Health Benefits of Chocolate…
The next time you feel like eating chocolate, don’t feel so guilty about it. It’s not the junk food that many of us think it is. In fact, it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat. This guilty pleasure is hiding its health benefits under the guise of candy and junk food when in actuality it helps fight disease in a big way. Really!
The active ingredient in this powerful nutrient is cacao. It’s packed with flavonoids, theobromine and other chemicals that help protect us from disease and keep us healthy. According to one study, those who ate between one and two servings per week of dark chocolate reduced their risk of a heart attack by about a third. Another long-term study out of Germany shows that a square of dark chocolate per day reduced blood pressure and lowered the risk of a heart attack and stroke by nearly 40 percent. Study proponents said antioxidants improved the flexibility of arteries and blood vessels which then reduce the chances of heart failure.
Although most chocolates come with a large dose of calorie-laden milk and butter, which can dilute the beneficial effects of cacao, it’s important to choose dark chocolate or chocolate with 70 percent cacao so you don’t gain extra pounds. A study out of Denmark shows yet another reason to eat dark chocolate. The study indicates that it is much more filling than its higher-calorie counterpart. In fact, the study said dark chocolate reduces cravings for sweet, salty and fat-laden foods.
Moreover, dark chocolate is a good diabetes fighter. According to an Italian study, those who ate a dark chocolate candy bar for 15 days straight had their potential for insulin resistance lowered by about half.
Would-be mothers also saw a benefit from chocolate eating. A study reported that pregnant women reduced their stress and had children that were happier than those whose mothers shunned dark chocolate. Who knew?!
But reducing stress isn’t just for pregnant mothers. Swiss researchers found that anxious people who ate one-and-a-half ounces of dark chocolate for two straight weeks found their stress hormone levels drop significantly. And lastly, scientists affirm that those who eat dark chocolate have developed skin with improved resistance to sunburn by taking twice as long to burn when exposed to the sun than others.
With the ability to also reduce cholesterol, improve your alertness and brain power, chocolate is truly a superfood you need to have!
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