When you think of the ultimate comfort food, nothing sounds more soothing than chocolate. Whether it’s a chocolate cake, candy bar, or even a cocoa smoothie, the delicious dessert is sure to bring a smile to almost anyone’s face.
Although we often associate the food with unhealthy and sugar-filled treats, the cocoa bean itself is actually an antioxidant-filled seed that has a bitter flavor. Native to the Americas, cocoa has been used for centuries, and it not only tastes good, but is filled with a wide array of health benefits.
Consuming chocolate in the form of a fat and sugar-laden dessert isn’t exactly the best way to get your intake of cocoa, but if you stick to 70 percent dark chocolate or higher, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy chocolate daily. Next time you want an excuse to pick up that chocolate bar, consider these six reasons why you should be eating chocolate every day.
1. It’s High In Antioxidants
Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, and studies have found that it even tested higher in antioxidants than other fruits such as blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates.
However, studies do show that milk can block the absorption of these antioxdiants, so it’s definitely best to stick to the dairy-free, dark variety if you want to get your share of cancer-fighting nutrients.
2. It Can Lower Your Cholesterol
Researchers have found that dark chocolate consumption can lower blood sugar as well as cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in the dark chocolate are what’s responsible for lowering your LDL, or your “bad cholesterol” levels, as well as for regulating the body’s use of insulin.
3. It Fights UV Rays
Because cocoa is so rich in flavonoids, it can offer your skin significant protection from the sun’s UV rays. For this benefit, it’s best to get pure cacao, as cocoa that has been significantly heated doesn’t show this effect.
4. It May Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Since chocolate can help lower cholesterol, it as a result can also help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies have found that eating just one or two servings of dark chocolate a week can lower your risk of heart disease by almost a third. One square of chocolate a day can also reduce your risk of stroke, making it a no brainer to indulge in the treat.
5. It Boosts Your Mood
It may not just be in your head that the piece of chocolate you just ate made you feel a lot better. Studies have found that the polyphenols in cocoa can help boost your mood, helping to fight off depression and anxiety.
Eating chocolate helps naturally raise your serotonin levels, the feel-good neurotransmitter responsible for your good mood.
6. It Improves Your Brain Function
In addition to all the disease-preventing benefits of chocolate, the superfood can also help boost your brain power, including better cognition and improved short-term and long-term memory.