If you feel the need to nibble on a chocolate bar throughout your day, you’re not alone. A Psychology Today study reports that Americans crave chocolate more than any other food item. But when you feel the urge to indulge in the rich taste of quality chocolate, an alarm may go off in the back of your head.
Your friends claim that snacking on chocolate will ruin your latest diet attempt, or that it will overload your caloric intake. Maybe you imagine your trainer’s face in your mind as you unwrap a bite-sized morsel.
Obviously eating too much chocolate can have negative affects, but eating small amounts can actually be great for you. When you arm yourself with the proper facts, you won’t have to worry about justifying your cravings any longer. Medical professionals have identified seven health benefits that the right serving of chocolate can give you. Read these tips the next time someone tries to separate you from your rightful cocoa craving. Not only does chocolate taste great, but it is also fairly healthy for you!
Health Benefits of Chocolate
As long as you monitor aspects of your diet such as sugar intake, eating chocolate with some regularity is a good thing. Not only does it make you happy, it also helps your heart and helps to maintain a balanced diet. Check out these 7 chocolate health benefits to answer the common question of “is chocolate good for you?”
1: Chocolate May Help Your Heart
A medical study based in Germany found that chocolate reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. These results were substantiated by a Swedish chocolate study. The Swedish study found that women who eat a couple of servings of chocolate each week decreased their chances of heart failure by over 30%.
British researchers who performed a similar cardiological study saw “substantial reduction” in heart disorders, thanks to participants who increased their chocolate intake for the study. Internationally, the conclusion is clear: your heart loves chocolate not only for its taste but also for the health benefits.
2: Dark Chocolate Controls Sensitivity to Insulin
Chocolate not only affects your mood; it may help you avoid diabetes as well. As part of a medical study, Italian research subjects ate an entire candy bar-sized portion of dark chocolate every day for over two weeks. At the end of the study, doctors found a lowered resistance to insulin, all thanks to the flavonoids in the chocolate bar.
3: Chocolate Regulates Blood Pressure
Those who eat chocolate on a regular basis have consistently shown lower blood pressure. Doctors also say that chocolate helps to keep blood pressure increases at bay during exercise. Chocolate’s stabilizing influence means that overweight patients can exercise without spiking their pressure painfully-if they consume chocolate the same day they go to the gym.
4: Dark Chocolate Curbs Other Cravings
The rich taste and texture of dark chocolate is more filling than milk or white chocolate alternatives. A study from the University of Copenhagen also demonstrates that dark chocolate decreases participants’ desire to eat salty, sweet, and fatty foods. This also allows you to reduce your sugar intake while enjoying your cravings.
Contrary to popular belief, when you eat a small square of dark chocolate, you may find it easier to stick to your diet the rest of the day.
5: Chocolate May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Chocolate critics claim that the fat content of chocolate-based foods can harm your overall health. However, researchers found that the plant sterols and chocolate flavanols inherent in natural cacao actually help raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. In this way, flavanols increase good cholesterol and eliminate bad cholesterol that leads to other health problems.
The next time you experience a craving, read the label to see the cacao content of your favorite chocolate treat, and look forward to lowering your cholesterol along the way.
This study also had participants eating multiple chocolate bars per day, meaning this chocolate health benefit was apparent when people were eating a fairly large amount of chocolate.
6: Pure Chocolate Has Nutritional Benefits
The average serving of dark chocolate contains more than just sugar and butter-it actually has necessary minerals.
A 100-gram chocolate bar boasts soluble fiber and over 50% of your daily dosage of iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper. The nutrition facts also state that chocolate contains trace amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, all of which help your body absorb and use nutrients from other foods. Chocolate’s fatty acid content also helps cell growth and encourages healthy blood flow.
When you eat chocolate in moderation, you bring these nutritional benefits into your diet in an enjoyable, indulgent way.
7: Chocolate Enhances Natural Skin Protection
The flavanols contained in the cacao base also make skin protection more effective. When you eat chocolate, the flavanol content improves the blood flow close to your skin. Flavanol has also been shown to make skin thicker and more hydrated.
These factors combined make your skin more resilient to sun exposure. In fact, a recent study indicates that chocolate eaters noticed less redness 24 hours after sunburn than non-chocolate eaters.
You don’t need to apologize for your taste in chocolate. Your body needs the ingredients in chocolate to perform several important functions. When you consult the facts about chocolate, you’ll see that moderate amounts of high-quality chocolate can benefit your heart, your blood, your skin, and your entire digestive system.
The next time someone criticizes you for your craving, remind them of these seven facts. With modern medicine on your side, you can enjoy a bite of your delicious chocolate bar without feeling a trace of guilt thanks to these health benefits.
See Chocolate Health Benefits Firsthand
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