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What Are the Benefits of Chocolate?
You’re probably well aware that fruits and vegetables are great choices when you’re looking for healthy food. But did you know that chocolate also has health benefits? Here are 7 of the benefits you can gain by eating chocolate.
Chocolate helps you eat less.
While chocolate certainly can’t be considered a weight loss food, it may help decrease your appetite. Just a small piece of dark chocolate is actually high in fiber, which fills you up and might keep you from snacking even more. A study in Copenhagen, Denmark, showed that dark chocolate reduced cravings for salty, sweet foods.
Chocolate can help you stop coughing.
Rather than take a cough syrup containing codeine, try eating a piece of chocolate. It contains theobromine, an ingredient that has been shown to reduce the response of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the part of your brain that triggers coughing.
Chocolate makes your heart healthy.
Dark chocolate is particularly adept at reducing inflammation, which in turn, reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating chocolate regularly will lower your blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol.
Chocolate lowers your risk of stroke.
In one study, women who ate 45 grams of chocolate every week enjoyed a lower risk of stroke (20% less) than women who ate less or no chocolate.
Chocolate protects your skin from damage.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are an antioxidant. Flavonoids protect your skin from sun damage caused by UV rays. There’s not enough protection in dark chocolate to protect you completely—you still have to wear sunscreen. But now you have a great excuse to have a bite of dark chocolate before hitting the beach!
Chocolate makes you soooo happy.
How could you not be happy when there’s a smooth, rich piece of dark chocolate melting on your tongue? Enjoying foods that you love—like chocolate—makes you feel happy. Studies regularly show that people who eat chocolate feel less stressed. No surprise there!
Chocolate increases your blood flow.
Improved blood flow is beneficial in many ways: increased circulation, which in turn affects the rest of your body. For instance, some studies show that chocolate increases blood flow to the retina, which improves vision. Increased blood flow to the brain helps some study participants concentrate better and stay more alert. Who wouldn’t want to be smarter, with sharper vision?
Dark Chocolate is Best
Though some studies show that any chocolate has certain positive effects, dark chocolate is where it’s at if you want real health benefits. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and less fat than milk or white chocolates, and more of the health-inducing properties.