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Chocolate



Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, a guilty pleasure perhaps, and the good news is that the right kind of chocolate can actually be good for you…


Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which literally means ‘food of the gods’. And, historically, chocolate was so prized, cacao seeds were used as a form of currency (and, of course, some enterprising sorts even found a way to make counterfeit cocoa). It turns out those Mayans and Aztecs knew a thing or two because modern scientific research is finding new ways in which chocolate – good quality chocolate, at least – can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to your health. The healthiest forms of chocolate are dark chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) and cacao nibs, the original, natural form. (Just in case you are wondering, there are no health benefits for milk or white chocolate, and any of the other processed sweetened stuff.) Here’s what the 'good' type of chocolate can do for your health.


FIGHTS AGAINST DISEASE

Dark chocolate and cacao nibs are high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage the cells in your body. Two groups of antioxidants found in dark chocolate are flavonoids and polyphenols – and they’re found in greater amounts in chocolate than either tea or red wine. The higher the percentage of cocoa in your chocolate bar, the greater the number of antioxidants.


GOOD FOR HEART HEALTH

Research also shows the flavonols in dark chocolate have a positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart and making blood less sticky and able to clot.


MAY HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL

The polyphenols in chocolate are thought to be involved in cholesterol control, potentially lowering both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.


BETTER BRAIN FUNCTION

Eating chocolate also increases the flow of blood to the grey matter in the brain. It’s been suggested that cocoa flavonols would benefit conditions associated with reduced blood flow to the brain, including dementia and stroke. A study of the elderly that looked at consumption of flavonols (in dark chocolate, tea and red wine) lead to better cognitive function.


MAKES YOU HAPPY

The essential amino acids in dark chocolate help increase the production of the happy hormone serotonin, which can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. Chocolate also contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which occurs naturally in your body and gives you the same boost you feel when you fall in love!


Sign up for my monthly newsletter by clicking here - https://www.michelledeanhealth.com/health-weight-loss and I’ll share with you some healthy recipes, so you can get your chocolate hit without a side order of guilt.

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