5 Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate
We all know about the benefits of chocolate for our taste buds, but did you know there are actually quite a few health benefits to eating moderate amounts of chocolate. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I did some research and came up with no less than 5 major benefits to be had from eating dark chocolate. Have a look:
- Lower Blood Pressure – Several studies have shown a link between the consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate and lower blood pressure. Chocolate contains substances called flavonoids which cause your blood vessels to expand, thus lowering your blood pressure. The average reduction was 5mm Hg, which is similar to the effect of 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise. Not a bad boost from eating a so-called junk food!
- Improved Endurance – Another study looked at the effects of another of chocolate’s little known ingredients, epictechin. In this study, mice that were fed this substance made significant improvement in their ability to exercise. This improvement was even more significant in mice who exercised regularly, but interestingly, even mice who didn’t exercise showed a significant level of improvement.
- Lower Cholesterol – Dark chocolate can decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol (that’s the unhealthy kind). Lower cholesterol means a lower likelihood of having plaque build up in your arteries and therefore less chance that you’ll have a heart attack or stroke.
- Improved Mental Health – Ok, we probably didn’t need a study to tell us that chocolate can make you happy, but it turns out that there’s scientific evidence that this is true. Chocolate contains substances that increase your body’s ability to produce serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and content.Not only that, but chocolate also contains caffeine which improves our attentiveness and ability to focus on the task at hand.
- Better Skin Tone – One of the enduring myths about chocolate is that it can cause acne. It turns out that the opposite is true. For one thing, getting rid of acne has more to do with your overall diet and the way you take care of your skin, than with the consumption of chocolate or any other individual food.
In fact, chocolate can actually improve your skin tone in a number of ways. Chocolate contains antioxidants which help prevent skin damage and keep wrinkles and skin discoloration at bay. According to the Journal of Nutrition, chocolate may offer some protection from the sun. Subjects in a study reported 25% less redness and irritation of their skin after drinking a beverage containing chocolate.
So there you have it. Hopefully now I’ve taken away any reluctance or guilt you might feel about eating chocolate. Who knew that something so seemingly decadent could be so good for you? Eating small amounts of chocolate can be good for your body, good for your mind and most importantly, it tastes great. In fact, now you really have no reason not to eat chocolate! Bonne appétit!