It is a cruel truth that most of the things we love to eat are not good for us. For as long as we can remember, we have been told that chocolate is bad for us and that we should limit our intake. But, what if that turned out to be a myth – or at least partially untrue. What if chocolate could be healthy? Wouldn’t it revolutionise our lives? Finally, we could enjoy our favourite sweet treat without feeling guilty and having to go extra hard in the gym afterwards to make up for it.
There has been a lot of research into potential health benefits of chocolate and the results have been a mixed bag. This article is going to surmise some of the findings that have strong evidence backing them up to debunk some of the things we think we know about chocolate. Let’s answer this question once and for all: can chocolate be healthy?
Better Blood Circulation
Let’s start with the basics. When we talk about chocolate, we don’t mean the candy bars you get from the store on your lunch break. We are talking about dark chocolate that is at least 70% in strength. Dark chocolate, it has been discovered, can improve your blood circulation as it improves the flexibility of your arteries. It also prevents white blood cells from sticking to the sides – a known cause of blood clots.
Chocolate is Full of Minerals
It might be hard to believe, because it tastes so good, but chocolate is actually full of minerals that are healthy and good for your body. Zinc, potassium, selenium and iron can all be found in generous quantities in a 100g bar of dark chocolate. What's more, the flavonols found in chocolate are actually good for your skin and can protect it against harmful damage from the sun. Although don’t use chocolate as a substitute for sun cream!
It Can Help Weight Loss
Yes, you read that right and no, this isn’t a joke. There is serious evidence that suggests that consumption of good quality dark chocolate can actually aid weight loss. The research shows that if you take a small square of chocolate and let it melt on your tongue around 20 minutes before you eat, this will trigger a reaction in your body. This reaction essentially tells your body that you are full, meaning you are likely to consume less when you start eating properly. Repeating this at the end of the meal will then potentially reduce the risk of snacking later on.
Chocolate Can Make You Happy
At the end of the day, being happy is one of the healthiest things we can be and chocolate can help you achieve great heights of happiness. Chocolate contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which sends signals to your brain, encouraging it to release endorphins. These endorphins make you feel happy and that feel-good sensation can motivate you to go and do things, such as socialise, exercise or get work done.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the health benefits chocolate offers. So, next time you treat yourself to a few squares of chocolate, make sure it is dark chocolate and watch the guilt evaporate as you swallow it down.