Chocolate is almost everyone’s guilty pleasure. The good news here is, it's not required to be guilty for your love for chocolates and when consumed in moderation, chocolates can actually be beneficial for health. Though chocolate can harm dental health, its moderate consumption and proper dental care after that, does no harm to anyone. When we say benefits of chocolate, we are talking about dark chocolate, which contains 70 percent or more cocoa content. Experts have already found that chocolate is good for the heart, circulation and brain, and it has been suggested that it may be beneficial in fighting major health challenges such as autism, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even ageing in general.
Here are eight scientifically established health benefits of good chocolate.
- It's Good For The heart And Blood Circulation
A recent study found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels - both common causes of artery clogging. A recent study carried out in Norfolk in 2015 looked at chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. It reported people who ate the equivalent of two chocolate bars a day had a slightly lower risk of stroke than people who never or rarely eat chocolate.
- It Can Help You Lose Weight
It sounds like an oxymoron, but yes, Chocolate can help you lose weight. Neuroscience says that a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal satiates the appetite and thus cuts the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking, hence keeping a check on the consumption of junk.
- Chocolate Is Good For The Brain
Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion. Researchers also discovered that a compound in dark chocolate, called epicatechin (a flavonoid), may protect your brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage.5 A stroke is similar to a heart attack, but occurs when the blood supply to your brain becomes blocked or reduced, as opposed to blocking the blood supply to your heart.
- Chocolate Makes You Feel Better
We all have this urge to pamper ourselves with chocolate when we are upset. Well, there is a scientific reason behind it. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
- It's Good For Nursing Mothers & Babies
A Finnish study found that chocolate, reduced stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.
- It's Good For Your Skin & Hair
The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage and UV rays. Also, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which work wonders for the skin. Dark chocolate makes an excellent skin-detoxifier in combination with caffeine. It sloughs off the dead skin cells and allows the newly exposed, fresh skin to breathe freely. Also, it helps in promoting blood circulation in the scalp which leads to increased growth of healthy, lustrous locks. Thanks to being a circulation-booster, it is also found to be very effective in reducing hair loss.
- It Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- It Is Mineral Rich
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 percent or more) chocolate provides 67 percent of the RDA of iron.
So now that you no longer need to hold back your love for chocolates, click here to know more about the amazing health benefits of chocolates.