We all know the type of cravings chocolate bestows upon us, the indescribable taste it exudes and the feelings it evokes. Chocolate was, and still is, considered to be the food of the Gods. The ancient Aztecs reserved it for the royalty. ‘So we are all royalty when we eat chocolate!’
Chocolate in its purest form is called cacao. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate and other types of chocolates are categorized by the amount of cacao they contain. The higher the cacao content, the darker the chocolate becomes.
Chocolate has several health benefits as follows:
- Heart – Of all known edibles, cacao ranks the highest in beneficial antioxidant polyphenols that curb heart disease, as demonstrated by a study done at the Unversity of California Department of Nutrition.
- Brain – Cacao with its wealth of mood-modifying elements has a positive effect on the mind. Cacao also encourages the production of the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter, serotonin, which soothes depression, anxiety and irritability.
- Stress reduction – Ah…this should be known already! The Swiss scientists have found that when very anxious people eat an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced. So, go ahead and have a bite of that dark chocolate after a stressful day.
- Sun Protection – Dark chocolate is very rich in skin protecting flavonols and the British researchers discovered that participants who consumed nutrient dense cacao over a period of three months had significant reduction in the speed of developing sunburns.
- Lower BMI – Now this one is a very good reason! Research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that out of 1000 Californians between the ages of 20 and 85, those who consumed chocolate on a regular basis had lower body mass index (BMI) ratings. It is speculated that dark chocolate in particular might help balance the hormones that facilitate the weight control.
With all these health benefits, it is no wonder why chocolate is considered as the food of the gods. So do provide your loved ones with chocolate and better yet, dark chocolate. It will be a set of happy, contented and appreciated “Royals” walking around for Valentines!!!
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