There is nothing that excites me more then reading scientific studies. The crescendo that keeps me on the edge of my seat most always includes Flavanol’s and Polyphenol’s. Im serious! Every time I read about chocolate/cocoa in the news its good. Ok, maybe i am being facetious, its not an exciting read. Could you imagine Jack Ryan of Tom Clancy Fame staring in “A Clear and Present Polyphenol” Or “The Hunt for Red Flavanol” , exactly. Scientific studies are no where as exciting as eating chocolate, or reading a good thriller.
The thing is, it almost seems like collectively we’re looking for a reason NOT to eat chocolate. There seems to be a torch and pitchfork mob of scientist searching for the real truth why we should quit eating the Food of the Gods. Meanwhile, other food groups that we all know are artery clogging nastiness are glorified. Full disclosure; I am a fan of artery clogging nastiness like every other gastronomically motivated human. So why the hunt? Why the need to prove Chocolate and Cocoa are , um well good for us in moderation?
The short answer is, Chocolate and Cocoa are so amazing that even studying them is interesting. For good measure here are 9 proven Reasons to stop justifying your chocolate obsession and just enjoy the sweet stuff.
- Its good for your heart : It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What’s more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect.
- It can be beneficial to Diabetics : For people with type 2 diabetes, daily dark chocolate consumption of 20 grams per day (that was rich with polyphenols) helped increase the sensitivity to insulin. This is important for blood glucose control. Increasing insulin sensitivity may also help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. (1)
- It may prevent stroke : The study in Wednesday’s issue of the journal Neurology suggested that men who ate one-third of a cup of chocolate chips had a lower risk of stroke than those who didn’t eat any of the sweet treat.
- Its good for Pregnant mothers and babies: Katri Raikkonen at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues asked pregnant women to rate their stress levels and chocolate consumption. The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and “positively reactive” – a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter.
- It lowers Cholesterol: In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol.
- Its good for your Skin: The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin.The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration
- Its good for the Brain: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first dietary intervention study demonstrating that the regular consumption of cocoa flavanols might be effective in improving cognitive function in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment.
- It makes us Happy: Phenylethylamine, another family of chemicals, is found in chocolate in very small amounts. It is a naturally occurring substance with a structure that is closely related to synthetic amphetamines, which of course, are also stimulants. It is often said that our brain produces phenylethylamine when we fall in love. It acts by producing endorphins, the brain’s natural “feel-good” molecules.
- Its good for your Eyes: That’s because a recent study found that dark chocolate might improve your ability to see in low-contrast situations, such as poor weather.
Do you find yourself scrambling for a justification of why you just ate that bonbon ?