Chocoholics take heart – literally that is. Seems that a bit of a chocolate bar might actually be good for your ticker.
Dark chocolate, not that dreamy milk chocolate that melts in your mouth. It’s a comfort food that we can all live with – in moderation of course.
Several studies have concluded that it’s the flavonoids in dark chocolate that are beneficial. These are the substances in plants that give fruits and vegetables their health benefits.
The authors don’t suggest that you go out and consume five or six candy bars, as the sugar and fat content in a typical candy bar would have a negative effect on your health.
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients. It’s made from the seed of the cocoa tree and is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
Dark chocolate seems to improve brain function. Various research studies, conducted in the U.S. and Switzerland, have concluded that chocolate flavonoids give short bursts of energy to the brain. Besides combating fatigue and sleep deprivation, it may also improve cognitive function among the elderly.
Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain and contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.
Some experts say that epicatechin, found in cocoa beans, may be as important as penicillin. It’s believed that epicatechin improves circulation and relaxes blood vessels.
A Central American Indian tribe, the Kuna, drink up to 5 cups of cocoa water each day. They exhibit less high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and stroke than people in more developed countries.
According to the International Journal of Medical Science, the Kuna were:
Five times less likely to die as a result of heart disease
25 times less likely to die from cancer
10 times less likely to die from the effects of diabetes
13 times less likely to die from a stroke
In addition, a research team in Finland has been studying a group of Helsinki executives. Their findings among those born between 1919 and 1934 are interesting. The chocolate-lovers in the group tended to be leaner. They had a lower incidence of diabetes. And they were better educated than those who consumed other sweets. They also tended to be happier and suffered less depression. Maybe because eating chocolate also releases endorphins, which produce pleasurable feelings.
So go ahead and indulge in some dark chocolate. It just might make you feel better now, and many years into the future.