Written by Faye Reid
National Chocolate Day
“Seven days without chocolate makes one weak!”
A mood-enhancer and a romance-inducer, what more could you ask for? Health benefits? You have got to be joking! If you scoop Nutella straight outta the jar, the revelation is here, tell your mum to calm down, it’s not too bad after all! That’s not to say your ‘Picnic’ should be filled with guilty pleasures, which is just as well, considering the average Brit ‘chomps’ on 196g every week!
So why do we love chocolate so much? Research suggests that phenylethylamine (brain-active chemical) found in cocoa stimulates the same hormones and experience when we’re falling in love. No wonder, we all need ‘time out’ in the supermarket to decide which ‘dream’ were indulging on this evening!
Research has proven that chocolate with +70% cocoa has health benefits. The latest research has even found it helps keep your brain function from whirring into old age, preventing you to ‘flake’ away. In celebration of National Chocolate Day (October 28th), here are ten reasons to tuck in:
1. The Heart & Circulation
A recent study has suggested that Dark Chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries, whilst also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – both common causes of artery clogging.
2. Reduces The Risk Of Stroke
Research has found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke – by a staggering 17% average.
3. It’s Mineral Rich
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc and selenium. A 100g bar of dark (70% or more) chocolate provides 67% of the RDA of iron.
4. Reduces Cholesterol
Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Fabulous Skin
The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage (though you’d probably better still slap on some sun cream).
6. Reduced Waist Line
Really. A neuroscientist stated that a small square of good (+70%) chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.
Chocolate reduces stress in expectant mothers, and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents, according to literature.
8. May Prevent Diabetes
Mad I know, but cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. Dark chocolate, in moderation, might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
9. Good For The Brain
Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.
10. Gives You A ‘Boost’
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
As a chocolate lover I would also add that certain kinds of chocolate can be good for you: this is chocolate for which the raw materials have been grown with care by farmers who are properly rewarded for their work; then processed by people who take time and care in their work, and finished by chocolatiers who love what they do. It will not be mass-produced, and it may not be cheap. But it will be good for your heart and mind. Tuck into our High Protein Chocolate for even more benefits!