Rich, delicious, sweet and addictive, chocolates are everyone’s secret sinful pleasure. Most people are consumed with guilt when they indulge in this delectable delight, as chocolates are considered a calorie dense food. However, recent medical research has revealed the fact that consuming chocolates may actually be good for ones overall well being, as chocolates provide a host of exceptional health benefits.
Here Are 10 Proven Health Benefits Of Chocolates
Keeps Heart Healthy And Strong
Dark chocolate supports a healthy cardiovascular system by lowering blood cholesterol levels and also by reducing blood pressure readings. Cocoa solids, a primary ingredient in chocolates, are one of the richest plant sources of flavanol antioxidants. It has also been scientifically proven that cocoa flavonols, a beneficial phyto nutrient, keeps the cardiovascular system healthy, by boosting blood circulation to the heart. Consuming one small piece of dark chocolate every day can reduce the risk of stroke and other heart ailments by almost 39 percent.
Aids In Weight Loss
Dark chocolate contains a compound called Oligomeric Procyanidins. This compound is extremely beneficial to kick start the weight loss process. Chocolates are a well known metabolism boosting food. Boosting body metabolism levels also aids in weight loss. Additionally, eating a small amount of chocolate enhances the feeling of satiety. Chocolates also have a positive effect on the three important hormones which control appetite, namely Ghrelin, Leptin and Insulin.
Dark chocolates can reduce the risk of Type II diabetes. A new study has indicated the fact that dark chocolates contain a set of compounds called Oligomeric Procyanidins or PC’s. This particular compound held the greatest anti-diabetic bioactivities of the flavanols present in cocoa. Cocoa flavanols are associated with improved glucose regulation and reduced insulin resistance – factors which are found to be protective against Type II diabetes.
Eating chocolates, particularly dark chocolates, can reduce stress levels by lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. To control burgeoning stress levels it is advisable to eat one and a quarter ounces of dark chocolates regularly for two to three weeks. Additionally, dark chocolates increases the production levels of the hormones endorphin and serotonin – hormones produced naturally by the brain. Increasing the production of the neurotransmitters endorphin and serotonin has a positive effect on stress levels.
Chocolates provide a sweet solution to debilitating headaches including migraine headaches, hypoglycemic headaches and withdrawal headaches. Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine (43mg per 100gms). The caffeine in chocolates act as a vasodilator, enabling enhanced flow of oxygenated blood to the brain. This in turn helps relieve painful headache. Furthermore, chocolates also contain specific natural compounds which help to lower the levels of inflammatory chemicals that trigger incapacitating headaches.
Improves Brain Function
Medical studies have indicated that cocoa flavonols improves brain function significantly. Cocoa flavanol enhanced brain function by improving the flow of oxygenated blood to the key areas of the brain. Caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants which are found in cocoa, temporarily boosts brain function as well. In short, chocolates improve cognitive skills and general alertness for a short duration of time.
Helps Beat Persistent Cough
Chocolate has theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cocoa plant. The alkaloid theobromine is even more effective than codeine (the conventional cough medicine) to stabilize persistent coughs. Theobromine can effectively stop a coughing fit by blocking the action of specific sensory nerves.
Prevents Blood Clots
Chocolate can reduce the risk of life threatening blood clots in much the same way as an aspirin. Chocolate contains specific natural compounds which prevent clumping of blood platelets, which can lead to the formation of dangerous blood clots. Dark chocolates also improve blood flow. Lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow also reduces the risk of clot formation.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol Levels
Dark chocolates lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels by almost 5 percent. The cholesterol lowering property of chocolates can be ascribed to the presence of flavonoids. The antioxidant property of flavonoids reduced LDL cholesterol levels while simultaneously boosting the levels of HDL or good cholesterol.
Can Help Relieve Pain
The pain relieving property of chocolates can be attributes to the high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds which are present in cocoa. By blocking inflammation molecules, chocolates can effectively reduce the sensation of pain. Furthermore, the high amounts of the mineral magnesium in chocolates can also decrease chronic pain.