Here are some reasons (not excuses!) to eat a bit of yummy dark chocolate every once in a while.
Chocolate speeds up your metabolism
Although you won’t find it on the ‘good food list’ of most dieters, researchers have discovered that eating chocolate in moderation could actually help to keep you slim.
Studies suggest that eating dark chocolate can increase your metabolism, causing your body to work harder to burn off fat.
Chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants
Natural, unprocessed cocoa beans are packed with antioxidants (chemical compounds that protect your body against cell-damaging free radicals) and you might be surprised that dark chocolate provides micro nutrients such as potassium, zinc and iron.
Dark chocolate is one of the richest food sources that contain free radical-neutralising antioxidants, warding off some serious health problems. It actually contains 4x more antioxidants than green tea!
Chocolate is good for your teeth
Now this one you might really struggle to believe. But it really is true that dark chocolate (consumed in moderation!) really does have some benefits for your teeth.
Due to the vast amount of antioxidants found in dark chocolate, it can prevent periodontal disease (gum disease) and prevents bacteria known as streptococci from eating away at your tooth enamel. As well as this, the cocoa butter in dark chocolate coats your teeth, preventing plaque from sticking to them.
Chocolate can lower you blood pressure
Dark chocolate helps to relax the blood vessels so that your blood can easily travel to where it needs to go. However it’s important to note that only dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure, not white or milk chocolate.
Chocolate gives you energy
Chocolate is the ultimate snack for when you’re in need of a pick-me up to keep you energised for your exercise regime. Dark chocolate consists of a number of energy-boosting chemicals including caffeine and theobromine.
On top of this, chocolate is a brilliant source of chromium and magnesium, which are both important factors in the production of energy.
Chocolate can slow down the ageing of muscles
Again, this fact sounds far too good to be true. But research does suggest that small amounts of dark chocolate contain a plant extract known as epicatechin, which stimulates the same muscle response as vigorous amounts of exercise, which could help to slow down the aging of the muscles.
Chocolate makes you happy!
Sometimes when we’re in a bad or sad mood, we feel like we need a bit of chocolate to cheer us up. Chocolate is rich in mood-boosting chemicals and releases hormones known as endorphins that generate feelings of pleasure.
The magnesium found in chocolate can help with relaxation, and dark chocolate also contains a neurotransmitter known as anandamide which can help to regulate moods.
So as you can see, chocolate really does have some good benefits for your health. However, although this is brilliant news, the key to getting the most out of these benefits is moderation.
A small amount of chocolate every now and then might be good for you, but chocolate is by no means classed as a healthy food. Choose rich, 100% organic dark chocolate rather than milk or white chocolate. When cooking with chocolate, use dark chocolate or cocoa powder.