Health Benefits of Chocolate!
Eating chocolate is the equivalent to giving ourselves a warm hug from the inside. Aside from tasting like HEAVEN, chocolate contains properties that make it actually GOOD for us. I thought I would provide some solid research to back up the fact that we actually NEED chocolate in our lives.
(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 a few facts)
Now that we’ve gotten all the legal issues out of the way…..
Solid Rationalizations Confirming the Health Benefits of Chocolate
- 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 don’t even get me started about how bad oxidation is! 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 slabs of 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. I may need to re-think my magnesium plan….But I won’t give it up because I KNOW it helps me sleep better at night.
Some additional health benefits of magnesium include: can contribute to improving bone health/strength and muscle building, can help with chronic pain, and eases sore muscles.
ATHLETES: you may need to incorporate more chocolate into your diet!
- 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 (and tastier) alternative (just kidding, of course)
- 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…
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.
In my health coaching practice, I help my clients transform their bad habits into healthy behaviors that last! If you would like to come in for a FREE 30-Minute Consultation, please send me an email!
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