5 Weird Reasons To Eat More Chocolate

5 Weird Reasons To Eat More Chocolate
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Many of chocolate’s superpowers –cutting stress, boosting your mood, helping you cope with PMS — are all well known.

But what about its lesser-known health properties? Recent studies show that indulging in chocolate can give you a truck-load of health benefits, ranging from heart health to even keeping you thin!

“Chocolate has a well-deserved health halo,” says Beth Reardon, director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. “But not all chocolate is created equal.”

Here are 5 weird reasons to eat more chocolate – not that you needed any more excuses — and also 5 tips for boosting its health benefits.

1.Chocolate Boosts Your Vision

In a recent British study, young adult participants were asked to eat either dark or white chocolate,  then tested their visual contrast sensitivity ( ability to read light-colored words on a light-colored background) and motion sensitivity ( ability to detect moving dots on a moving background). The participants came back later to try the other type of chocolate and retake the tests. The results showed that, relative to white chocolate, dark chocolate better boosted scores on both tests and also improved spatial memory.

Picking out moving dots on a computer screen isn’t an essential task for most of us, but what about driving at night? Being able to detect motion in low-contrast situations is a pretty important part of driving safely.

The authors suggested that the effects of chocolate on vision might be even greater in older adults, who generally have a harder time distinguishing contrasts.

Tip 1: Reardon says if you’re going for a chocolate bar, choose one that’s both 72 percent cacao or above, and organic, since chocolate is a heavily-sprayed crop. Aim for half to one ounce per day — about a two-inch square of most chocolate bars.

2.Chocolate Eases Chronic Coughs

In a small British study in 2005, participants were asked to inhale capsaicin, the stuff that makes chili peppers spicy, and then were given various potential cough suppressants. The one that worked best? You guessed it — Hot cocoa.

Researchers found that ‘Theobromine’, a derivative of chocolate, worked better than Codeine to stop coughing. This was probably because of its effect on the vagus nerve, which links the brain to the stomach, heart, and other important organs.

Based on these findings, a British company is working to develop a cough syrup based on the compound that would have none of the drowsiness-inducing side effects of codeine-based syrups — and might taste better, too.

Tip 2: Whether you’re taking cocoa for a cough or just to enjoy, be sure to choose non-Dutch-processed cocoa, usually labeled “100 percent cocoa” or “natural cocoa.” Dutch process alkalizes the chocolate, removing some of the beneficial flavonols. It’s OK for baking but not as good for enjoying a hot cup of cocoa.

3.Chocolate Protects Your Skin

A German study in 2006 found that the flavonols in dark chocolate can protect skin from the harmful effects of UV light. A 2009 study in Britain found similar results but noted that the levels of flavonols required to protect your skin are higher than those found in most standard chocolate. The special, high-flavonol chocolate used in the study increased blood flow and moisture content in the skin, helping to keep skin healthier and better looking.

Tip 3: When choosing a bar of chocolate, look for one with the fewest ingredients possible. “You don’t want sugar to be the first or second ingredient.”
“Sugar negates the health benefits of the powerful antioxidants in chocolate.” Instead, look for a bar that lists cocoa solids or cocoa mass as the top ingredient. Or sprinkle a handful of bitter cocoa nibs and enjoy chocolate granola. Also add to trail mix, or cookie dough. You’ll get the health benefits of chocolate with no added sugar.

4.Chocolate Prevents Diarrhea !

If you had a bad case of the runs in 16th-century South America, you probably would have been given chocolate to ease your symptoms.

In 2005, a collaborative study between the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California, and Heinrich Heine University in Germany found the scientific evidence to support the ancient treatment — the flavonoids in chocolate can inhibit a protein called CFTR, which can cause the extra intestinal fluid secretion characteristic of diarrhea.

Tip 4: Not feeling up for something sweet? Try using chocolate in main dishes, whether as an ingredient or a rub for short ribs. “It’s healthy for us to think outside the box in terms of using cocoa,” says Reardon. “We tend to think of chocolate as a sweet dessert, but an unsweetened chocolate is actually more savory.”

 

5.Chocolate Protects Your Heart

A 2011 meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal looked at more than 100,000 study participants in 7 different studies and found that eating chocolate cuts the risk of various cardiovascular diseases by a whole third.

Separate studies have found that chocolate can:
– lower blood pressure,
– improve blood vessel health, and help
– regulate blood sugar.

What does that say about taking drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes??

Tip 5: Want extra bonus health points? Have a few dark chocolate-covered cherries, almonds, or ginger slivers. You’ll get a compound effect from the chocolate combined with these other healthy ingredients.

Translated, chocolate means “ Food of the Gods”.
It’s no wonder that the Gods kept it for their own food.

So what are you waiting for??
Indulge – and stop feeling guilty!

Chocolate is god sent.
It’s GOOD for you.

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