The Deal with Chocolate
By: Meenu Johnkutty
We all have a reason to be happy today because our favorite treat may have a lot more benefits than we originally thought. Here are 5 reasons why giving into that occasional chocolate craving may be good for our health.
It’s our guilty pleasure, our kryptonite, our favorite candy of all time: chocolate!
1. Chocolate lowers cholesterol.
According to an article published in the The Journal of Nutrition, chocolate that contains plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) may help reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels. Chocolate was also shown to lower blood pressure as well.
2. Chocolate can delay or prevent memory decline.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could keep the brain healthy enough to reduce memory decline. Chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow where it is deficient is responsible for this phenomenon. Improving blood flow to areas in the brain where it’s most needed may play a pivotal role in keeping diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay.
3. Chocolate and heart disease.
French researchers published a study where they posited, based on observational evidence, that chocolate lowers the risk for heart diseases by a whopping one-third! This may be due in part to the flavonoids, or antioxidant compounds, found in dark chocolate especially.
4. Chocolate and stroke.
According to a Canadian study involving over 44,000 individuals, those who reported eating chocolate regularly were 22 percent less likely to suffer from stroke than those who didn’t!
5. Chocolate as a skin protective agent.
Compounds called flavonols that are found in chocolate can protect against damage caused by the sun by improving blood flow to the skin and increasing skin density and hydration. So, consuming a moderate amount of chocolate weeks or even months before hitting the beach may protect against skin redness caused by the sun.