The holidays are approaching, and I’m sure you’ve been a good boy or girl, so go ahead and treat yourself to some chocolate, without the guilt. That’s right, you don’t have to feel bad about treating yourself to a little chocolate this year, as long as it’s in moderation and the right kind of chocolate, you’ll actually be getting some health benefits too.
Chocolate may not be ideal for weight loss, but it can certainly improve some other aspects of your health. Treating yourself to a small amount of chocolate on a regular basis is a health message almost everyone can get behind, but keep in mind, not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate and even cocoa powder pack the most when it comes to health benefits, and with the holidays, it’s not going to be a problem for most of us to splurge on a hot mug of cocoa or a sweet treat at a holiday party.
What are the benefits of chocolate you ask? There are a few. a 2011 study done in Sweden, home of some of the worlds finest chocolate to boot, found that women who consumed more than 45 grams of chocolate per week were at a 20 percent lower risk of suffering a stroke to women who had 9 grams or fewer per week. The logic is simple, those who treat themselves to a regular dose of chocolate gain a variety of health benefits including lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL Cholesterol, and a lessened risk of suffering heart disease. Dark chocolate is the best for these benefits, it has inflammation-fighting properties which can reduce cardiovascular risks overall.
Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber which actually helps fill you up and results in eating less. Those who snack on a bite of dark chocolate regularly are probably doing themselves a favor by simply indulging on a bit of chocolate rather than reaching for 11 different things that don’t fill them up. The University of Copenhagen even found that snacking on a bite of chocolate reduced cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.
Got a cough? Skip the sugary lozenges and reach for chocolate instead. It contains theobromine which seems to calm the activity of the vagus nerve which is the part of the brain that actually triggers coughing fits.
One of the best benefits of chocolate, and one of the most obvious for those who snack on it regularly, is the fact that chocolate boosts your mood. Indulging your sweet tooth makes you happy, as does taking a moment to simply sit back and enjoy something in life. Those who regularly snack on chocolate often report feeling calmer and less stressed.
Sure, it’s still a sweet treat and should be eaten in moderation like anything else, but isn’t it great to know that a sweet treat that is so popular with so many people has so many wonderful benefits? For a more in-depth and scientific look at what’s in chocolate and how it can boost your health overall, head to this Huffington Post article.