It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: research has found that chocolate lovers are more likely to have fewer chronic health issues than those who don’t eat it!
The study by the American Heart Association also found the highest number of chocolate lovers are young and physically active. But before you go on a binge, take some advice.
‘It needs to be good-quality chocolate, which is dark chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70 per cent or more,’ says Margaret Hays, accredited practising dietitian and Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson.
Here’s what else the tasty sweet stuff can do...
...Boost essential minerals
‘Cocoa contains high amounts of magnesium, iron, riboflavin, copper and manganese, which assist with improving overall health. Magnesium helps with relaxing blood vessels, improving circulation and blood flow,’ says The Healthy Chef and author of Healthy Baking, Teresa Cutter.
...Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke
Cocoa is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world, including a type called flavonoids, which are also found in tea, red wine and some fruits and vegetables. A study published in the journal Heart found that people who ate 16g to 100g of chocolate a day had a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who didn’t eat it at all.
memory and mood
Eating cocoa-rich chocolate can increase brain function by boosting blood flow, and have beneficial effects on your reasoning, intellect, memory and recall, according to a study by Loma Linda University in California. ‘Dark chocolate also contains serotonin, which acts as an antidepressant,’ Margaret says.
...Help you lose weight
Yes, really! According to research from the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, and can lessen our cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
‘Remember though, that chocolate is kilojoule-dense – it has lots of energy in small amounts. Only buy small serves, so you’re not tempted to eat a whole block,’ Margaret advises.
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