Have your chocolate this Easter – Just make it Dark!
This Easter those precious and delicious eggs will be eaten in abundance – but if you want a slightly healthier option think DARK CHOCOLATE!
Dark chocolate now makes up only around 10% of all chocolate bought in the UK but more people are making the switch. And for good reason, there are many health benefits to dark chocolate.
If you are feeling a bit low findings published in the journal of Nutritional Neuroscience has suggested that dark chocolate can reduce the symptoms of depression but raising levels of certain chemicals in the brain that are used to make Serotonin to lift your moods. Not to mention dark chocolate is thought to be an aphrodisiac which certainly will help your mood!
If you are on a diet this Easter, researchers at the University of California found that adults who ate chocolate frequently had a lower Body Mass Index than those who didn’t. It can help you to feel full to combat sugar cravings. Dark chocolate has a lower Glycaemic Index than other forms of chocolate so it won’t cause as much of the peaks in blood sugars associated with sugary/fatty foods. It’s not the ideal food for those on a diet but if you have to…..
Dark Chocolate is also good for your brain. Flavonoids found in chocolate can stimulate the creation of new neurons which are crucial in the formation of memories. Eating dark chocolate may also protect these neurons from injury and therefore lower the risk of dementia. The flavonoid rich cocoa may increase blood flow to the brain and improve its function. Dopamine is also released after only a little bit of dark chocolate which helps people to remember people and events more easily. Scientists at the University of Toronto found eating a bar of chocolate a week could help prevent stroke. The antioxidants in chocolate could cut the risk of stroke by more than a fifth and may cut the death rate from stroke by 50%.
Dark chocolate can help you live longer as well! It combats stress according to a Dutch/Swiss trial. It helps to reduce levels of stress hormones and rebalance body chemicals during times of high anxiety. It contains anandamide with activates the same brain receptors as marijuana.
Regular chocolate eaters live almost a year longer than those who don’t partake according to a study in the British Medical Journal. Eating chocolate 1-3 times a month led to lower mortality rates perhaps due to the antioxidants in chocolate.
Your heart can benefit as well. A nine-year Swedish study of almost 32,000 women showed those who ate chocolate weekly had a 32% lower risk of heart failure. The minerals is dark chocolate are thought to help improve blood flow to the heart and reduce blood pressure and the risk of blood clots along with lowering LDL levels – the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
All this is a good reason to switch your milk or white chocolate to dark chocolate this Easter and always….. Just remember MODERATION.