Chocolate is one of the world's favorite treats. Despite its reputation as an unhealthy indulgence, rumored to cause skin breakouts and unwanted weight gain, have no fear! Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate have health benefits to enjoy along with the pleasure of eating it.
An extensive study found that those who ate chocolate as a regular part of their diet benefited with lower LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and were at a lower risk for heart disease. Dark chocolate is especially great at fighting inflammation, reducing overall cardiovascular risk, too.
Like the boosted heart health, the chances of having a stroke are reduced by around 20 percent for those who eat chocolate regularly. The chances of losing your life as a result of a stroke are lowered by over 40 percent.
Antioxidants protect us on a cellular level from damage caused by free radicals. This damage leads to oxidative stress, which correlates with cancer, arthritis, stroke, immune deficiency, emphysema and many other life-threatening diseases. Recently, many experts have been impressed with the antioxidants that can be gained through chocolate consumption.
Have you ever heard of filling up on milk? Chocolate can be even more effective. Depending on the type of chocolate, a varied amount of fiber can be found (dark chocolate contains double the fiber of milk chocolate), which helps a person eat less because they stay full longer. Chocolate also reduces cravings for fatty, sweet and salty junk food.
Eating chocolate greatly lowers stress levels in a person and quickly lifts the spirits of someone feeling down, due to its "feel good" capabilities. It also makes people feel much more alert and awake, leading to higher performance on everyday tasks on the job or in school. One British study found their participants performing better at counting tasks as a result of their chocolate fix.
Due to the antioxidant flavonoids found in chocolate, your skin will benefit from increased UV protection, which will keep it looking more youthful. Also, due to the lower average stress that chocolate eaters report, and the decreased craving for unhealthy junk food, chocolate lovers tend to age much better than the average person.
The main ingredient in chocolate is cacao, which is rich in anti-clotting properties. This improves blood flow and circulation, especially in the brain. Eating chocolate is thought to help prevent memory decline and improve vision because of this increased blood flow to the brain and retinas.
This does not mean a person should start gorging on chocolate all the time. Moderation is key. Chocolate, both dark and milk, still contain high calories, lots of fat, and sugar, too much of which can lead to tooth decay and weight gain.
Overall, dark chocolate is much healthier and more beneficial in all categories than milk chocolate. Remember to keep a varied diet, and always read the nutrition label. Try to purchase chocolate that contains higher cacao content in order to receive the biggest possible health punch from these delicious treats.