In my donkey blog, I promised I would write an article about chocolate. True to my word…. here is my blog on the health benefits of chocolate! I figured with V-Day coming up, we could all use some SOLID RESEARCH to back up our rationalizations as to why we actually NEED chocolate.
And just to be clear… this is SOLID RESEARCH on the Health Benefits of Chocolate!
(At this point, I would like to point out that this, in fact, is nothing close to solid research, but my anxiety is telling me that I may be breaking some kind of important blogging law by claiming it is. So, lets just say this blog is SOLID RATIONALIZATION that happens to be backed up by facts) READ THE DONKEY BLOG and you’ll understand my unique brand of “crazy” a little better…
Now that we’ve gotten all the legal issues out of the way…..
Solid Rationalization Confirming the Health Benefits of Chocolate
Eating chocolate is the equivalent to giving yourself a warm hug from the inside. Aside from tasting like Heaven, chocolate contains polyphenols, magnesium, phenylethylamine, caffeine and theobromine, serotonin, L-tryptophan and L-arginine which all have properties that contribute to the benefits of eating chocolate.
Let me explain…..
Chocolate Health Benefit #1: Polyphenols and Antioxidants
Polyphenols are compounds found in natural plant food sources, including chocolate, that have antioxidant properties. In case you are not aware, antioxidants are free-radical kicking ROCKSTARS and dark chocolate is FULL of them. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. And trust me, you do NOT want oxidation! Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals that may damage your cells.
Can you see why we actually NEED (vs. want) chocolate in our lives??!!
To get the most antioxidants out of your chocolate, choose the dark kind. Dark chocolate has a much higher concentration of polyphenols.
Chocolate Health Benefit #2: Magnesium and Working out
Dark chocolate also contains 95 mg magnesium, which is even more than a banana (although not as much as spinach or chard).
Can somebody please tell me why they don’t hand out chocolate after a race?!?! Please? Because I would really prefer chocolate over a banana any day…
I, personally, take a magnesium supplement; however, chocolate sounds like a much tastier alternative, and it sure beats a salad. So I might need to re-think my magnesium plan….I just know that it helps me sleep better at night. According to Well-being secrets, some health benefits of magnesium include: contributes to improving bone health/strength, contributes to muscle building, can help with chronic pain, and eases sore muscles.
Chocolate Health Benefit #3: Phenylethylamine the Love Drug
Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which has been called the “love drug.” It causes your pulse rate to quicken, very much like it does when someone falls in love.
Relationships can be really confusing and difficult. Eating chocolate seems like a much simpler alternative than being in love with another human. Less messy and confusing…
I just had an odd thought. If we wanted “trick” someone into falling in love with us, doesn’t this research suggest that we could just stand in front of someone while they ate a bucket load of chocolate? Or would they just get nauseous (which would be the exact opposite of what we wanted)? Someone try that and get back to me, k?
Chocolate Health Benefit #4: Serotonin and Mood
I am a BIG ‘OL fan of serotonin! Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce. It’s a natural mood stabilizer and experts have even linked low levels of serotonin to depression! Normal levels of serotonin help us feel happier, calmer, more focused, and less ANXIOUS! Can you see why I’m such a fan?
Not only does chocolate have Serotonin, it has the precursor to serotonin, L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is found only in our diet, but when we eat it, magically turns into serotonin in our bodies!
And Chocolate has BOTH!!
Chocolate Health Benefit #5: Sex
That got your attention! Dark chocolate is known to contain an amino acid called L-arginine that helps enhance your sex drive by increasing nitric oxide and stimulating blood flow to your sex organs. This has also been shown to increase sexual sensation and desire. NOW I understand why we give chocolates to our sweethearts for Valentine’s Day! Its not an altruistic as I once thought…
So there you go, as promised, a blog crammed full of reasons to eat chocolate. You’re welcome…
In my health coaching practice, I help clients identify if they’re addicted to sugar and how to switch to a healthier “addiction” like dark chocolate that can actually have health benefits.
How do I identify the highest quality chocolate?
- Look for dark chocolate with a 70% cacao content or higher
- Make sure the very first ingredient is cacao or cacao butter and not sugar!
While I’m not prepared to say that chocolate is a HEALTH FOOD, I am also not NOT saying it. If you like my blog.. please share share share!
So, what do you think? What is YOUR favorite chocolate treat?