Ten reasons to eat chocolate this Easter
Thursday 13 April 2017
The shops are bursting with chocolate once again this Easter. We all know chocolate is a fabulous comfort food, a quick fix in times of stress, a reliable source of consolation when life is tough and a mood enhancer when things calm down. But how healthy is it for us?
Medically, it has been proven that dark chocolate, with a cocoa percentage of around seventy per cent or more, is good for our health. Experts have already found that chocolate is good for the heart, circulation and the brain. It has been suggested that it may be beneficial in major heath challenges such as autism, obesity and diabetes. Recent research suggests that eating chocolate could help keep your brain function into old age.
Here are ten scientifically established health benefits of dark chocolate:
It is good for the heart and circulation
A study by The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels which are both common causes of artery clogging.
It reduces the risk of a stroke
Researchers in Finland (www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770037) have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke by 17 per cent average in the group of men they tested.
It is mineral rich
Dark chocolate is full of beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium. A 100g bar of dark (70 per cent or more) chocolate provides 67 per cent of the recommended daily intake of iron so says Share Care.
It reduces cholesterol
According to Authority Nutrition, consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL, and raise levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. This potentially lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is good for your skin
The flavonols in dark chocolate is good for the skin and may even protect it from ultraviolet (UV) damage from the sun.
It can help you lose weight
Chocolate, despite its calories, can actually help you lose weight. Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say ‘I’m full’, therefore cutting down the amount of food you subsequently eat. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking in between meals.
It is good for mothers and babies
A Finnish study (www.newscientist.com/article/dn4854-chocolate-in-pregnancy-keeps-baby-happy) found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than those of non-chocolate-eating parents.
It may prevent diabetes
You wouldn’t think a food rich in sugar would help prevent cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes (www.medscape.com/viewarticle/764996)
Chocolate is good for the brain
Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people and the anti-inflamatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found to be beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201410/dark-chocolate-good-your-brain)
Chocolate makes you feel better
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.
So, enjoy some dark chocolate this Easter and let your health reap the benefits!