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Chocolate is officially good for you, well, in moderation of course. And it’s the high quality, low sugar, high cocoa content dark chocolate that we’re talking about, not the type of milk chocolate you find on a Snickers bar. So, in honor of next week’s National Chocolate Day, we’re running down the TEN reasons why chocolate is good for your health!
We knew that already, but it’s good to have scientific proof to back it up! Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, one of the key active ingredients of our weight loss supplement Phen Caps. As well as being an appetite suppressant, phenylethylamine is the chemical that your brain releases when you’re falling in love, releasing feelings of pleasure and happiness.
Melting a small square of high-cocoa (at least 70%) content chocolate on your tongue around 20 minutes before a meal has been found to trigger a release of appetite-suppressing hormones. These hormones send messages to your brain to indicate that you’re full, helping you to eat less. Finishing your meal the same way can also help to keep you from snacking later.
In a study conducted in Berlin, it was found that eating 1.5oz of dark chocolate daily reduced stress levels in highly stressed people. These daily small amounts of chocolate were also found to partially correct stress-related biochemical imbalances. This was thought to be because of the valeric acid chocolate contains, which is a relaxant, and the feel-good hormones it activates in our brain to boost mood.
As well as those health-boosting antioxidants, chocolate also contains essentials minerals such as potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron.
A University of California study of 1,000 Americans found that those who ate chocolate regularly were more likely to have less body fat and lower BMIs than those who did not. It was shown that regularly eating small amounts of chocolate boosted metabolism, making the body burn off fat at a faster rate.
According to this article by Neuropsychologist Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, chocolate is also great for your brain. Chocolate’s anti-inflammatory properties and high flavanol content can help to reduce memory loss, and even helps to speed up recovery from brain injuries such as concussion. However, the article does stress that only chocolate with at least an 85% cocoa content has these brain-boosting effects.
As well as being good for your brain, the anti-inflammatory properties of high-cocoa-content chocolate also help to reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that dark chocolate helps prevent white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels and can help restore flexibility to arteries, meaning your heart functions better and blood is pumped more efficiently around the body.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to start slapping chocolate on your face; consuming chocolate is the best way to benefit from its skin-protecting properties. And, not only has chocolate been found to help protect your skin against sun damage, there is evidence to suggest that the powerful antioxidants it contains can also help to reduce wrinkles!
The flavonoids in dark chocolate help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body's insulin efficiently, without causing huge spikes in blood sugar levels. This in turn protects against the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
So that was the good news. The bad news is that even the highest quality dark chocolate is high in fat, sugar and calories so remember to keep to a couple of squares a day as a health-boosting treat!