Easter Treats – The health benefits of chocolate
If you’re anything like us then Easter weekend means one thing and that’s CHOCOLATE!
Luckily for us Chocolate has recently been shown to have some great health benefits.
First off lets be clear, unfortunately a bar of dairy milk isn’t the chocolate we mean. The research into chocolate health benefits relates to dark chocolate. What you’re looking for is a high percentage of cocoa solids. This is less processed and contains less sugar than milk chocolate.
Here are a few facts about chocolate before the weekend.
- It’s great for your circulation & heart health.
A recent study found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries. It also prevents white blood cells from clinging to the walls of your veins and arteries.
- It reduces the risk of stroke
Researchers in Finland found that eating dark chocolate lowers the risk of suffering a stroke. In some cases this was up to 17 per cent!
- It's great for your micronutrients
Dark chocolate is packed with hard to get micronutrients like potassium, zinc and selenium. Its also packed full of iron, as well as tasting a lot better than other iron rich foods like spinach!
- It helps combat LDL (the bad) cholesterol
Eating good quality dark chocolate has been shown to reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease.
- It's good for mothers and babies
A study in Finalnd found that chocolate reduced stress in pregnant women, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents
- It may prevent diabetes
This is where we have to stress that we mean the low sugar high cocoa solid types of chocolate! It sounds mad, but cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Dark chocolate - in moderation - might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
- Chocolate is good for the brain
Dark Chocolate is rich in Flavanols. Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflamatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries like low-level concussion.
- Chocolate helps improve your mood
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates during periods of emotional sensitivity. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins giving your mood a boost!
More info on chocolate can be found from the Telegraph here.