Have we finally found the fountain of youth?
If chocolate really is the fountain of youth and can make you look
younger – I think we have found heaven!
Even though chocolate is considered decadent (and wonderfully
delicious!) you might be surprised to learn that it does have quite a
few health benefits that can keep you looking as young as possible for
as long as possible.
This isn’t an invitation to indulge in a chocolate fest, because too
much of anything isn’t going to be good for you – and too much
chocolate will put on weight!
For maximum health benefits, you need to indulge in high quality dark
chocolate, as milk chocolate is really high in sugar and doesn’t
contain as many nutrients as dark chocolate.
Let’s take a look at why you should consider dark chocolate the
fountain of youth.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants
Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radical damage in your body.
Much of the damage to our skin from free radicals comes from
environmental pollutants and over-exposure to UV rays (sunlight). All
of that sunbathing when we were younger eventually comes home to
roost with dry, sun damaged skin, uneven skin tones, hyper-
pigmentation and sun spots.
One of the reasons why you should chose dark chocolate over milk
chocolate or even white chocolate is that dark chocolate contains
hardly any milk solids (compared to milk or white chocolate), instead it
contains cocoa solids which are high in antioxidants.
The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more antioxidants
contained in the chocolate, and the less sugar it contains. Some
people don’t like the really dark chocolate with a high percentage of
cocoa solids, because it can take bitter not sweet (due to the lower
amount of sugar), but if you try hard enough, you will find a dark
chocolate that you like!
High blood pressure, stroke and stress
There are lots of studies that demonstrate that chocolate can be really
good for your health.
A study in 2006 found that flavanols, which are powerful antioxidants
contained in dark chocolate, are directly responsible for improved
cardiovascular health. In fact, diets rich in flavanols (present in plants)
and their presence in tea, grape wine and cocoa are well known as
being good for our cardiovascular health.
found that when highly stressed people ate dark chocolate every day
for two weeks, their stress levels reduced significantly.
So if you eat a moderate amount of dark chocolate regularly, it seems
that your heart will be happier and healthier and you might even not
catch as many colds!
Dark chocolate reduces cholesterol
A study in 2009 found that consuming dark chocolate, one of the richest
sources of flavanols, actually reduces LDL (the bad lipids) and
increases the HDL (the good lipids). Multiple studies have also shown
the same results – that dark chocolate eaten regularly can reduce the
amount of bad cholesterol in your body.
Dr Will Clower, author of ‘Eat Chocolate Lose Weight‘ says that you can use
chocolate to cut down your cravings and reduce your nagging hunger,
so that you naturally eat less food. He suggests that dark chocolate
with at least 70% cocoa is the type of chocolate that is good for you!
Dark chocolate is good for your brain
The cocoa in dark chocolate has been shown to improve cognitive function,
which means that you pay attention and memorise things more easily
when you eat chocolate! Another study found that eating chocolate
can even reverse some of the effects of aging on our cognitive functions.
Who knew that eating chocolate helped you to remember your
shopping list and phone numbers? Even better – chocolate helps you
to keep thinking straight as you become older!
Take home message
Eating chocolate isn’t as bad as we first thought and experts have
known about the benefits of chocolate to our health for quite some
time. Eating chocolate night and day or missing meals so that you can
eat chocolate is not a good idea.
As part of a sensible, balanced diet, the experts seem to say that a
little bit of chocolate every day can seriously improve your health and
keep your skin looking healthier and younger.
So is chocolate the fountain of youth?
Who knows – I hope so!
But eating chocolate is a fabulous way to make your skin
look younger, reduce your cholesterol and stress levels, and reduce
your likelihood of heart problems.