You Always Knew Chocolate Was Good For You…

February 02, 2016

Now that we’re into February we’re likely to see an ever-increasing number of chocolate eggs lining the shelves of our favourite food shops as Easter speeds round that seasonal corner.

But you don’t have to think up avoidance tactics for those goodies just yet. In fact, next time you’re popping in for some organic carrots for your yummy lentil soup, you might want to check out some of those glittering gold and silver paper-covered chocolate shells. That’s because, in small amounts, chocolate can actually be good for you - in lots of small, proven ways which, when added together, is really quite impressive.

For instance, no doubt you’ve probably already heard that good quality dark chocolate (containing 70% cocoa solids or more) is worth nibbling at on a reasonably regular basis. We actually know lots of healthy eaters who insist on having a piece every evening after their main meal. And that’s probably because they’re well aware of the fact that chocolate can:

● Calm down cholesterol. Antioxidants in cocoa powder are able to limit the effects of bad cholesterol in the blood caused by free radicals (so the higher the cocoa content, the better for you the chocolate). This, in turn, helps maintain a healthy heart
● Improve insulin levels. Those antioxidants will also help reduce blood sugar levels by improving the levels of good cholesterol in your blood - which can lower your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes
● Boost blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that the flavonols in dark chocolate can encourage the arteries to relax, allowing blood to flow more freely around the body and reducing the risk of stroke
● Cut back on cognitive difficulties. Chocolate has been shown to help with memory loss, a study at Harvard University showed. And it’s all down to the anti-inflammatory effect of those flavonols again.

All of the above are serious conditions but chocolate can have other more ‘cosmetic’ health benefits too. Before we tell you them, it’s worth remembering that the beneficial effects only work when you snack on chocolate by consuming one or two squares; not the whole bar (tempting though that may be).

So, in what other ways can our health benefit from chocolate? Well it’s also able to:

● De-sensitize our skin to sun. Those same flavonols can prevent your skin from becoming damaged to the sun by oxygenating the skin and encouraging it to protect itself.
● Let us lose weight. Yes, really. Getting back to those healthy eaters who insist on a piece or two of chocolate every day, studies in Copenhagen have shown that a small square 20 minutes or so before a meal triggers the brain hormone Leptin which tells you you’re full.
● Help us feel happy. Chocolate contains a lovely chemical called phenylethylamine – or PEA, for short – which, once consumed by us, produces endorphins. These make us feel similar to when we fall in love.

Then again, you can take the benefits further when you consider chocolate is packed full of potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium. It’s also a nice way to get your daily iron intake.

So, why not go and treat yourself to our new Chocoholics Box, packed full of deliciously healthy chocolate treats.

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