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8 Sweet Health Benefits Of Eating Chocolate

Yeo Jin Lee |
February 12, 2014 | 2:08 a.m. PST

Staff Writer

This guilty pleasure may actually be a healthy snack (DGH Chocolatier / Flickr).
This guilty pleasure may actually be a healthy snack (DGH Chocolatier / Flickr).
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and while most people are still on track with their 2014 resolution of getting in shape or staying fit, the thought of skipping out on chocolate this Valentine’s Day might be heartbreaking.

However, chocolate lovers do not have to fear any longer, because the junk food known as chocolate actually has quite a few health perks. 

Research suggested that those who are regular chocolate eaters might have lower BMIs, but before you reach for that Hershey’s bar, keep this in mind: While chocolate has its health perks, there is no currently no evidence that shows a link between eating more chocolate and losing weight. All chocolates are created differently, as dark chocolate packs more health benefits over milk chocolate, but even the bittersweet candy varies in their nutritional value.

Here are eight sweet health benefits to eating chocolate:

1. Chocolate Decreases Stroke Risk:

A Swedish study, conducted in 2011, found that women who treated themselves to more than 45 grams of chocolate a week, reduced their risk of getting a stroke by 20 percent over women who ate less than nine grams of the treat.

2. Chocolate Boosts Heart Health:

Chocoholics may find that eating what they love can benefit their hearts. Eating chocolate lowers blood pressure, lowers bad LDL cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolates are especially heart-healthy because of their inflammation-fighting properties, reducing cardiovascular risk.

3. Chocolate Fills Up Your Stomach:

Dark chocolate is rich in fiber, which helps keep you full and eating less. Instead of eating ten different snacks, a bite of chocolate can keep you full and satisfied. Dark chocolate is found to do the trick better than milk chocolate and may even reduce cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

4. Chocolate Fights Diabetes:

Regularly eating chocolates increases insulin sensitivity, which reduces the risk for diabetes.

5. Protect Your Skin With Chocolate:

Chocolate causes breakouts? False. Dark chocolate is actually good for the skin. Flavonoids, an antioxidant found in dark chocolate, offers protection from UV damage from the sun, but that does not mean you should skip out on the sunscreen.

6. Improve Blood Flow With Chocolate:

Chocolate can improve blood and circulation because cocoa has anti-clotting properties, which act similarly to aspirin by thinning out blood. 

7. Chocolate Improves Vision:

Since chocolate improves blood flow mostly to the brain, researchers at the University of Reading hypothesized in a study that chocolate may als increase blood flow to the retina, giving a boost in vision. 

8. Get Smarter With Chocolate:

With the boost of blood flow to the brain by cocoa’s flavanoids, chocolate makes people feel more awake and alert, allowing them to perform better.

Reach Staff Writer Yeo Jin Lee here.



 

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