Today is International Chocolate Day, so put aside your diet for tonight and break out your slab of Dairy Milk. Here are five reasons that chocolate is good for you.
To those who say that eating chocolate isn’t good for you, we beg to differ. We know you can have too much of a good thing (and over snacking on chocolate can damage your teeth and all that), but numerous studies have found that eating chocolate – in reasonable amounts, of course – can be good for your health. Better still, the latest research indicates that indulging your chocolate obsession can making you smarter in the long run.
According to Cosmopolitan, in a study published in the journal Appetite, researchers analysed data from a Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) in which nearly 1,000 people between 23 and 98 years old were measured for dietary intake, cardiovascular risks, and cognitive function. From this information and a second, more specific analysis, they discovered that eating chocolate on a regular basis correlates to better cognitive brain function — including stronger working memory, spatial organisation, and reasoning skills among other improved performances.
These positive effects are thanks to cocoa flavanols, a subgroup of flavonoids that are found in chocolate. A higher percentage of these cocoa flavanols are found in dark chocolate (30 to 70%), so this is the option to nabe off the shelf if you’re looking to boost your brain power. Though, concentrated flavanols can also be found in grapes, apples, and even red wine if your palate is against the more bitter flavours.
Still not convinced? Below are five more reasons to eat it guilt-free:
1. Chocolate Makes You Live Longer
Researchers at Harvard University in the U.S. studied 8,000 participants for 65 years, and found that those who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month, lived almost a year longer than those who didn’t eat any. This is likely to be due to the fact that cocoa contains antioxidants, which prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol.
2. Eating Chocolate Reduces Your Sugar Cravings
A study from Tel Aviv University revealed that eating chocolate early in the day could help deter cravings for sweets and other unhealthy foods later on. Chocolate cake for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do! Not the whole thing, mind.
3. Chocolate Doesn’t Give You Spots
The word around the campfire used to be that eating excessive amounts of chocolate could give you acne, but it’s been proven that it doesn’t cause breakouts. Dark chocolate is very good for your skin. According to German scientists, the flavonoids found in dark chocolate protect women’s skin from the sun’s UV rays. This doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen, though.
4. Chocolate Makes You Feel Good
According to Science Focus, a study in the Journal Of Psychopharmacology found people who had a 42g dark chocolate drink a day felt more content than people who did not. Junee Sangani, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, explains why: “The improvement in mood that people can get from eating chocolate comes from the release of serotonin and endorphins – the feel-good chemicals – in the brain.” Happy days.
5. Chocolate Helps Ease Period Symptoms
Fulfilling your chocolate craving during that annoying time of the month is a good idea, who’d have thought it? There’s a reason chocolate is called comfort food, and it’s because chocolate releases calming endorphins that can reduce anxiety. It is also high in magnesium, reduces water retention and banishes the blues.