The ultimate comfort food- Chocolate plays an important role in many occasions. When you are sad chocolate consoles, when happy it’s a part of the celebration, on a special occasion- it serves as a gift, in all positive circumstances chocolate is a mood enhancer and many times it induces romance.
But the main question arises, is it healthy at all?
Various Research is ongoing, and scientists have already found that chocolate has benefits for the heart, blood circulation and the brain. Recent studies show dark chocolates has been favourable in major health challenges as autism, obesity, and diabetes.
Let’s have a quick look on scientifically proven health benefits of dark Chocolate.
**1) It is good for blood circulation and Heart:
According to a study done by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, dark chocolate is good for your heart and blood circulation, it helps in restoring the flexibility of arteries while also prevents sticking of white blood cells to the walls of blood vessels. Increasing the level of flavonol content in the chocolate is found to be very beneficial.
2) It reduces cholesterol:
According to various scientific investigations cocoa has been shown to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol (HDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, resulting in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
3) It lowers blood pressure:
According to a recent study done in Harvard, eating a small square of dark chocolate daily helps in lowering blood pressure.
** 4)** **It reduces the risk of stroke:**
Scientists from Finland have found that chocolate consumption reduces the risk of stroke. The study shows that men who consume the most chocolate have a 17% lower risk of stroke compared to those who consume the least.
**5) It is good for skin:
It’s a well-known fact that the flavonols present in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage. This is the reason, various famous skin care brands sell chocolate flavour creams and lip balms.
6) It is good for babies and mother:
According to a study of 300 women, chocolate consumption reduced the stress level in expectant mothers and keep the babies happier. The study says such mothers smiled more and the babies smiled more often after birth compared to offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.
**7) It makes brain active in old age:
Dark chocolates are good for memories especially among seniors. Studies have shown that flavanols found in dark chocolate are thought to reduce memory loss in older people.
**8) It helps you to lose weight:
Studies on Neuroscience says, a small bite of good chocolate melted on the tongue 15 minutes before a meal triggers the satiety hormones in the brain and make you feel full. This helps in cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume.
Many people show concern about the availability of non- heme iron found in chocolate.
Non-heme iron is nothing but a form of iron that is less absorbable by the body. A high content of non-heme iron is found in coco beans ( the main source of chocolate bars). You can easily enhance the absorption of these non-heme iron by eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C along with chocolate.
So, next time when you reach for a chocolate bar (9 square pieces) eat it with an orange for better absorption.
There is considerable evidence that dark chocolate can provide powerful health benefits. But that doesn’t mean you go out and eat lots of chocolate every day.
Beware of sugary bars available in the market. Always check the food label of the chocolate before purchasing, opt for the ones high in coco content- dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content is best for the health.
Remember the Darker the chocolates, the better it is. The sugar content in the dark chocolate is less as compared with others, so always make a wise decision.
Celebrate the occasion with a healthy bite of dark chocolate keeping the above point in mind.
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