clots.
3. May fight diabetes
While we are not advising diabetics to gorge on chocolates, a small Italian study in 2005 did point to the relation between dark chocolate and insulin sensitivity. Research is on, so keep those fingers crossed!
4. Keeps you full, and satisfied
A bar of dark chocolate contains 11gm of fiber which is near about one third of our daily requirement. So if you crave some chocolate – it’s better to have some as its likely to keep you full for longer rather than snacking on other high calorie and nutritionally empty things first.
5. Keeps that blood zinging
Compounds in chocolate act like low-dose aspirin; they keep the blood thin and keep away any clot formation thus improving blood flow and keeping the blood pressure in check. Improved blood flow means a healthier you.
6. Get high on happy hormones
Eating chocolate during times of stress and anxiety could trigger the release of endorphins – the same happy hormones that are released in the body after a tiring bout of exercise and good sex. While chocolate is no substitute to the latter two – having your brain give out a feel-good message definitely spreads the joy.
7. Slows down skin ageing
Chocolate contains anti-oxidants – the same ones that are needed to prevent or at least slow down skin ageing and combat skin-related sun damage. While eating chocolate will not help you skip the sunscreen – it will help in your skin in looking and being younger.
8. A substitute to cough syrup?
An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine came into limelight in 2010 as it was effective in suppressing coughs and considered safe for children and teenagers as opposed to codeine-based cough syrups. The trials are on and hopefully soon, we’ll have a safe and efficacious cough remedy that doesn’t put us to sleep!
9. May be good for your eyes too
The improved blood flow (point no 5) includes the retina which could improve vision in general. Not only that, since eating chocolate improves brain activity (look below), it helps in object recognition in the dark too – thus aiding vision even in hard-to-see conditions.
10. Is brain food!
In another UK study, it was found that flavonoids improve brain activity on the whole. So if you are vying for the Nobel prize, eating chocolate regularly might just increase your chances of winning!
See also: Eating chocolate can make you smarter
So the good news is that eating chocolate is indeed good for you. The bad news, only dark chocolate with over 60-70% cocoa works to these health benefits. The rest only increase your waistline, not the brain cells!