Chocolate is additive and can please everyone from those with a slight to major sweet tooth. Luckily we can shelf our guilt as chocolate is actually really good for your health. You just need to make sure that you choose the right type so that you can benefit from the exceptional effects of cacao. A few squares can do your body a great favour if you choose to eat dark chocolate and don’t eat too much. The next time that you slip your hand into your bag and pull our some dark chocolate don’t be embarrassed! You’ll discover a few great excuses (good reasons!) to break off a couple of squares of chocolate if you read on!
1) It is an extraordinary antioxidant
Antioxidants help your body to fight free radicals that we come in contact with everyday. They are produced when we breathe, feel stressed, are exposed to pollution and have a bad diet. It is very important to take care as they can cause harmful oxidation to our body. When they accumulate, they encourage the accelerated aging of cells. In fact it is a bit like your body is rusting! There are a few age-related illnesses and conditions that are linked to free radicals like cancer, wrinkles and coronary thrombosis. Chocolate can help to combat these conditions or illnesses thanks to its’s antioxidant powers which are 4 to 5 times stronger than black tea and 2 to 3 times stronger than green tea. Chocolate is also a gold mine of essential minerals like copper, zinc and magnesium as well as cell protecting flavanoids.
2) It is good for our mental well-being
Have you already wondered why chocolate is addictive? Well it is in fact a natural antidepressant! The amnio acids that are found in the chocolate (tryptophan) are transformed and pass serotonin around the body. Serotonin creates are feeling of well-being and relaxation which can effect your mood and your sleep. What is more eating chocolate encourages the secretion of the happiness hormone (endorphins). If the fact it is good for your moral is not enough, it is also good at combating stress and tiredness. A 100 g bar of dark chocolate contains 112 mg of magnesium in comparison to 60 mg for milk chocolate. Magnesium can help to reduce anxiety and plasmatic cortisol levels in the blood. Lastly researchers in Syracuse University have concluded that this food product encourages better intellectual performances and especially boost your concentration.
3) ….but also for our body!
Firstly chocolate is very good for bowel movements and reduces the risk of constipation. In fact a 100 g bar of 70% dark chocolate contains 15 g of fibre. Moreover, chocolate also improves your immunity by reinforcing the intestinal mucus with polyphenols. The flavonoids found in chocolate are also great reinforcements against bad cholesterol which can help to keep your cardiovascular system in a good condition. These flavonoids encourage the production of good cholesterol to lower the bad cholesterol levels. Your arteries will also be kept in check by vitamin B3 which reduces blood clots.
Of course all chocolate is high in calories (even dark chocolate)! So you should benefit from the advantages of chocolate but don’t overdo it. For example two squares of chocolate per day can help to reduce blood pressure according to a German study published in a JAMA review! Due to it’s high levels of magnesium dark chocolate can also help to combat strokes, myocardial infarctions, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, etc.
Little bonus: It protects pregnant women!
The University of Yale published a study in the Epidemiology journal about the benefits of chocolate for pregnant women. They said that chocolate’s benefits on artery hypertension could apparently reduce the risk of developing a pre-eclampsia by at least 69% thanks to the quantity of theobromine
All this makes your want to crack open a good bar of chocolate! Mmmm …