New Delhi: Good news for those with a sweet tooth, eating chocolate can be very beneficial for you. Chocolate is an important dietary source of flavonoid antioxidants, which are hypothesised to have a beneficial effect on endothelial function and protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Here are five health benefits you can enjoy as a result of eating chocolate.
1. It Can Help You Lose Weight
Chocolate doesn’t have to be a reason for weight gain believes neuroscientist Will Clower. In his book Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight, he explains how eating a piece of dark chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after a meal can cut your appetite by an impressive 50 percent. According to Clower, this is because chocolate triggers the hormones that tell your brain “I’m full.” However, remember that this applies to cacao-rich dark chocolate only. Milk chocolate would raise your blood sugar levels and leave you craving the stuff even more.
2. It Gives You Brain Power
Chocoholics are the smartest people around. Or at least they should be, thanks to the flavanol content of the snack. Teamed with reports that it also helps to improve blood flow to the brain, it appears that dark chocolate makes excellent brain food. So much so, that researchers have even put its properties to the test with Alzheimer’s patients. In a trial published by Nature Neuroscience, it was discovered that “high-flavanol intervention was found to enhance dentate gyrus (DG) function” – DG being the region of the brain in which “function declines in association with human aging.” Although the study explains, while the flavanols have the potential to perhaps aid those with Alzheimer’s, it can’t prevent the disease entirely.
3. It Promotes Gorgeous Skin
Flavonoids are pretty powerful. Without you realising, they get to work on your skin, acting as a filter to harmful UV rays and protecting you against sun damage. That’s not to say you should skimp on the sunscreen – always apply when out in sunlight. What’s more, as we know all too well, dark chocolate is a great stress reliever, which also helps keep the skin young, fresh, and fine-line free.
4. It Gives You An Energy Boost
If you’re trying to drink less coffee but struggle to get through the day without your caffeine hit, dark chocolate could be the answer – there is 43mg of caffeine per every 100g.
A recent study from London’s Kingston University also suggests that dark chocolate could be useful for athletes. Thanks to dark chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow (and in turn, carry oxygen to the muscles at a faster rate), those involved within the project were able to cycle further and faster. Skip energy bars and try a little dark chocolate.
5. It Makes You Happy
Science agrees that chocolate makes you happy, and not just because it tastes amazing. There are chemical components within chocolate that make it irresistible, such as phenylethylamine – an organic compound that when released in the body stimulates a similar feeling to that of falling in love. It also acts as an antidepressant when combined with the dopamine that exists naturally in the brain. Along with it’s theobromine and tryptophan content (other properties of chocolate that promote happiness and stimulate a natural, albeit weak, high in the body); it’s easy to see why chocolate is considered a certified mood booster.