Chocolate is the new super-food. A super-food we’re happy to get on board with! The cacao bean’s power is attributed three main components: Flavonoids, Antioxidants and Flavanols. It’s believed that these nutrients can help to protect the cardiovascular system as well as a protecting your skin, boosting you mood and increasing your intelligence… and those are just a few benefits!
We’ve put together a list of our top five reasons you can now add dark chocolate to your well balanced diet:
1. We love chocolate & chocolate loves us back! Yup, dark chocolate is good for your heart.
Turns out the Swiss don’t only make delicious chocolate, they’ve also done the research to back up chocolate as a heart healthy snack (in moderation, of course). They conducted a study over the course of nine years with over 30,000 women. Those who ate up to two servings of dark chocolate per week cut their risk of heart failure by as much as a third.
Another long term study done in Germany had similar findings. They reported that a square of dark chocolate each day reduced the risk of heart attack by 39 percent.
2. Need some help laying off the sugary snacks? Chocolate to the rescue!
Dark Chocolate is rich in fiber, and as we discussed in our blog about flax seeds, fiber fills your belly. Full belly = less overeating, well usually anyway.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen also found that dark chocolate lessened cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods making chocolate a great companion on your journey to a healthy diet.
3. “It feels good, it must be good” right? Well … not always. But in the case of dark chocolate it is. Three cheers for this mood booster!
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, also known as PEA. This chemical helps the brain release endorphins which support happy feelings. Fun fact: phenylethylamine is one of the three neurochemicals that your brain produces in the first stages of attraction.
Swiss scientists also found that eating 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day, for two weeks significantly reduced the stress hormones in highly anxious people.
4. Forget those old school theories about chocolate causing breakouts. Maybe a chocolate candy bar…. but NOT dark chocolate. In fact the antioxidants found in dark chocolate provide protection from UV damage. Some, but not enough to skip sunscreen entirely, so next time you head out for a hike or a day at the beach remember to pack some dark chocolate along with your sunscreen.
5. When you start to feel your brain slowing down, grab a square of chocolate for a brain boost. Turns out chocolate feeds your brain, as well as your body.
The University of Nottingham found that the rich flavanols found in dark chocolate increase blood flow to your brain for up to three hours. Improving performance and alertness in the moments when you need it most.
Should we go on about the numerous chocolate health benefits or do you need to get off the computer right now and grab a bite of chocolate? Thought so… enjoy your chocolate!