Snacks | Food

11 Facts That Prove Chocolate Is Good For You

Next time someone offers you a piece of chocolate, you don't have to show restraint because it could actually benefit your health!

New research suggests that your chocolate cravings are more than just a joyful indulgence, it can help relieve stress, reduce your risk of health problems, and help your body function better.

So next time someone passes around a bar of chocolate, you don't have to say no, because here's all the ways that a piece of chocolate can help your day.

1. It contains more antioxidants than apples.

Dark chocolate, in particular, contains an even higher concentration of antioxidants than apples, black tea and red wine. Antioxidants from natural sources like cocoa, counteract cell damage that can lead to signs of aging and increased risk of diseases such ask Alzheinmer's and Parkinson's.

2. It may help reduce stress.

Do you feel better after you have had a piece of chocolate? You're not the only one! Chocolate can alleviate anxiety, according to a study performed in 2009. After 2 weeks of eating about 5 squares of chocolate a day, the participates experienced lower levels of anandamide, which is responsible for your body relaxing.  

3. It could reduce your risk of heart problems.

In a study looking at the diets of adults ages 50-64, they found that compared to people who ate chocolate infrequently, those who ate a 1 ounce serving up to 6 times a week had a 20% chance lower risk of experiencing a notable irregular heartbeat which could be associated with a higher risk or stroke or heart attack.

The combination of cocoa's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties makes blood less sticky and therefore reduces tissue scarring in the views, which lowers electrical dysfunction.

4. Chocolate can increase your libido.

While you have to eat A LOT of chocolate to make any noticeable difference in your sex life, this sweet treat still contains phenylethylamine, which is a chemical the body released in response to physical attraction. This also increased your levels of dopamine, which is what triggers your brain's reward center and makes you feel good. While it may not directly give you a boost in the bedroom, it sure doesn't hurt!

Continue to the next page for benefits to exercise, your skin and diabetes.

5. It could make exercise more effective.

Wouldn't it be nice to get a little extra out of your workout? Male cyclists added a 1 1/2 squares of dark chocolate to their diets every day for a study and the results are encouraging. They didn't modify any of their workouts and it showed improvement to their sprint speeds and stamina after munching on the delicious sweet. Study authors think that the addition of chocolate to their diet may improve blood flow, energy metabolism and cardiac function which is the reason for the physical improvement.

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6. It could lower diabetes.

It is widely known that a sugary diet can promote weight gain and put you at a risk for type-2 diabetes, however chocolate may have the opposite effect. Research suggests compounds in chocolate can enhance insulin sensitivity, which is a good thing because resistance to insulin can contribute to type-2 diabetes over time.

7. It could help you think more clearly.

Researchers tested the cognitive functioning of adults before and after consuming drinks made with varying amounts of cocoa, and all participants showed improvements in cognition testing. The reason? Researchers believe that the improved blood circulation throughout the brain and body made it easier for participants to excel in the testing.

8. It reduces the risk of stroke.

Researchers have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke by 17% on average in a group of men that were tested.

9. It reduces cholesterol.

Consumption of cocoa has shown to reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol, which could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

10. It's good for your skin.

While it's important to continue to put on sunscreen, the flavonols in dark chocolate can protect your skin against sun damage.

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11. It can help you lose weight.

No really, you didn't read that wrong. A neuroscientist says a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue for 20 minutes before a meal, triggers a hormone in the brain that will help reduce how much food you consume.

If that's not enough reason to excuse yourself for a piece of chocolate, I don't know what is!

Sources: Cosmopolitan / Telegraph