Here is some very good news…
Chocolate is one of the world’s favorite flavors, possibly the most loved taste in the world. Am I right? If you’re a fan of chocolate, you’ll probably be very happy with this news. Did you know that there are several health benefits of chocolate? Research published recently mentioned that frequent chocolate eaters may more often have lower BMIs!
But you must keep in mind this:
While chocolate can do the body good, the study certainly doesn’t go as far as proving a causal link between eating more chocolate and losing weight. Keep in mind that all chocolate was not created equal: Dark chocolate packs more of a health punch overall, but even the bittersweet varieties can be high in calories, fat and sugar.
However, treating yourself to a small amount of chocolate regularly is definitely a health message we can get behind. Take a look at some of the surprising health benefits of chocolate below, then tell us in the comments why chocolate is a part of your healthy diet.
#1 Chocolate Decreases Stroke Risk
Chocolate Cookie | Photo by Jamie Anne via Flickr
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 of the sweet stuff.
#2 Chocolate Boosts Heart Health
Chocolate Cake | Photo by Caressa Bateman via Flickr
Regular chocolate eaters welcome a host of benefits for their hearts, including:
One of the reasons dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy is its inflammation-fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.
#3 Chocolate Fills You Up
Chocolate Shortbread | Photo by Jamie Anne via Flickr
Because it’s 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 and HuffPost blogger told The Huffington Post. 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.
#4 Chocolate May Fight Diabetes
The best chocolate cake in the world | Photo by Krista via Flickr
#5 Chocolate Protects Your Skin
Vegan Chocolate Cake | Photo by Jennifer via Flickr
Forget what you’ve heard about chocolate causing breakouts: 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. And no, that does not mean you can skip the sunscreen!
#6 Chocolate Can Quiet Coughs
Delicious Chocolate Cake | Photo by Kimberly Vardeman via Flickr
Can’t stop coughing? An ingredient in chocolate called theobromine seems to reduce activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain that triggers hard-to-shake coughs.
In late 2010, the BBC reported that scientists were investigating creating a drug containing theobromine to preplace cough syrups containing codeine, which can have risky side effects.
#7 Chocolate Boosts Your Mood
Chocolate Cupcake | Photo by Kirti Podalar via Flickr
There’s no denying that indulging your sweet tooth every once in a while feels great. Enjoying food is part of enjoying life, points out HuffPost Healthy Living’s wellness editor, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald.
Chocolate eaters also report feeling less stressed.
#8 Chocolate Improves Blood Flow
Ganache Chocolate | Photo by Alpha via Flickr
#9 Chocolate Improves Vision
Chocolate Happiness | Photo by Ann Larie Valentine
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.
#10 Chocolate May Make You Smarter
Chocolate Coconut Cupcake | Photo by Dixie Belle Cupcake Cafe via Flickr
That 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.