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Feb 01

Chocolate: the Love Drug and Why it’s Good for You

 

The Ancient Incas knew it, as does Bridget Jones…. there’s been nothing like chocolate to raise the spirits.

For many, chocolate is truly a soulful pleasure. Researchers have even reported that the number-one craving for women is chocolate.

For years, academics have tried to discover exactly what makes it so irresistible – speculating that key ingredients like cocoa beans, caffeine or any of its other 300 compounds can boost energy and libido.

But now scientists at Cambridge University have carried out brain scans that suggest a much more simple explanation. Chocolate is linked to feelings of wellbeing, similar to those one experiences when “in love” because it simply tastes so good. Cambridge neuroscientist Adrian Owen said the balance of the evidence suggested that it was more to do with the taste than any psychoactivechemicals.

Regardless of the conflicting scientific conclusions, one thing is for sure….. Chocolate makes us feel good!

Chocolate is also surprisingly good for health, especially for the heart.  Treating yourself to a small amount of chocolate regularly is definitely a health message I can get behind. Take a look at some of the surprising health benefits below.

5 Health Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate Decreases Stroke Risk

Canadian scientists carried out a study involving 44,489 people and found that people eating chocolate were 22 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who didn’t. In addition, those who had a stroke but regularly consumed chocolate were 46 percent less likely to die as a result.

Chocolate Boosts Heart Health

Regular chocolate eaters welcome a host of benefits for their hearts, including lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. One of the reasons dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy is its inflammation-fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.

Chocolate Fills You Up

Because it’s rich in fiber, dark chocolate can actually help keep you full, so you’ll eat less, says Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. Regular chocolate eaters might do themselves a favor by treating themselves to a bite instead of snacking on “11 other things first” he said.Dark chocolate does the trick much better than milk, according to a small study from the University of Copenhagen, and may even reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

Chocolate Boosts Your Mood

There’s no denying that indulging your sweet tooth every once in a while feels great. Enjoying food is part of enjoying life, points out HuffPost Healthy Living’s wellness editor, Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald.Chocolate eaters also report feeling less stressed.

Chocolate Improves Blood Flow

(which may prevent memory decline)

Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help keep the brain healthy and prevent memory decline in older people. The researchers said that hot chocolate can help preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain.

The lead author, Farzaneh A. Sorond, said:  “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

 

But here’s a word of caution: The health benefits of chocolate may disappear if you are adding the calories above and beyond your regular intake. This could mean you’re adding pounds along with the flavonoids. Dark chocolate is the most nutritious form of chocolate. Compared with milk chocolate, it contains more than double the amount of heart-healthy flavonoids, and less fat and additives.

Researchers from the University of California at Davis said it best in a scientific review on cocoa and chocolate flavonoids published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. They concluded that people may benefit from including a variety of flavonoid-rich foods as part of a healthful diet — and dark chocolate, in moderate amounts, can be part of this plan.

Sources:
Medical News Today

HuffPost Healthy Living
Web MD

1 comment

  1. Kami

    Thank you for this information. I find it useful.

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