There’s no denying the fact that plenty of people love to eat chocolates. As a matter of fact, plenty of women take delight in enjoying a bar of chocolate from time to time. Knowing the reports about chocolate not being good for the health, it is enough reason why plenty of people maintain a good average of indulging in the treat.
Recently, however, more reports have been studied that eating chocolate does have its fair share of health benefits. While there are still a number of chocolate options that should be avoided, chocolate is not all that bad. There are some varieties of chocolate that provide benefits to the health and beauty. By opting for dark chocolate with a minimum of 70 percent cocoa content, you can get these benefits too!
Where does chocolate come from?
Chocolate comes from cacao beans. While it is difficult to exactly pinpoint when the cacao tree was discovered, many historians believe that the delicious treat has been in circulation for over 2000 years. There is much evidence that shows chocolate has been consumed over three or four millennia ago. Anthropologists have discovered cacao residue on pottery excavated in the Honduras as far back as 1400 B.C.E.
Despite the absence of a concrete date, historians believe that chocolate has long been considered as a valuable commodity. As a matter of fact, in pre-modern Latin America, they used cacao beans as a form of currency. A cocoa bean was enough for a tamale, while a hundred beans could be used to purchase a whole turkey.
Over the years, the process of turning cacao into chocolate has been considered as an art form; something that chocolatiers are proud of. The more artisan the chocolate is, the higher its price gets.
Apart from just having benefits to the health, cacao was perceived to had divine or magical properties. Aztecs and Mayans used to include the bean in sacred rituals including marriage, birth, and death. Today, however, not a lot of people know about the health benefits of eating chocolate. They simply consume the treat because of its delicious taste, not knowing there was more to it than just a good taste.
Here are the health benefits you can get when eating chocolate:
A 9-year Swedish study on over 31,000 women showed that those who ate between one or two servings of dark chocolate per week were able to minimize their risk for heart failure. Meanwhile, another study in Germany discovered that those who ate about a square of dark chocolate per day were able to lower their blood pressure and reduce risk for heart attack and stroke by up to 39 percent. Through these studies, the research proves that chocolate has cardiovascular benefits. Largely, this is because chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidant compounds known to increase flexibility on the arteries and veins.
Another effect that flavonoids produce in the body is that it increases the production of nitric oxide, which helps in controlling sensitivity to insulin. This was discovered in a study wherein participants were made to eat a candy bar of dark chocolate once per day for 15 days.
Another benefit chocolate has is that it helps individuals who feel pressured to be able to boost their brain power. Because chocolate contains flavanols, the effect of this is that it increases blood flow to the key parts of the brain over the next two to three hours. The result is a short term improvement of alertness and performance.
Helps in Cough Relief
Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical responsible for the feel-good effect that chocolate produces when it is consumed. For those who are suffering from cough, the chemical helps suppress the onset of cough through the vagus nerve in the brain.
Dark chocolate has been found to produce a more filling and satiated effect on the body. As a result, an individual’s craving for salty, sweet, and fatty foods is lessened. Ultimately, this leads to weight loss.
Another key component found in chocolate is serotonin, which is considered as a natural anti-depressant. By consuming chocolate, the individual gets to boost his happy mood because of the endorphins produced by the treat. For this reason, many reach for a bar of chocolate whenever they feel stress or depressed.
The secret to the health benefits produced by chocolate is because of pure cacao. When chocolate is combined with butter, sugar, and milk, it becomes unhealthy. Despite the fact that it makes chocolate less bitter and more enjoyable, it also adds calories and dilutes the benefits of cacao. If you would like to get the benefits of chocolate, you need to consume dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao.
The next time you feel stressed and you’re craving for a bar of chocolate, don’t feel bad about yourself. Just make sure that you get dark chocolate compared to other varieties