Monique Warner
2 minute read
29 Mar 2018
2:19 pm

5 fantastic health benefits of chocolate

Monique Warner

With Easter around the corner, it’s a relief to know that there are a few health benefits of chocolate.

Picture: iStock

Did you know that dark chocolate, containing at least 60% cocoa solids, is known to protect the heart?

While it’s no excuse to pig out, it’s good to know that there are proven health benefits associated with eating chocolate.

Here are a few more amazing reasons to enjoy a guilt-free treat:

1. Stabilises sugar levels

Brigham Young University researchers found that certain compounds in cocoa help your body release more insulin and respond to increased blood glucose better. The researchers recommend sources of cocoa that are low in sugar.

2. Boosts your brain

Cocoa is a rich source of flavanols, which are natural compounds that have neuroprotective effects. In other words, it works wonders for the brain.

In fact, research has found that relatively long-term daily cocoa flavanols consumption (ranging from five days up to three months) greatly improved attention, processing speed, working memory and verbal fluency.

3. Chocolate helps you slim down

It sounds counterintuitive, but eating chocolate could be good for your waistline.

A study by the University of California found that people who regularly enjoy chocolate are slimmer than those who don’t.

Not only were the regular chocolate eaters slimmer,  but they did not eat fewer total calories a day or exercise more than those who consumed less chocolate.

4. Helps beat sleep deprivation

No wonder chocolate is what we crave when we’re tired.

Of course, there is no replacement for a good night’s sleep, but research has found that consuming cocoa counteracts the cognitive impairment linked to a lack of sleep in women.

5. Takes a bite out of stress

Feeling frazzled? Chocolate could be the perfect daily prescription.

Research by the American Chemical Society found that eating just 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduces stress hormones significantly.

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