Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne in young people, obesity, high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes. Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, there are a number of health benefits associated with this delicious treat. Next time you eat a piece of chocolate, you may not have to feel overly guilty about it, the following are 5 reasons why.
Dark chocolate contains hefty amounts of disease fighting flavenoids, antioxidants also found in red wine and many fruits and vegetables. In fact, it appears to have more flavenoids than any other food.
2. It Helps You Through PMS
There’s a reason we crave certain foods, such as chocolate, at that time of the month, chocolate releases calming endorphins that reduce anxiety which lifts moods and reduces water retention. But overindulging in sugar, salt and caffeine can backfire, causing bloating and fluid retention.
3. It May Lower Cholesterol
A small study found that daily consumption of cocoa flavanol-containing dark chocolate lowered cholesterol and improved blood pressure.
4. It May Prevent Pregnancy Complications
A chemical (theobromine) found in chocolate may reduce preeclampsia, a major pregnancy complication. The darker the chocolate, the better.Preeclampsia is primarily noted for raising blood pressure in pregnant women, and eating chocolate helps to lower this risk by up to 69 percent.
5. It Helps Prevent Heart Disease
People who regularly consume 70% dark chocolate show a marked improvement in blood flow, while no improvement is observed in those who eat “processed” chocolate, which contains very little cocoa paste. It seems that the positive effect of dark chocolate is linked to a property in its polyphenols that releases a chemical messenger, nitric oxide, which increases arterial dilatation, at the same time improving blood flow and reducing platelet aggregation.