Someone once said that when a friend is upset, you should hug them and offer them chocolate as soon as possible. Chocolate is an essential comfort food, everybody can agree on that, but is it actually good for your body?
Dark chocolate which has fewer additives and sugar than milk chocolate does indeed have many health benefits! Even the medics appear to be in agreement - dark chocolate of 70% cocoa solids or more is definitely good for us. So read on to find more reasons why you should enjoy a few squares of chocolate every now and then!
1. Improves circulation and lowers cholesterol
Dark chocolate has been shown to offer improved circulation. Of course, it has less fat than dairy chocolate, and eating fatty food clogs arteries. It apparently plays a part in preventing white blood cells sticking to the walls of arteries and therefore restores function to the blood vessels as a result. It also reduces LDL cholesterol, or ‘bad cholesterol’, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and lessens your risk of suffering a stroke.
2. Improves brain function
Apparently, dark chocolate can also improve your brain function. This is down to the flavenols, which have been shown to reduce memory loss. Flavenols prevent inflammation, so any disorder which is triggered by an onset of inflammation may well be relieved or lessened by the consumption of dark chocolate.
3. Provides you with minerals
Dark chocolate contains a number of minerals, including potassium, zinc and iron. Potassium is good for heart health and lowers blood pressure, among many other benefits. Zinc boosts immunity and is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Iron also boosts immunity, fights fatigue and assists the body in producing red blood cells.
4. Offers defence against obesity and diabetes
Dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, leading to a lower risk of diabetes and obesity. Makes sense, really. Lower sugar and additive content: lower risk.
5. Protects your skin
Even though you should be sensible and use sun cream as well, there is some evidence that the flavonols in dark chocolate provide some protection for your skin against the harmful effects of sunlight.
6. Dark chocolate as a dietary aid
According to one study, a square of dark chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before and after a meal can trigger the hormonal reflexes telling your body that it is full. In a similar way to the idea of drinking a glass of water before a meal, this will limit the amount of food your body thinks it needs, leading to an effective form of portion control.
7. Reduces stress
The higher the concentration of cacao is in a chocolate bar, the more positively it impacts the brain, memory, mood etc. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce stress in expectant mothers and their babies. It is more than a comfort food in those circumstances.
Organic raw chocolate with bee pollen
Our twist on the classic dark chocolate is to mix organic 70% dark chocolate with bourbon vanilla and bee pollen, which in itself has a list of health benefits a mile long and is often called a superfood. It contains no dairy, gluten or soy, and is safe for anyone with those allergies. So there you have it – no excuses not to enjoy a square or two of dark chocolate.