It’s National Chocolate week but is chocolate really good for you?
Well not if you scoff loads of it but actually there are health benefits from eating chocolate but only dark chocolate that has around 70% cocoa solids.
Research has found dark chocolate to be good for the heart and circulation – it has been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ one) and raise HDL (the ‘good’ one) as well as helping to restore flexibility to arteries and preventing white blood cells from sticking to blood vessel walls – both of which commonly cause clogging of the arteries.
Dark chocolate has been shown to be good for the brain – it contains flavanols which are thought to reduce memory loss in older people. And researchers found eating dark chocolate lowered the risk of suffering a stroke.
Dark chocolate is packed with beneficial nutrients – iron, magnesium, copper and manganese as well as potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Dark chocolate is also a powerful source of antioxidants.
On top of all that eating chocolate gives us feelings of pleasure – it contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical produced in your brain with you feel like you’re falling in love, and encourages the release of feel-good endorphins.
However, even dark chocolate is calorific and contains sugar so should be eaten in moderation.