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10 Apr 2017

Surprising health benefits of chocolate

Ever wondered why you're a chocoholic? Turns out our brains are just wired that way.

chocolate eggs bunny

Chocolate is addictive, fact. And it’s all down to complex chemical reactions in your brain...

Here’s the lowdown: chocolate contains PEA (phenylethylamine) which coincidentally is the exact same chemical that your brain produces when you fall in love. PEA tells your brain to release endorphins, which instantly make you feel amazing. So it’s actually perfectly natural to be a chocaholic!

At this time of year there’s a lot of egg-shaped chocolate on the shelves, most with a massive sugar content that we’d do well to steer clear of. Too much sugar leads to rotten teeth and obesity. Chocolate, on the other hand, actually has a lot of health benefits.

Here are some good reasons to eat chocolate:

  • It boosts your mood

  • It’s nutritious

  • It can reduce risk of stroke

  • It can lower the risk of heart disease

  • It’s high in fibre

Dark chocolate is much better for you than milk chocolate. It normally contains a lot less sugar and higher amounts of cocoa. Cocoa is the magic ingredient, and it’s packed full of minerals and antioxidants. A bit of dark, or even better, raw, cocoa can give you a large percentage of your RDA of iron, zinc and potassium. It also contains a range of powerful antioxidants, sometimes more than fruit.

Dark chocolate is also surprisingly high in fibre, which not only keeps your tummy healthy, but can help you feel full and control your appetite. With 11g of fibre per 100g, it actually rivals wholegrain bread for fibre intake. 

dark chocolate cocopowder

A Swedish study, highlighted by The Huffington Post in 2011, found a link between chocolate consumption and strokes. It found that women who ate more than 45g of chocolate per week had a 20% decrease in stroke risk. These findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Studies have also shown that high chocolate consumption has heart benefits, including lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The BMJ published a study showing that the highest chocolate consumption resulted in a 37% reduction in heart disease and 31% in diabetes.

So there you have it, chocolate, or cocoa, had loads of health benefits. Pass the chocolate eggs! Just choose one with a low sugar content- normally these tend to be types of dark chocolate.

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