Need A Reason To Enjoy That Chocolate? Here Are 10 Scientific Benefits You Didn't Know About
Theobroma Cacao, the Latin name for chocolate, means “Food of the Gods” for a reason. It’s a heavenly way to lift your performance. Who doesn't love chocolate?
Even if it's not your favorite sweet treat, you can probably agree that it conjures thoughts of love, pleasure, and reward. But in case you need one more reason or 10 to celebrate chocolate, just look to science.
Americans eat nearly 18 percent of the world's chocolate confectionery.
According to estimates from Euromonitor, Americans consumed almost 18 percent of the world's chocolate confectionery by value in 2015 — or around $18.27 billion worth. Despite the report, Americans aren't world leaders in chocolate consumption.
The Swiss, who live in the home of Lindt and Toblerone, eat more than 20 pounds each of chocolate a year; Germans and Austrians followed closely behind, clocking in at about 17.5 pounds of the sweet stuff. In fact, people from the U.S. rank 20th in the world.
Ten scientifically established health benefits of good chocolate:
Studies suggest that it could lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, help control blood sugar and slash stress. Here are ten scientifically established health benefits of good chocolate:
1. It's good for the heart and circulation.
A recent study found that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility of the arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels - both common causes of artery clogging.
2. It reduces the risk of a stroke.
Researchers in Finland have found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke - by a staggering 17 percent average in the group of men they tested.
3. It's mineral-rich.
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial minerals such as potassium, zinc, and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70 percent or more) choc provides 67 percent of the RDA of iron.
4. It reduces cholesterol.
Consumption of cocoa has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of “good” cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. It's good for your skin.
The flavonols in dark chocolate can protect the skin against sun damage (though you'd probably better still slap on some sun cream).
6. It can help you lose weight.
Chocolate can help you lose weight. Really. Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good choc melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that say “I’m full,” cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.
7. It's suitable for mothers and babies.
A Finnish study found that chocolate reduced stress in expectant mothers and that the babies of such mothers smiled more often than the offspring of non-chocolate-eating parents.
8. It may prevent diabetes
It sounds mad, but cocoa has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. So dark chocolate - in moderation - might delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
9. Chocolate is good for the brain.
Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people, and the anti-inflammatory qualities of dark chocolate have been found beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.
10. Chocolate makes you feel better.
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
Facts you didn't know about chocolate.
Here are a few things you didn't know about chocolate:
1. It takes two to four days to make a single-serving chocolate bar.
2. The French celebrate April Fool’s Day with chocolate-shaped fish, or “Poisson d’Avril.”
3. Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia.
4. The price of cocoa can fluctuate daily–affecting farmers’ incomes.
5. The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature, which is why it melts in your mouth.
6. Champagne and sparkling wines are too acidic to pair well with milk or dark chocolate. Try pairing a sweet bubbly with white chocolate and red wine with dark. In general, you want to match the sweetness level of the wine with the sweetness level of the chocolate.
Regardless as to why we're eating so much chocolate in comparison, though, there's a problem: The world's chocolate supply isn't inexhaustible — and indeed, the end might be approaching a lot sooner than we think.
Unless we make some significant changes in the cocoa industry, start taking environmental issues significantly more seriously and maybe toning it down on the gratuitous consumption of the sweet treat, chocolate will be in big trouble.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not treat yourself, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.