Ever needed an excuse to indulge your chocolate cravings? Here are six. Forget what you have been told about chocolate – it is not the menace it is often painted to be. In fact, quality dark chocolate is packed full of benefits that will boost your wellbeing and immunity. Just make sure you opt for the darker varieties though; the darker the chocolate, the wider the health benefits. Here are five reasons chocolate is good for you and you should feel free to indulge.
Makes you happy
Yes, that’s right! Chocolate = happiness. But we knew that already! According to research, eating 40g of dark chocolate every day helps women reduce their stress hormone (cortisol) levels and anxiety. This is because dark chocolate contains the endorphin-releasing chemical phenylethylamine which sends happy signals to the brain making us feel happier. This also helps reduce stress related comfort eating that can lead to weight gain.
Boosts your immunity
Produced from the seeds of the cocoa tree, chocolate is loaded with antioxidants; in fact quality dark chocolate packs more antioxidants than blueberries and acai berries. Known as “free radical scavengers”, antioxidants fight the free radicals that damage and destroy our cells.
Regulates blood sugar
Flavonoids in dark chocolate reduce insulin resistance while healthy fats slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. According to a study, people who ate 40g of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days decreased their insulin resistance potential by nearly 50%. This prevents an insulin spike (aka sugar rush), which shuts down the body’s fat-burning mechanism, shuttles sugar to fat cells and makes you hungry again very quickly.
Lowers blood pressure
Studies have shown that dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure and improve blood blood flood to the heart and brain, in turn improving cognitive function and reducing risk of stroke.
Give you strong nails and glossy hair
Dark chocolate is a great source of sulphur which helps strengthen nails and nurture hair, giving you glossy locks. They’ll all want what you’re having!
Keeps you ticking
Literally! Oleic acid, present in the cocoa butter, the main source of fat in chocolate, is a natural monounsaturated fatty acid. Also found in many plant sources and animal products, this omega-9 fatty acid is credited for lowering bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol – queue a myriad of cardiovascular benefits to keep your heart ticking.