Chocolate is generally the sweet tasting, brown to dark food made from the Theobroma cacao seeds. The seeds are roasted, grounded before being flavored with flavorings such as vanilla. Chocolate is famous worldwide and is associated with love. How healthy is chocolate? Below are the amazing health benefits of chocolate.
Health benefit 1: Rich in Flavonoids
Chocolate is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are chemical substances found in fruits and vegetables and whose function is to protect them from toxin damage. The main flavonoids found in chocolate are flavonols.They improve on cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure as well as improving on blood clotting. They also help prevent cell damage, occasioned by free radicals.
Health Benefit 2: Lowers LDL cholesterol levels.
Chocolate bars have been found to contain plant sterols and cocoa flavonols, both of which a study says help in lowering cholesterol caused by the Low density Lipoprotein or bad fats. This is important for reducing accumulation of cholesterol which has an effect on blood pressure and occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
Health Benefit 3: Chocolate Improves Memory
Memory declines with age due to decreased blood flow in the working areas of the brain. Chocolate and in particular hot chocolate, was found in a study to help maintain flow of blood in the brain. Chocolate may help ward off early onset of Alzheimer’s disease due to improved blood flow to various parts of the brain through what researchers termed as neurovascular coupling.
Health Benefit 4: Chocolate Improves Cardiovascular Health
Chocolate actually help reduce the risk of heart diseases by one third. Various researches done on it have shown that the polyphenols, antioxidants found in chocolate increase the body’s production of the chemical called nitric oxide. The oxide in turn causes an improvement in blood pressure as well as blood flow.
Health Benefit 5: Chocolate Makes You Smarter
It’s true that chocolate boosts brain power and makes you smarter. Flavonols in chocolate are laden with anti-oxidants which improve circulation especially to the brain. A test conducted on hot cocoa drinkers found that they were more quickly able to more quickly and accurately able to do calculations without getting mentally drained. Yet another study conducted found that taking two cups of cocoa a day for a month in older people improved not only their memories but their thinking processes were enhanced considerably.
Health Benefit 6: Chocolate Boosts your Mood
The phenethylamine in chocolate releases endorphins which are ‘feel good’ hormones. This doubles excitation rates in the parts of brain involved in pleasure and has been on various occasions compared to the feeling we get when we fall in love. Do you want to experience that feel good moment? Well, a blend of cocoa, sugar and caffeine will produce a longer ‘feel good’ f moment you crave for!
Health Benefit 7: Wards off Stress
Owing to its compound anandamide, it triggers similar brain receptors as those triggered by marijuana, giving you relaxation.
Health benefit 8: Chocolate and Longevity
Would you want to prolong your life? Well, a study has found that chocolate may actually lengthen life. The study found that the anti-oxidant in chocolate helped people to live longer than those who did not take chocolate candy. This could perhaps be associated with the effect the anti-oxidants have on the heart such as preventing heart diseases.
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Photo Credit : FotoosVanRobin // Via Creative Commons