When it comes to living a healthy life, there are always differing views on what benefits the body or hurts the body most. Using a corporate wellness plan and talking to a physician about the specifics is always a good idea when beginning a lifestyle change.
Another good rule of thumb when starting a new healthy lifestyle is to exercise, cut out trans fats, and cut out sugar. Thankfully for those with a sweet tooth, recent studies have shown that eating chocolate might be good for more than just mending a broken heart.
Of course, chocolate candy bars are still filled with sugars and fats that do the body more harm than good. But chocolate in its purest form or dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa does in fact benefit the body.
And this god news comes just in time for Valentine’s Day—the chocolate lover’s favorite holiday.
1. Sweet Weight Loss
Surprisingly chocolate has been shown to help your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Of course, adding an excessive amount of dark chocolate into a diet will not aid in weight loss, nor will eating dark chocolate without a healthy diet or regular exercise regimen aid in weight loss. But, dark chocolate is filling and can help curb your apetite. When craving something fatty, salty, or sweet, eating a piece of dark chocolate reduces the craving by filling the body up and satisfying your taste buds.
2. Help Prevent Strokes
A Swedish study in 2011 discovered that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate a week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke than those who cut out chocolate or most chocolate.
3. Heart Disease, Too
In that same Swedish study, more than 31,000 women cut their risk of heart failure by eating one or two servings of dark chocolate weekly. For those who have a bigger sweet tooth, a German study discovered that those who ate a square of dark chocolate a day lowered their risk of heart attack by 39 percent. The flavonoids and antioxidant compounds within dark chocolate increase the flexibility of veins and arteries which lowers blood pressure.
4. Do It For The Kids
Studies have shown that those who indulged in chocolate during their pregnancy handled stress better than those who cut it out of their diet. Furthermore, a Finnish study found babies born from chocolate-eating mothers were less fussy and overall happier.
5. Deterring Diabetes
An Italian study found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate increase nitric oxide production which helps sustain insulin sensitivity to help ward off the development of diabetes.
6. Stress Reduction
In stressful seasons, chocolate tends to be the first thing people turn to. But, as it turns out, that is not such a bad thing. Indulging in a piece of chocolate when anxious or stressed can reduce stress hormone levels.
7. Makes Your Brain Smarter
Dark chocolate really is a super food because the flavanols boost blood flow to key areas of the brain which improves focus and overall performance. When cramming for a big exam or preparing for an office presentation, snacking on dark chocolate relaxes the body and keeps the brain alert.
For the next sweet tooth craving, dig into a bag or bar of dark chocolate and reap the health benefits. Treat yourself with the gift of chocolate and savor the health benefits this sweet treat offers.