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Some Health Benefits of Chocolate

While we may have been taught since a very young age that all chocolate is bad for you, it’s okay to indulge your sweet tooth once in awhile, for holidays or otherwise. Chocolate is a universal taste among human beings, and some say that nine out of ten people like chocolate – and the tenth is lying.

Chocolate has such a poor reputation from a health standpoint that this may be difficult to believe, but the truth is that we really don’t need to feel guilty about eating it. Chocolate comprised of 70% cocoa is actually a healthy indulgence. However, the relative healthiness of the chocolate you consume will depend on both the quality and the quantity of the chocolate.

Let’s consider the health benefits of chocolate. You probably feel like you get a bit of a rush from eating chocolate. You’re not imagining it – chocolate contains a phyto-nutrient that acts as an endorphin in humans, producing a pleasurable sensation akin to a “runner’s high.”

Chocolate can almost be considered an antidepressant. This could explain why so many people indulge in chocolate when they’re feeling down. Swiss scientists showed that eating 40g of dark chocolate each day lowered the occurrence of stress hormones in the bloodstream, which helps people manage the effects of stress.

Due to its popularity as a food, many studies have been conducted on the health benefits of dark chocolate, and the results are quite positive. One Swedish study found that after a heart attack, those who consumed chocolate at least twice a week tripled their chances of survival over those who didn’t eat any chocolate.

In addition, a Canadian study showed that risk of stroke was decreased in individuals who ate chocolate once a week in relation to those who didn’t.

The benefits of chocolate are imparted by compounds called flavinoids, which are present in the cocoa. These flavinoids act as a potent anti-oxidant in the human body, protecting our DNA from damage from oxidation. This effect means that chocolate could potentially be considered an anti-aging food.

So don’t feel guilty about eating a little chocolate on Easter, or any other day, for that matter. Of course, it’s still best to eat chocolate in moderation; a full bar every day is too much. You’ll also want to find chocolate composed of 70% cocoa or more, and organic chocolate is great if it’s available to you.

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May 20, 2010 Posted by | Chocolate, Food & Drink | , , , | Leave a comment