The Health Benefits of Chocolate
Did you guys know that today is National Milk Chocolate Day? Obviously, this means that we will be discussing the many ways that cocoa (chocolate) benefits your health. Here at Savannah's Candy Kitchen, we always champion chocolate as a main food group and regularly eat cake before 10 AM. Today we will discuss a few of the reasons why our chocolate obsession is warranted.
Let's start off with one of our most vital organs, your heart. Studies show chocolate is good for heart health and reduces your risk of stroke! So what's our argument? A Swiss study shows that a high intake of chocolate (over 45 grams a week) saw a 20% decrease in the risk of stroke among women. Chocolate contains antioxidant properties that can prevent bad cholesterol that can cause cardiovascular disease (Huffpost). Dark chocolate has been proven to have inflammation fighting properties which reduces cardiovascular risk. Our hearts work hard to pump our blood, and guess what? Chocolate is good for blood flow, too! According to Dr. Fitzgerald, "cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way as aspirin." Now, I wouldn't write off aspirin entirely but it's definitely worth giving in to the temptation to treat yourself to a chocolatey treat!
Are you a fan of your beach days? Maybe you're more of a lake person, but no matter what your favorite outdoor activity is, dark chocolate may help protect your skin from damaging sun rays. Dark chocolate contains flavonols that can protect you against sun-induced damage and increase your minimal erythemal dose (the amount of time it takes the sun to cause redness to your skin). A study showed that after consuming dark chocolate for 12 weeks, their minimal erythemal dose DOUBLED! If you've already got some sun damage (we're all guilty of skipping that second application of sunscreen) dark chocolate improves blood flow, increases skin density, and hydration. Meaning, healthier looking skin!
Feeling a little sluggish? Try popping a square of dark chocolate in your mouth and the increase in blood flow sends blood to your brain which makes you feel more awake and alert. Cocoa also contains stimulants like caffeine that can result in short term brain function improvements. Cocoa also contains trytophan, a precursor to serotonin, that has been known to help with depression.
Now, we aren't a scientific institution, but we have to say these present a pretty good argument for eating a few squares of chocolate - or better yet, our Sea Salt Caramels - the next time we have a craving.