On a Health Kick? 9 Reasons Chocolate is a Diet's Secret Weapon
We pretty much all do it: attempt a healthy reboot for the New Year.
Most diet experts/gurus agree that allowing oneself some kind of “treat” or “cheat” – within moderation – is an important ingredient to the success of any diet and to that we say, “Let it be chocolate!”
While most people associate chocolate with naughty indulgence, in fact, well-made dark chocolate, like the kind you can find at the Belgium Chocolate Factory has loads of health benefits. Here’s why chocolate may be the secret step to your best self: As published by the Daily Telegraph in London:
1. It's good for the heart and circulation
A recent study found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels - both common causes of artery clogging.
2. It reduces risk of stroke
Researchers in Finland have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke - by a staggering 17 percent average in the group of men they tested.
3. It's mineral rich
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 percent or more) choc provides 67 percent of the RDA of iron.
4. It reduces cholesterol
Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. It's good for your skin
The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage (though you'd probably better still slap on some sun cream).
6. It's good for mothers and babies
A Finnish study found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.
7. It may prevent diabetes
It sounds mad, but cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. So dark chocolate - in moderation - might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
8. Chocolate is good for the brain
Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflamatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.
9. Chocolate makes you feel better
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.