The Good Side of Chocolate!

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I recently visited a new pastry shop which had the most interesting and innovative tag lines ever – ‘Why fall in love when you can fall in chocolate!’ Now that really is saying something. Chocolate has for long been hailed as food fit for the Gods and we just couldn’t agree more. Chocolate has always had us salivating at its mere sight, be it in any way, shape or form – everything from chocolate ice cream to chocolate donuts to plain, old chocolate bars. And resisting this heavenly food can be quite a task for those who are watching their weight or are trying to eat healthy. What I say is that life without chocolate just isn’t worth it and in order to convince you guys and bring you on my side; here are some fun and factual information about these little pieces of goodness!

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1. Study after study after study hails the health benefits of dark chocolate – and who are we to argue with such yummy results! Dark chocolates contain a high percentage of cacao, which is a disease killing bullet as it’s packed with chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine. Doctors state that as long as the cacoa ( or cocoa, which is cacao in its roasted form) percentage in your chocolate is high – something ijn the vicinity of 60-70 percent – you can reap benefits from eating small amounts fairly regularly, the upper limit being around four bars of dark chocolate a week.

2. Some more delicious studies claim that chocolate is good for your heart and has some significant cardiovascular benefits to boast about. There was a study conducted in Sweden over a period of 9 long years where 31,000 women were given one to two serving of dark chocolate a week – results showed that they cut their risk of heart diseases by a third! Now, that’s something isn’t it? Another long term study in Germany showed that women who regularly consumed chocolates lowered their blood pressure, reduced the risk of heart attack as well as strokes by a staggering 39 percent. That right there is a triple whammy, my friends.

3. We love the researchers at Copenhagen as their studies show how dark chocolate can actually aids in – hold your breath – weight loss. Their study shows how the dark counterpart of chocolate is more filling than its light colored counterpart. Hence it aids in reducing the cravings for more sweet, salty and fatty foods fairly quickly.

4. This is for all the mothers-to-be out there – women who ate chocolate daily during their pregnancy were able to handle the stress that came with delivery and subsequent motherhood than the ones who abstained from it. what’s more, a Finnish study even went on to reveal that the babies of mother’s who were regular consumers of chocolates were happier and healthier and smiled much more often as compared to kids of mom’s who didn’t.

5. Now this one is interesting – a Swedish study gave an ounce and a half of dark chocolate everyday for two weeks to a group of people with high levels of stress and anxiety. It was found that their level of stress hormones was reduced significantly, as were the metabolic side effects of stress. Well we knew this in our gut all along!

6. A few researchers in London recently showed that the flavanols in chocolate actually aid in skin protection. They gave their subjects chocolate with high levels of flavanol for a period of three months and it turned out that their subject’s skin took nearly twice as long to develop sun burns, sun tan etc.

7. Next time you are on a deadline and are feeling super stressed, simply grab a chocolate bar without feeling guilty. The good researchers at the University of Nottingham found that having cocoa rich in Flavanols helped boost blood flow to essential parts of the brain for at least two to three hours thereby improving your levels of alertness and, in effect, your performance as well.

 

8. Yet another yummy study found that chocolate aided even in those nasty, irritating coughs that you get. Chocolate contains theobromine which is almost as effective as codeine in quieting coughs. It is this chemical that is responsible for the ‘feel-good’ effect of chocolate too. Well, we can certainly vouch for that – study or no study! Also, theobromine had none of the side effects of codeine which tends to make one drowsy and dull.

9. Both European and South American cultures have a history of treating diarrhea with some chocolate. Repeated studies in this area have showed just how right they really were – Scientists at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that the flavonoids commonly found in chocolate bound themselves to a certain protein which is responsible for regulating fluid secretion into the small intestine, and therefore potentially helping stop those nasty trips to the loo.

10. Here’s the biggie – chocolate might just prevent the spread of cancer!! Cocoa contains a compound called pentameric procyanidine which actually disrupts a cancer cell’s ability to spread. When researchers treated cancer cells with the above mentioned compound, the multiplication pattern of the cells was effectively disrupted.

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So be happy and eat in moderation – if nothing else, chocolate is sure to make you super happy. And at the end of the day, thats what really matters isn’t it?