1. Chocolate is Great for Your Brain:
The National Institute on Aging and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute conducted a study at the Harvard Medical School and recorded in the August 7th online version of the journal Neurology. In the study, which was titled “Neurovascular coupling, cerebral white matter integrity, and response to cocoa in older people,” the researchers selected 60 participants with an average age of 73 who were not suffering from dementia. The subjects drank two cups of hot cocoa daily without any other form of chocolate for 30 days.
Of those 60 participants, 18 had previously been tested for impaired brain blood flow with some level of brain damage. After consuming cocoa beverages, those 18 showed significant improvements with brain blood flow and working memory tests. The research report concluded: “There is a strong correlation between neurovascular coupling and cognitive function, and both can be improved by regular cocoa consumption in individuals with baseline impairments.”
2. Chocolate Keeps You Young:
One study from The Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition showed that certain types of cocoa and dark chocolate have a higher anti-oxidant content than fruits like blueberries and açai berries. Anti-oxidants are important as they help to combat cell damage caused by free radical activity. A high intake of anti-oxidants is believed to help prevent the development of debilitating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
3. Chocolate is Excellent for The Heart:
This was a massive epidemiological study conducted cooperatively by several Boston medical institutions using the 4,970 participants aged 25-93 years who participated in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study. This group discovered that “chocolate consumption is inversely associated with prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD).” In other words, those who ate chocolate had less coronary issues, and the more that was consumed, the lower the risk for CHD. Published in the 2010 journal, Clinical Nutrition.
4. Chocolate Improves Your Mood:
According to Dr. Diana L Walcutt, “Some of dark chocolate’s benefits come from resveratrol, an antioxidant (immune system booster) found in red wine, among other products. Its mental health benefits include the ability to boost brain levels of endorphins (natural opiates) as well as serotonin (a mood-altering chemical on which many antidepressants act). Because it can increase serotonin levels in the brain, dark chocolate also may increase serotonin production in the gut, and thus help your immune system.”
5. Chocolate is an Anti-Inflammatory:
A study titled “Regular consumption of dark chocolate is associated with low serum concentrations of C reactive protein in a healthy Italian population” was published by the journal, Nutrition, in 2008. Serum C-reactive protein (CRP) is an inflammation marker produced by a stressed liver. It can relate to autoimmune diseases or infections. It’s associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This study discovered among a few thousand Italians without chronic disease. Included were those who ate no chocolate, those who ate milk chocolate and those who ate only dark chocolate. Those who consumed dark chocolate moderately had the lowest CRP serum levels. The study concluded with “… regular consumption of small doses of dark chocolate may reduce inflammation.”
6. Chocolate Reduces Your Cholesterol
In a study that was published in 2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011, researchers did a meta-analysis of 10 prior clinical trials on cocoa consumption and cholesterol. The researchers found that in short-term studies, increases in cocoa consumption significantly reduced levels of both LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol, without significant effects on HDL cholesterol.
7. Chocolate Lower Your Blood Pressure
Scientists in Melbourne, Australia looked at 20 studies in which adults ate dark chocolate or cocoa. More than 850 people participated in the trials that generally ran from two to eight weeks. They found that people that ate chocolate regularly had blood pressure readings that were at least 2 points lower than people who didn’t .Dr. Karin Ried, Research Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, Melbourne, Australia explained: “Moderate regular dosages of flavanol-rich cocoa products such as dark chocolate may be part of a comprehensive lifestyle plan to optimizing blood pressure,” explains study author
8. Chocolate Reduces Stress Levels
According to WebMD, “Researchers found that eating the equivalent of one average-sized dark chocolate candy bar (1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the “fight-or-flight” hormones known as catecholamines in highly stressed people.”
9. Chocolate Protects Your Skin
There was a recent study by German Scientists that showed that dark chocolate is great for skin. Twenty-four women ages 18 to 65 consumed about 1/2 cup of cocoa per day for 12 weeks. Half drank cocoa with 329 milligrams of antioxidants per portion. The other half drank cocoa with only 27 milligrams of antioxidants per portion.
The research showed that that women who drank the high antioxidant chocolate showed:
•a 25% reduction in UV light induced skin reddening compared to tests conducted before the study
•a 42% reduction in scaliness
•a 30% reduction in roughness
•a 16% increase in density
•a 13% increase in moistness
•and an 11% increase in thickness
10. Chocolate is a Natural Painkiller
In 2008, a study suggested that the C-reactive protein (CRP is a blood marker showing inflammation in the body) actually was lower in those who consumed chocolate daily. So, if you have pain associated with inflammation, eating chocolate can reduce that pain by reducing the inflammation that is causing it.