#1 Chocolate keeps you full longer
Neuroscientist Will Clower says chocolate before and after a meal can help you to lose weight – and now he is our hero. He suggests a small square of good chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full”, reducing the amount of food you will subsequently consume. Finishing a meal in the same way could reduce subsequent snacking too.
Another study quantified this by giving participants a 100 g serving of either milk or dark chocolate two hours before being served an all-you-can-eat lunch. Ingestion of dark chocolate was correlated with a 17 per cent lower calorie intake at the following meal, compared to the milk chocolate group.
#2 Chocolate may lower your risk of cholesterol
The Journal of Nutrition carries an interesting article about the results of a study done to determine whether dark chocolate could have any effect on the LDL cholesterol levels. They found that when subjects were given bars of dark chocolate with plant sterols and flavanols, they were getting lower scores on their cholesterol levels.
#3 Chocolate makes you look younger
A 2006 study in The Journal of Nutrition shows that dark chocolate can increase blood flow. and even increase skin density and hydration. Individuals consuming the chocolate also noticed greater protection from UV rays and decreased roughness. The world’s longest living woman who lived to age 122 was thought to have lived for so long due to consumption of olive oil, wine, and dark chocolate.
Forget the sugary milk or white choc block – although delicious, they’re skin-saving benefits are still up for debate, but dark chocolate could be just the think your tired skin needs. Dr Stefanie Williams, a dermatologist and medical doctor, encourages eating good quality dark chocolate for all its skin replenishing antioxidants which protect against the free radical damage that causes wrinkles and premature ageing. Say no more!
#4 Chocolate can inspire us to fall in love
It’s no accident that chocolate and romantic encounters go hand-in-hand. In a study published by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researches tested the effect of sweet foods on romantic perception, concluding that we are likely to feel more amorous toward a partner (real or imagined) after eating chocolate.
Similarly, previous studies have revealed that chocolate makes us feel good, releasing the pleasure chemical dopamine to our brain, which is a similar to feeling to falling head over heels in love.
#5 Lowers your blood pressure
You may not know it but having the right amount of Nitric Oxide in your body can help your arteries to relax. That will, in turn help to take some of the pressure off them and the result is a lower BP count. Just another benefit of the dark chocolate flavanols which help to produce this vital Nitric Oxide.
#6 May help with blood circulation
Normally you take an aspirin to help prevent blood clotting and to improve circulation. Studies now show that chocolate can have a similar effect.
#7 Improves heart health
Swedish scientists found that women who had the highest consumption of chocolate (about two bars a week) had a 20 per cent lower risk of stroke. Researchers in Italy found that people who eat the ideal amount of 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day have lower levels of C-reactive protein in the blood. A marker for inflammation in the blood, C-reactive protein can indicate someone is at a higher risk of heart disease or stroke.
#8 Promotes eye health
Scientists with the University of Reading in England tested the vision of 30 men and women before and a few hours after eating a chocolate bar. Half received white chocolate and half received dark chocolate. Individuals who consumed dark chocolate performed better on vision tests than initially and better than those who consumed white chocolate.
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#9 May prevent diabetes
Cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. So dark chocolate – in moderation – might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
#10 Helps boost brain function
Chocolate could also improve cognitive performance. “For the first time, regular cocoa flavanol consumption has been shown to positively affect cognitive function in older adults with early memory decline,” said the author of one study. Italian researchers also found in another study that individuals consuming a moderate and larger amount of a cocoa flavonol beverage had enhanced hand-eye coordination, verbal memory, and task-switching.
READ MORE: The Best Foods For A Healthy Brain, According To A Nutrition Scientist