10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Chocolate Every Day
Chocolate is one of the most sought after foods in the world. Whether you’re a fan of milk chocolate or dark frothy cocoa, there are certain drawbacks to eating it. There are a lot of additives and sugar added to make chocolate sweet and smooth. But that doesn’t mean that chocolate has no nutritional value.
Chocolate has flavonoids, compounds that help regulate cellular activity in the body. They also help protect against environmental toxins and stressors. Flavonoids are found in many foods, like tea, berries, citrus fruits, and legumes. But dark chocolate has the highest levels of all of them.
We all know that eating a lot of chocolate is a bad thing, but are there any good things that happen from taking a small amount of chocolate daily? Here are 10 things that happen to your body when you eat chocolate every day.
Chocolate lowers blood pressure
Believe it or not, as little as 30 grams of dark chocolate, about the size of a Hershey’s mini Special Dark, has been clinically shown to lower blood pressure. Granted, the amount lost was small, and only for dark chocolate. White and milk chocolate showed no difference, but if you’re at risk for hypertension, a small bite of dark chocolate can do your body good.
Chocolate can prevent inflammation
Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce or even prevent inflammation. Inflammation is how your body reacts to fighting off diseases. But when you have chronic inflammation, you run the risk of damaging your body’s cells, which can lead to developing diabetes or arthritis. That same little bit of dark chocolate can do you several favors at once.
Chocolate can prevent sun damage to skin
Dark chocolate to the rescue again! This time, it’s dark chocolate with high levels of flavonoids. Studies have shown that people who ingest high flavonoids are able to withstand the sun’s harmful rays longer than those who do not. This doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen, though. It just means that a little chocolate keeps the sun from doing extra damage.
Chocolate can improve your memory
A research study showed that people who eat a bit of chocolate can boost the gamma frequency in their brains in as few as 30 minutes, and the effect can last for several hours. This boost affects your ability to process new information as well as recall. Of course, again it’s the dark chocolate that has the best benefit.
Chocolate helps you work out
This sounds suspicious but hear us out: dark chocolate in moderation can extend your workout. Cocoa is high in a flavonoids called epicatechin that increases production of nitric oxide. This gives your blood the ability to carry more oxygen. Higher oxygen levels let your body work out longer. See how easy that is?
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Chocolate wards off depression
It’s not just eating your sadness away: there’s science behind it. Chocolate helps regulate serotonin, which is your brain’s happy chemical. It won’t solve everything, but a small dose of dark chocolate can help break a bad mood or even prevent one from starting. But don’t get too excited, as the recommended daily dose is one ounce.
Chocolate reduces risk of heart attack
It’s those flavonoids again! They’re present in a lot of natural foods like açai berries and apples and legumes. But dark chocolate, or the cocoa it’s made from, has a higher level of flavonoids than any of them, which are antioxidants. A little chocolate is good for your heart health, but just remember that other flavonoids-filled foods are lower in fat, sugar and calories.
Chocolate can reduce stress
A dose of dark chocolate also reduces some levels that are bad. One of these is cortisol, a hormone that aggravates anxiety. A Johns Hopkins study showed that taking chocolate during a stressful situation can lower anxiety in as little as half an hour. Cortisol leads to heart damage as well, so that’s one less thing to stress over.
Chocolate can help you sleep
The same serotonin that regulates your mood also regulates your sleep. So, that dark chocolate may also make you sleepy. Yes, there’s caffeine in dark chocolate, but not enough to counteract the serotonin. Milk chocolate has lower cocoa and therefore lower serotonin. So if you’re using chocolate to stay awake, stay away from the dark variety.
Chocolate can make you gain weight
Yes, even dark chocolate with all its health benefits can make you gain weight. Milk chocolate has added milk and sugar and white chocolate has no beneficial cocoa at all. But dark chocolate, even in its purest unsweetened form, still has a boatload of calories. So, if you’re going to take chocolate for the other benefits, be sure to severely limit your intake. Remember, just a little goes a long way.