Health Benefits of Chocolate

Erin Benjamin 

If you are like most people who are addicted to chocolate, you might not be aware that chocolate has many health benefits. However, before you start eating ten chocolate bars a day, you need to know that the more chocolate is processed, the less healthy it is.

This is the reason why raw cacao products are now so popular. Also, take note that to have the most health benefits it is best to eat non-raw dark chocolate. Just make sure that it doesn’t contain many added unhealthy ingredients like sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Also, take note that moderation is very important just like in everything else and too much is never really good. Let’s take a look at the different health benefits of chocolate.

Rich in Antioxidants

Health Benefits of ChocolateAmong the top health benefits of chocolate is the fact that it is a rich source of antioxidants. Cocoa is rich in a type of flavonoid, often called flavanols. This can only be found in chocolates and cocoa.

Flavanoids are naturally found in plants and these compounds act as antioxidants and assist in preventing free radical damage to the body. The fact of the matter is that dark chocolate contains about eight times the amount found in strawberries—which are known as one of the richest foods in antioxidants.

Natural Antidepressant

Chocolate also contains serotonin which is a natural antidepressant. It also stimulates the production of endorphins which creates a natural feeling of happiness. Next time you’re depressed, try eating a serving or two of dark chocolate. Just don’t eat the whole bar unless it’s okay for you to gain weight.

Cancer Fighting Properties

Among the most notable health benefits of chocolate is its cancer fighting properties. Several studies indicate that chocolate is one of the best foods for fighting cancer along with red wine, garlic, blueberries, etc.

First of all, chocolate inhibits cell division which is a big part of developing cancer. Secondly, the chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties. There are still many researches being conducted on how chocolate fights cancer.

Brain Health

Several studies have also shown that dark chocolate is beneficial to the brain. A research conducted at John Hopkins University indicated that it potentially helps in preventing further damage to the brain after the occurrence of a stroke by protecting the nerve cells. Also, researchers at the renowned California Salk Institute discovered that epicatechin, a chemical found in chocolate can improve memory.

Boosts Heart Health and Lowers Stroke Risk

If you’re still unconvinced that chocolate is a health food, you need to be aware that it is not just beneficial to the heart but can also decrease stroke risk. Because of the inflammation-fighting properties of chocolate, it can reduce cardiovascular risk.

It can also lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Also, in a Swedish study conducted recently, it was found that women who consumed at least 45 grams of chocolate weekly had a 20% lower risk of stroke.