Best News Ever: Chocolate is Actually Good for You!
Picture healthy foods. Let us guess … veggie parade? Of course, standouts like kale and broccoli will always be upfront — but be sure to save some room for chocolate. That’s right, the sweet stuff can actually be nutritious, too. Here’s how chocolate is good for you.
1. It makes you happy.
That feeling you get when you see, smell and taste chocolate? That’s your brain taking you to your happy place. Chocolate’s unique properties boost the feel-good chemicals in your brain like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
2. It may help control your appetite.
No, really. A study on dark chocolate found that people who ate half an ounce of dark chocolate every day for two weeks lowered insulin resistance by 50 percent. That’s a big deal because it keeps blood sugar steady and keeps you from getting hangry. (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/10/health/chocolate-health-benefits/index.html)
3. It can boost heart-healthy cholesterol.
Chocolate is healthy for your heart? You bet. The sweet stuff’s main ingredient, cacao, has polyphenols. That’s a substance found to boost the good kind of cholesterol and knock down the bad kind. Better cholesterol means stronger cardiovascular health.
4. It makes your skin happy.
Using chocolate in facials might be trendy, but your skin will benefit more if you actually eat it. Chocolate is healthy for your skin because it’s got plenty of nutrients called flavanols. In fact, no other food on earth has as many of them. That’s great news for your complexion; flavanols have been shown to increase skin hydration and even reduce the effects of sunburn.
5. It may help your gut work better.
You’ve probably heard about probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that keep your gut feeling sassy and efficient. But to be as healthy as possible, probiotics themselves need to eat and what they consume is called prebiotics. Guess what’s a great source of prebiotics? That’s right, chocolate. By having the good stuff, you’ll be improving your digestion.
6. It can help slow the aging process.
Studies have suggested that chocolate has a big effect on telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of our chromosomes. Like those plastic doohickeys on shoelaces, telomeres prevent fraying. That can slow down major and minor age-related health issues like heart disease, memory loss and osteoporosis. Willy Wonka was right - chocolate does keep you young!
7. It helps lower stress.
Swiss researchers (who else?) found that eating just an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day lowers cortisol, the hormone that zooms to high levels when you’re feeling frazzled. Stress management through chocolate? Sign us up!