10 Surprising Health Benefits of Chocolate You Didn’t Know About
July 7, 2023
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Not only is chocolate a delicious treat, but it also has some surprising health benefits.
From improving your mood to reducing your risk of heart disease, here are 10 reasons to indulge in chocolate on World Chocolate Day (and every other day)!
Did you know that eating chocolate can actually make you feel happier?
Chocolate contains compounds (such as phenylethylamine and serotonin) that stimulate the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in your brain. It also contains magnesium, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
So next time you’re feeling down, reach for a (moderate) piece of chocolate (preferably dark chocolate) to boost your mood.
Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids.
These compounds can help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can harm cells and contribute to ageing and disease.
Eating chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids can provide a significant amount of flavonoids. It may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
In addition to its antioxidant properties, chocolate has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and so boost mood by increasing the production of feel-good chemicals in the brain.
However, it’s important to remember that chocolate is still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Studies have shown that consuming chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can positively affect heart health.
The flavonoids in chocolate can help improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in the body.
In fact, one study found that eating chocolate at least twice a week was associated with a lower risk of heart disease compared to those who ate chocolate less frequently.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is also high in calories and sugar.
The flavonoids in chocolate are also found in fruits and vegetables. They have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which may help reduce the risk of blood clots (that can lead to heart attacks and strokes).
Remember, it’s important to choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids, as this type of chocolate contains more flavonoids and less sugar than milk chocolate. So go ahead and enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate guilt-free, knowing that it may actually be good for your heart.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, two compounds that can improve brain function and cognitive performance.
These compounds can increase blood flow to the brain, which can improve focus, concentration, memory and attention span. They also stimulate the production of new neurons and improve brain plasticity.
Additionally, chocolate contains flavonoids that can protect the brain from damage and improve overall brain health.
So, the next time you need a brain boost, reach for a piece of dark chocolate – it’s a guilt-free way to indulge in a sweet treat while also improving your cognitive abilities.
Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. This is because dark chocolate flavanols can stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide helps to relax the blood vessels, which can lead to lower blood pressure.
However, it’s important to note that not all chocolate is created equal – the higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the more flavanols it will contain. So, opt for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the most health benefits.
Some studies suggest that consuming dark chocolate in moderation may enhance insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For ladies with PCOS, small portions of dark chocolate may also help improve your insulin sensitivity.
The antioxidants in chocolate can protect the skin against damage from UV radiation, improve hydration and skin texture, and promote a youthful appearance.
They may also help reduce the risk of skin conditions like acne.
The flavanols in dark chocolate have been shown to enhance oxygen availability during exercise.
This improves blood flow to your muscles and increases the production of energy-rich molecules, potentially boosting athletic performance.
Chocolate contains essential minerals such as magnesium, copper, and iron.
These minerals contribute to various bodily functions, including energy production, red blood cell formation, and the maintenance of strong bones and teeth.
You were not expecting this? But eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate (cocoa content 70% and above), can help satisfy your sweet tooth and reduce binge eating of unhealthy junk food. Remember, this applies to dark chocolate, and moderation is key.
Excessive intake of chocolate, especially varieties with high sugar and fat content, can lead to weight gain and other health issues.
As we celebrate World Chocolate Day, it’s important to remember that chocolate isn’t just a delicious treat but has some surprising health benefits.
For instance, in addition to its delicious taste, dark chocolate has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
This is because it contains flavanols, which can stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax the blood vessels, which can lead to lower blood pressure.
However, choosing the right kind of chocolate is important – opt for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the most health benefits.
So World Chocolate Day (or not), indulge in some dark chocolate guilt-free on this special day and enjoy its potential health benefits!
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
Please get in touch with a health practitioner to discuss your condition, or reach us directly here.
Image Credits: Canva
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