Easter is one of those very few days a year where is it completely and utterly, socially acceptable to eat chocolate all day. Literally, all day. Personally my day consisted of the ears of my poor (but mouth-watering) Lindt chocolate bunny for breakfast. For lunch I made chocolate rice crispy cakes, topped with Cadbury Mini Eggs, of course! And for dinner, after a large roast, I shamefully polished off half of my Lindt bunny, a Dairy Milk ‘Egg & Spoon’ and another rice crispy cake. I went to bed feeling sick yet ever so happy, but all I could think about is how I have to wait a whole other year to do it again as Monday meant that I would be back to my usual healthy & balanced diet.
But then I suddenly remembered hearing something that my yoga teacher told me, it came screaming back to me and all of a sudden I was happy again. ‘Dark chocolate has many health benefits you know.’ Those were the exact words! I picked up my laptop and started researching immediately so I could share this amazing news with you all.
1. Dark Chocolate is Nutritious
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content then it is actually quite nutritious. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:
The copper and potassium in dark chocolate helps prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type two diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
2. Powerful Source of Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants which help free the body of free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are also implicated in the ageing process, so eating dark chocolate can help combat those early signs of ageing.
3. Good for your Heart
Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate 2 or 3 times each week can help lower your blood pressure. This improves the blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots within in the body.
4. Brain Improvement
Not only does dark chocolate increase blood flow to the heart but also the brain, improving cognitive function and helping reduce the risk of stroke. It also contains Phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when falling in love. PEA helps to encourage your brain to release endorphins, thus making you feel happier!
5. Controls Blood Sugar
Chocolate as a diabetes foe? You better believe it! The flavanoids in dark chocolate help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. It also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.
So there we have it, we can continue to eat chocolate, guilt free throughout the year until we can happily pig out again. Do remember that all things are good in moderation, don’t overdo the dark chocolate, although it has many health benefits, at the end of the day it is still chocolate and contains a Woman’s greatest enemy… sugar.