May 20, 2012

10 Reasons to Indulge Our Love of Chocolate.

We’ll just call that Reason Number 11.

Here are ten real reasons why chocolate is a great idea:

In today’s health conscious society, we’re told that sugar is bad for us and anything that tastes as sinful as chocolate should be avoided.

Well, I have good news. Not only is chocolate good for us, but it actually has quite a few major health benefits. As always, the key is moderation.

The following health benefits are derived from consuming small amounts of dark chocolate two to three times a week. And no, candy bars, milk chocolate, and white chocolate do not count. Health benefits can only be achieved by consuming dark chocolate with 15 to 30 percent cocoa. So, go ahead and indulge; in moderation of course. Let your love of chocolate work for you instead of against you.

1. Chocolate contains neutral fats (no cholesterol). Chocolate contains three types of fats. Oleic acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. Stearic acid is a saturated fat but one which research has shown has a neutral effect on cholesterol. Palmitic acid is also a saturated fat. Although palmitic acid is one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk, it is offset by the combination of the other two fats.

2. It lowers cholesterol. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

3. It contains phenyl ethylamine (PEA) which is the chemical the brain produces when we fall in love.

4. It contains neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters act like little messengers running around our brain telling the body what to do. Serotonin, one of the main neurotransmitters in the body, acts as an anti-depressant.

5. It has antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which damage cells, clog arteries, and contribute to chronic illness and aging.

6. It releases endorphins which are natural feel-good chemicals.

7. It contains calcium. In fact, it has more calcium than eight ounces of milk.

8. It contains flavonoids which are pigments found in plants that help reduce damage to the body. They help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide and are good for the heart.

9. Enhances cognitive function. It does this by increasing the blood flow in the brain.

And finally…

10. It just tastes good!

So, when that craving hits and you need to satisfy that ever insistent sweet tooth, don’t feel guilty. Go ahead and chuck the junk food for a piece of dark chocolate.






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Editor: Alexandra Grace

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