What are your top reasons to eat chocolate? Work stresses? Friend crises? Love trouble? How about health reasons?! Yep, the shops are already full of Easter goodies in the form of eggs, chocolate bars and treats, but there’s no reason to avoid them completely. Here’s the real reasons to eat chocolate – now go forth and do your duty!
Oh yes, dark chocolate can boost your brainpower. In a recent study, adult women were given chocolate drinks that were rich in flavonoids, a natural chemical found in dark chocolate. Within two hours, blood flow to the brain had improved, and the women performed much better on a complex mental task. Flavonoids are also credited with boosting the creation of new neurons in the brain and improving cognitive skills. This has to be one of the top reasons to eat chocolate!
The University of California recently tested whether the metabolism-boosting powers of chocolate cancel out the actual calories consumed by eating it. The findings? Eating a small amount of chocolate each day isn’t just calorie-neutral, but it can actually boost your diet. Longer studies are now taking place to see how much chocolate should be consumed, and at what times the best results are had, but the research so far is clear: chocolate should be a vital part of every diet. The chocolate-eaters even had a lower BMI. Win.
I have a whole variety of skin creams that I love, as do most women – but it’s true that they can only do so much. To really stop the affects of ageing, your diet has to be up to scratch. Antioxidants are the main skin-boosting nutrient, helping to fight radicals and prevent wrinkles, but the sources don’t tend to be too appetizing – mushroom sandwiches, anyone? Thankfully, there is a tastier way to get your fill. Dark chocolate is thought to contain more antioxidants than some fruits, including blueberries, making it a guilt-free choice.
Did you hear about Jeanne Louise Calment? At 122 years, she’s the oldest verified living person to have ever lived, and she has put her old age down to regularly enjoying chocolate. While people scoffed originally, scientists have found that cocoa beans can fight disease and keep the heart healthy, contributing to a longer life span. The British Medical Journal even claims that chocolate cuts your chance of disease by a third.
Muscle ageing has been in the media a lot lately, so it’s great that we are finally finding ways to stop it! A study by Wayne State University found that epicatechin, a plant compound present in chocolate, stimulates the same muscle response as vigorous exercise. It’s thought that a few squares of chocolate after a work-out could drastically reduce the ageing process, and keep muscles in great health. That run will feel much more worth it now!
Ever wondered why chocolate makes you feel better? It’s not just the sweet flavor – chocolate is known to be high in mood-boosting chemicals, and was even recommended for use in people with depression in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience. Great ingredients include phenylethylamine, which raises endorphin levels, and magnesium, which helps you to relax. So next time you feel a bad mood coming on, sit down with a few squares of chocolate. It’ll make you feel much better!
We’ve all heard about sugar lows, which can make it seem like chocolate would be a bad idea when you are feeling low on energy, but the opposite is true. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that’s used in energy drinks to give you a boost, and caffeine, which is regularly used to boost energy levels. It also contains magnesium and chromium, which are vital in producing energy. A few squares after lunch or after a workout can be all you need to boost your levels and get through the day – it’s one of my favorite reasons to eat chocolate!
It seems chocolate has a much worse reputation than it deserves, with all these health benefits. To maximize chocolate's good effects on your body, opt for quality bars of darker chocolate, and avoid the really sugary types. And don’t forget to remind yourself of these great reasons next time you need a pick-me-up! What chocolate is your favorite? I’d love to know!
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