10 Interesting Health Benefits of Chocolate
For many of us, chocolate is a guilty pleasure that we try to eat in very small amounts, but it could, in fact, be good for you. Yes -you read that right.
As chocolate is made from cocoa, it has some amazing health benefits you may never have known about. So as far as we’re concerned, eating your favourite chocolate on a more regular basis is a win-win situation.
Although we can’t exactly condone stuffing your face with all the chocolate bars in your cupboard, it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t be afraid of having a sweet treat every now and again to satisfy your cravings.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at just some of the health benefits of chocolate:
1. Good for the heart and circulation
Normally, the only way of preventing blood clots would be to take aspirin medication, however, a study carried out in 2014 discovered that chocolate could achieve a similar effect.
Dark chocolate, in particular, keeps the arteries healthy and prevents white blood cells from attaching to the cell walls. As a result, you’re less likely to experience clogs and potentially heart attacks later down the line.
2. Reduces risk of stroke
A study carried out in Finland discovered that eating chocolate on a daily basis could, in fact, lower your risk of stroke by a whopping 17%; while another study in 2015 found that eating up to 100 grams of chocolate each day may also be linked to a decreased risk of stroke.
3. Foetal growth development
It’s always best to get the advice of a medical professional when it comes to your health and wellbeing while pregnant, however one study from the Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta discovered that eating 30 grams of chocolate each day could improve the growth and development of your unborn child.
This may be down to the fact that chocolate has the ability to lower stress levels dramatically, which will then go on to have an impact on the foetus’ health. A second study revealed that babies born to mothers who ate chocolate regularly were happier in themselves than the children of those who stayed off the chocs.
4. Helps you lose weight
A study carried out by neurologist Will Clower, discovered that eating a little bit of chocolate each day could, in fact, help you lose weight – yes, really.
Apparently, putting a piece of chocolate on the tongue around 15 minutes before eating a meal sends signals to the brain that you’re ‘not hungry’, which causes you to eat less.
Clever huh? You’ll have to give that one a try.
5. Helps brain function
As dark chocolate is rich in cocoa flavanols, it has been proven to have a major impact on the brain when it comes to treating injuries, as well as improving the memory of elderly people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
6. Reduces sunburn
A London-based study discovered that women who regularly ate dark chocolate were able to endure UV rays for a long period without burning. This is due to the fact that the high concentration of flavanols within the cocoa is thought to protect the skin. While there may be some truth in the matter, we wouldn’t recommend venturing out into the hot sun without high factor sunscreen. It’s always best to be on the safe side!
7. Puts you in a better mood
If there’s one thing known about chocolate universally, it’s that it can make you feel better when you’ve had a bad day – and that isn’t just a coincidence. A study carried out in Australia discovered that the high levels of cocoa polyphenols in chocolate directly impacts our mood which makes us feel calmer and happier after consumption.
8. Helps you work out
If you’re a regular gym-goer, you may be interested to know that chocolate could give you the boost you need to get through some of your most challenging workout sessions.
One of the flavanols within chocolate, known as epicatechin, is believed to make you feel more energised and potentially achieve your best workout result. However, do be aware that sticking to small amounts of chocolate before training would be advised as you don’t want to reverse your hard work by piling on the pounds!
9. Boosts endorphins
Do know that feeling of when you’re on a sudden high? This is the moment your body releases endorphins in the brain, which makes you feel a sense of excitement, energy or overwhelming love. The flavanols within cocoa cause natural endorphin production, which lowers our stress and anxiety levels and helps combat depression.
10. Helps with diabetes
If you were to be surprised by any of the pointers, this one has probably topped it. It’s usually the case that those with diabetes are told to steer well clear of chocolate, however, a study carried out at the University of L’Aquila found that eating a small amount of chocolate each day could enhance insulin function. If you are a diagnosed diabetic, it would always be best to chat with your doctor when it comes to your daily diet.