Valentine’s Day is upon us again!
And what better excuse than that to have chocolate?
In fact, there is a growing body of research, indicating that dark chocolate is actually good for us and should be seen as a separate food group… OK, I admit, the last bit (that it should be seen as a separate food group) is wishful thinking on my part. Let’s have a quick look into why chocolate is good for us and we don’t have to feel guilty eating it!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Here are 14 Good reasons to have chocolate this Valentine’s day!
1) Good for your heart
Studies have shown that when eating chocolate, blood flow in the heart improves. This lowers blood pressure, and possibly stops the hardening of arteries, protecting us from possible future heart attacks.
2) Very nutritious
Quality chocolate is high in soluble fibre, Iron, Magnesium, copper manganese, zinc and selenium. Dark chocolate has a very good fatty acid profile, containing mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats to keep us going through Valentine’s day. And don’t forget about caffeine and theobromine for an added boost!
3) Reduces Stress
A Swiss study found that when people under stress ate dark chocolate, their cortisol (stress hormone) levels were reduced and they felt less anxious. There might be something in comfort eating to help us handle difficult situations!
4) Diabetes prevention
A small study in Italy found that people, who ate dark chocolate for 2 weeks every day had a better insulin response after the study. The possible reason is flavonoids in the chocolate, which help to control our body’s insulin sensitivity. But caution, do not see this as a green light to eat all you can see, moderation is always the best course of action!
5) Good for your Brain
Dark chocolate has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, potentially increasing your cognitive function, while giving you protection against a potential stroke.
6) Good for Mental Health
Dark chocolate contains a substance (phenylethylamine), which stimulates the release of endorphins, our feel good hormones in the brain – similar to what happens when we fall in love!
7) Boosts intelligence
Studies carried out in Oxford and in Norway found people consuming flavonoid rich chocolate or wine, scored significantly higher in cognitive tests than those, who did not consume the same levels of flavonoid rich foods.
8) Weight loss
Yes, you read correct, but only in relation to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is much more filling than lighter ones, so we do not tend to eat as much of it. Dark chocolate also lessens our cravings for other comfort food, which means keeping with a balanced eating plan is much easier.
9) Sun protection
This does not mean ditching sun protection for a bar of your favourite dark chocolate! Flavonoids in the dark chocolate can increase the blood flow to the skin, increasing skin density and hydration. The Flavonoids can potentially have a protective effect against skin damage by the sun.
10) Is full of Antioxidants
No matter what magazine you open these days, there is something about anti oxidants. Anti oxidants combat free radicals, which are a b- product of cell metabolism, which can lead to cancer and premature aging. Dark chocolate has the potential to slow down the aging process and fight cancer forming.
11) Good for your teeth
Dark chocolate contains theobromine which has been shown to harden teeth enamel! As long as you have good dental hygiene, dark chocolate is a better option than other sweet treats for your teeth.
12) Cough relief
Thanks to theobromine, dark chocolate has the potential to suppress a cough by acting on the Vagus nerve, which plays a big role in coughing – could be a safer and definitely a tastier option than codeine.
13) Raise HDL and lowers LDL
LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, witch damages the lining of arteries shows a decreased oxidation by cocoa and HDL, which is the good cholesterol is raised, decreasing our chances of developing cardio vascular disease.
Less scientific. but the most important reason for eating dark chocolate this Valentine’s Day is – it tastes amazing!
Tell us your reasons for treating yourself to some dark chocolate this Valentine’s day!