Chocolate, known as the ultimate comfort food, is a reliable standby in times when we feel that life has let us down. In a more positive light, it is also a decadent source of self-indulgence, a romance-inducer, and a mood enhancer. But is it healthy?
There is a host of medical proof that chocolate can really be healthy, as long as it is good chocolate, that is to say, it has a cocoa percentage of 70% or more. Research has already found that the ingredients in chocolate are good for the brain, heart, and blood circulation. In fact, the latest research suggests that chocolate can help keep the brain functioning optimally well into old age.
The Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate
Listed below are some of the scientifically proven health benefits of chocolate:
- Good for heart health and blood circulation. In a recent research it was found that chocolate can prevent the common causes of clogged arteries. It helps to restore the flexibility of arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Research in Finland has found that it reduced the risk of stroke by a staggering average of 17% in a group of men tested in the study.
- Chocolate is rich in beneficial minerals such as zinc, selenium, potassium and a 100g bar of dark chocolate can provide up to 67% of the RDA for iron.
- Cocoa consumption has been shown to reduce the levels of LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol) and raise the levels of “good” cholesterol, with the potential of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Chocolate is good for the brain. The flavanols in chocolate can reduce memory loss in the elderly and the anti-inflammatory properties found in dark cocoa have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of brain injuries and concussion.
- It is good for the mood. Chocolate always makes you feel better because it contains PEA (phenylethylamine), the same chemical that the brain creates when you fall in love. The PEA in chocolate encourages the brain to release those feel-good endorphins that make us feel happy.
- It protects the skin from sun damage. Not only are the flavanols in chocolate good for your brain, but it has been found to help protect the skin from sun damage.
- Chocolate can help you lose weight. This sounds most unlikely, however, a study by the Neuroscientist, Will Clower, has found that a square of chocolate left to melt on the tongue for about 20 minutes before a meal triggers hormones in the brain that signals “I’m full”, effectively cutting down the amount of food consumed. It was also found that using the same trigger after a meal reduced subsequent snacking in between meals.
- It may prevent the early onset of diabetes. Cocoa has been found to improve insulin sensitivity. Therefore small amounts of chocolate may help prevent or delay the early onset of diabetes.
- Chocolate is good for pregnant women and their babies. In Finland a study with expectant mothers found that it reduced stress in pregnant women and the babies born to mothers who consumed chocolate smiled more than those of non-chocolate-eating mothers.
As a chocolate lover, you may also find that good chocolate can be good for your soul. This is experienced when you know that the raw materials of the chocolate you are eating have been grown with care and that the workers have been adequately rewarded for their work.
The goodness continues when the materials are processed by people who take care and time with their work and finally finished by expert chocolatiers who put their heart and soul into what they do. These chocolates are obviously not mass-produced and cheap, but they are good for your spiritual heart and your soul.
Where Can I Get The Best Chocolate?
From Dolce and Bean of course! Whether it’s something creamy, crunchy, nutty, fruity . . . whatever your chocolate craving is, you’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and make your taste buds smile.
Visit our online store to pick your favorite chocolates, or visit our store in Del Ray, Alexandria.