The Benefits of Chocolate
A 2011 Swedish study found
that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than women who treated themselves
to fewer than 9 grams.
Regular chocolate eaters welcome a host of benefits for their hearts, including lower
blood pressure, lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate is
especially heart-healthy because of its inflammation-fighting properties that reduce cardiovascular risk.
it is rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you'll eat less, Dr. David Katz, founding director
of Yale University's Prevention Research Center stated. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves
to a bite instead of snacking on "11 other things first" he said.
Dark chocolate does the trick
much better than milk, according to a small study from the University of Copenhagen, and may even reduce cravings for sweet,
salty and fatty foods.
A small Italian study from 2005 found that regularly eating chocolate increases insulin
sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes.
Dark chocolate is actually good for your skin. The type
of antioxidants called flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage from the sun.
ingredient in chocolate called theobromine seems to reduce activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that triggers
In late 2010, the BBC reported that scientists were investigating creating a drug containing
theobromine to replace cough syrups containing codeine, which can have risky side effects.
also report feeling less stressed.
Cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar
way to aspirin, Dr. Fitzgerald writes, which can improve blood flow and circulation.
Because of chocolate's
ability to improve blood flow, in particular to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a small
2011 study that chocolate may also increase blood flow to the retina, thereby giving vision a boost.
boost of blood flow to the brain created by cocoa's flavanols seems to make people feel more awake and alert, and, in a small
British study, perform better on counting tasks. The chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa or more. You can order cocao beans
on the internet and grind the chocolate beans like you would coffee beans, or break them into nibs to use in cooking. It's
a real treat!