You can thank us later.
Believe it or not, we were able to get hold of 15 damn good reasons why you can eat all the chocolate you want, WITHOUT fretting. From attempting to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease to convincing your mom that dark chocolate actually protects your teeth (oh yes it does), here are all the excuses you'll ever need.
But before we delve into the several benefits of chocolate consumption, you must know that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavonoids and good health benefits.
There are mainly 3 types of chocolate:
Milk chocolate: It contains anywhere between 20-25% cocoa solids along with cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, and lecithin (a type of fat). It tastes comparatively sweeter, with a bitter note of cocoa.
White chocolate: It contains no cocoa solids; is entirely made of milk, sugar, and cocoa butter.
Dark chocolate: It contains the most amount of cocoa (up to 80% of its weight) along with cocoa butter. It tastes a bit bitter and has a strong aroma of cocoa.
"The above observations suggest that dark chocolate is the best for your brain and health. It contains nutrients including flavanols, tryptophan, and is low in sugar content and calories. On the other hand, milk and white chocolate contain lesser amounts of cocoa and are high in sugar, leading to weight gain and obesity. However, you don’t have to renounce chocolates just yet-- at least not till the time dark chocolates exist," states Akanksha Mishra, M.sc Food and Nutrition & Certified Diabetes Educator, myUpchar.
Not one, not five, here are 15 good-as-hell reasons to go guilt-free!
1. IT IMPROVES BLOOD CIRCULATION & BLOOD PRESSURE
Were you aware that chocolate is good for your heart and blood since it may improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure? Well, now you know. "Chocolates contain chemical compounds called flavanols which stimulate the lining of your arteries to produce a gas called nitric oxide. This gas sends signals to the blood vessels to relax, which in turn lowers resistance to blood flow and helps reduce the possibility of blood clot formations," informs Dr Rashmi Gupta, Dentist at Practo.
2. A GREAT MOOD ENHANCER
While just the thought of chocolate brings a wide grin to your face, science provides an explanation to why it actually uplifts your mood. "Dark chocolate boosts the serotonin level (the feel-good hormone) in the body as the carbohydrates present in the form of sugar signal the body to produce more serotonin. Serotonin overlooks a number of functions in the body such as influencing your mood, helping move food through your intestines, and constricting blood vessels," says Dr Akanksha. "I recommend a dose of 1-2 blocks of dark chocolate when you feel low," she adds.
3. IT'S GOOD FOR THE BRAIN
A study suggests that chocolate consumption promotes brain function too. "While chocolate’s ability to increase blood flow to the brain can in itself make for better brain function, a research found that flavonoid in chocolate prevents the death of brain cells, thus reducing the risk of developing health ailments such as dementia and alzheimer’s disease," adds Dr Akanksha. (Click on the link to view the study:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432604/ )
4.IT PREVENTS AGAINST CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
"While adopting a healthy lifestyle; avoiding junk food, eating a high-fiber diet, avoiding cigarettes and tobacco, and exercising regularly can significantly decrease the risk of developing CVD, chocolates may also play a role in keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. A study on humans has drawn a correlation between cardiovascular health and chocolate consumption. The secret nutrient in chocolate is flavonoids, a type of healthy heart antioxidant that reduces free radicals and increases the blood flow in the body," adds Dr Akanksha. (Click on the link to view the study:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797556/#:~:text=High%20cocoa%20and%20chocolate%20consumption,and%20overall%20cardiovascular%20mortality8. )
5.IT MAKES YOU MORE ALERT
"The caffeine in chocolate acts as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. Studies have shown that depending on the level of intake, caffeine can help improve mental performance, especially the dimensions of alertness, attention, and concentration. For example, it helps in situations such as driving at night, or night-time studying, or working during the post-lunch dip in office," claims Dr Akanksha.
6. ARICH SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
"Flavonoid, which is present in chocolates, is a type of antioxidant which helps your body function more efficiently while shielding it against everyday toxins and stressors. Besides antioxidant activity, this essential element in chocolate works well as an anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic factor. Flavanols, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidins are antioxidants present in dark chocolate that help slow the growth of cancer cells," says Dr Akanksha.
7. IT HAS ANTI-AGEING PROPERTIES
The antioxidants in dark chocolate fight toxin and free radicals in your body that cause damage to skin cells. Not only do these antioxidants slow down the ageing process, but they also eliminate certain cancerous cells," says Dr Rashmi.
8.PROTECTION FOR YOUR TEETH
This one's for all the kids who've been chased by their mothers to brush. Dr Rashi informs us that dark chocolates contain theobromin which eliminate bacteria and harden tooth enamel. If you practice good dental hygiene, dark chocolates can actually lower your risk of getting cavities! Go tell your mom and put an end to the drama, once and for all.
9.IT CAN TREAT COUGHS
Theobromine, a mild stimulant also does wonders when it comes to suppressing coughs. "These chemical compounds block sensory nerves from the activity, and consequently stop the cough reflex," says Dr Rashmi. Now you know you need to gravitate towards chocolate rather than cough syrup.
10.IT ACTS AS A STRESS RELIEVER
"Researchers have been able to trace a direct correlation between those who eat dark chocolate regularly with lower levels of the stress hormone circulating in the blood," informs Dr Rashi. However, one must keep in mind that anything in excess is harmful to human health. Consuming dark chocolate in regulated quantities is advisable.
11.IT IMPROVES SKIN HEALTH
Dr Rashi states that the flavonoids present in dark chocolate increase your skin density and hydration and improve blood flow to the skin.
12.IT CAN REDUCE CHOLESTEROL
"Researchers have found that eating dark chocolates regularly lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is often referred to as the 'bad' cholesterol. The powerful antioxidants present in dark chocolate serve to protect against oxidative damage," states Dr Rashmi.
13. A RICH SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS
Yes, you heard that right. "Dark chocolate is enriched with an array vitamins and minerals that are vital for our body's functioning. It has a high concentration of magnesium, iron, potassium, and copper. While magnesium helps prevent high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other heart diseases, iron protects against anemia," claims Dr Rashmi.
14.IT'S GOOD FOR INSULIN RESISTANCE
"Contrary to popular belief, dark chocolate is a good option for those with diabetes as it has a low glycemic index. This translates to the fact that by eating it your sugar levels won't rise. Dark chocolates re-train your body to use the insulin effectively," she adds.
15. WELL BECAUSE IT'S CHOCOLATE, DUH
Enough said. I think we've managed to convince you.
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