Health Benefits of Chocolate
In providing advice to many people in regards to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sacrifice is a common theme come across when talking to people about their diet who want to lose weight. One of the first sacrifices many make when changing diet is to eliminate chocolate! But wait, let’s look at the health benefits of chocolate in more detail. Maybe we can have our cake, chocolate of course, and eat it too when it comes to being healthy.
Let’s look at some of the benefits you can receive by keeping chocolate in your diet.
Chocolate is high in antioxidants. Flavonols, a type of flavonoid, is only found on cocoa and chocolate. These flavonoids compounds occur naturally in plant foods and can act as antioxidants to help counteract the impact free radicals have inside your body. Studies show that antioxidants in cocoa and chocolate can reduce the buildup of plaque in our artery walls. A reduction of free radical damage in our bodies as a result of lifestyle and aging may also contribute to reducing the risk of cancer.
Dark Chocolate can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has been shown in studies to decrease blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure. Research shows that chocolate can help your arteries relax and widen, lowering blood pressure, promoting good blood flow and reducing the strain on the heart. Dark Chocolate consumed regularly has shown up to a 10 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, our bad cholesterol. Studies have shown that high levels of LDL Cholesterol can promote health problems and cardiovascular disease.
Chocolate is a low Glycemis Index food which is the measure of how quickly your blood sugar levels increase after eating certain types of food. Unlike other sweet foods, chocolate will not cause your blood sugar levels to rise then crash. The up and down of your blood sugars levels during a day can affect your mood and energy levels and even affect your weight management.
Chocolate can help make you feel better if you are feeling a depressed. It stimulates endorphin production, which creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. One study found that melting chocolate in your mouth produces feelings of pleasure longer than passionate kissing!
Chocolate is a good source of some of vital minerals. Copper, a critical mineral that aids in the absorption of iron and is a key component of enzymes that form skin-strengthening collagen. Magnesium deficiency can include leg cramps, migraines, fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, nausea and vomiting. Potassium is a key factor in affecting blood-pressure and stroke. Calcium which is the chief supportive nutritional compound for your bones and your teeth. Iron which helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles and other organs.
Chocolate milk can even be used as a post workout recover drink. Research has shown when compared to plain milk, water, or sports drinks, it has double the carbohydrates and protein content. The high water content helps replace the fluid lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. This would help replenish the tired muscles of endurance athletes such as swimmers, cyclists or runners.
But with all these great benefits for our health you have to remember that chocolate is still high in fat and calories. So how much chocolate can we eat per day? Some guidelines recommend up to 200 calories of discretionary calories per day. Balance is the key, making sure that you exercise portion control and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. As Charles M. Schulz says “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”