We are always looking for reasons to eat more chocolate. When consumed in the right amounts, chocolate can induce a happiness that only love can bring about. Yes, we all have a small but sure place in our hearts dedicated to this lovely creation – one of Man’s best inventions, really. While there are a few amongst us who can’t stand chocolate, most of us love this sweet treat as a delicious cake, mousse, or anything really. Did you know though, that this love we have for chocolate could actually benefit us? New research has discovered that a type of antioxidant prevalent in Chocolate called flavonols can actually be good for mind, body and soul!
1 – Stress Control
Most of us need a little something sweet only when the stress-o-meter shifts into high gear. Then, we berate ourselves over it. Here’s why you shouldn’t: Chocolate, especially the dark variety, may actually be helping you bar those harmful stress inducing hormones during high pressure situations. So this makes the last-minute chocolate cravings almost natural – your body’s way of telling you it is stressed and needs a little anti-depressant in the form is luscious dark chocolate. Not a fan of dark chocolate? Worry not – milk chocolate has this effect too, although a lot milder.
2- Better Focus
Hot cocoa apparently does wonders for the mind – says a recent study from Harvard. By drinking this chocolate emulsion on a daily basis, your mind is better able to focus on regular tasks that you do everyday and become sharper as well – no more slipping between the cracks! Especially best for the aging, hot cocoa may help to keep the brain healthy and alive for an extended period of time and fight memory loss brought about by cognitive changes in adults over 60.
3 – Lower Blood Pressure
Chocolate (especially the minimum 70% Cocoa Solids one that purists are obsessed with) actually helps to relax your arteries, hence improving blood pressure. As we age (as soon as in our 20s) our arteries tend to collect fatty deposits and harden. What the chocolate does is to loosen up these stiff arteries and allow the blood to flow to the heart and back again a lot easily – all this with a daily dosage of chocolate!
4 – Loose Weight (yes, you read that correctly)
Researchers in the US have discovered that dark chocolate actually helps reduce cravings for sweet or fatty foods. When consumed, it can trigger a feeling of fullness to the mind, hence making you feel that you don’t need to eat anything else to be full. Perfect reason to include dark chocolate into your diet, if you ask us.
5 – Control Diabetes (yup, reading this one correctly, too!)
Dark Chocolate contains flavonols, as mentioned above, that help with the absorption of insulin. We don’t want to get into the technical details, but what we do know is that you must consume the dark variety for this – the milky ones are not your friend.
6 – Reduces stroke
More than 20k people surveyed have shown that eating a significant amount of chocolate daily helps reduce cholesterol and the risk of stroke. Compared to those who don’t consume a minimum of 100g of chocolate a day, those who did have a 25% of avoiding death due to heart or cardiovascular disease. The disclaimer for this study is that they don’t quite endorse chocolate as a health food, but hey – it’s for the heart, people.
7 – Mineral Rich
While most places may label chocolate as a ‘discretionary’ food, it does contain traces of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and Vitamins B and E. If you’re taking pure dark chocolate, you can benefit from this the most. Milk and other chocolate have plenty of added sugar, thus present a diluted amount of the minerals.
8 – Its great food for your skin
Yes, I can hear you singing the pimple song. But hear me out – chocolate is rich in flavanols which are great for your skin, as these antioxidants boost your skin health. Eating too much of chocolate though (more than the recommended daily dose of 50 to 100g) will lead to a pimply complexion – Asians will explain this as your body being simply too heaty.
9 – Good for Moms-to-be
Aside from reducing pain, chocolate can also help reduce pregnancy complications. Dark chocolates contains the mineral theobromine which may help reduce preclampsia, noted for raising blood pressure in pregnant women. Eating chocolate (the dark sort) puts moms-to-be in lesser risk of this.
10 – Its brain food
Finally! Now there’s enough research to proof that chocolate is in fact brain food (can we classify this as a superfood yet?). Chocolate with high cocoa content has been proven to enhance cognitive function and reduce dementia – no more forgetting things thanks to chocolate.