When asked to write something I am truly passionate about I have to confess one thing came to mind…. chocolate. Ah yes… That dark sweet delight that has befriended me on so many a night. How I like nothing more than to curl up next to a book or in a bath with one, two if not three pieces of that decadent treat. I’m not sure what it is, but one thing’s for sure, women and chocolate form the kind of symbiotic relationship only a Jane Austen novel can afford.
Like most girls I grew an addiction to all things chocolate in my early teens. The all girls high school I attended was deprived of a canteen and so it was decided by the nuns who stood before us decades ago, that a chocolate store would make the perfect substitute…. and thus an addiction developed.
Since my days as a teen I have grown up and come to realize that I can’t survive purely on a Cadbury diet. However, my obsession with chocolate remains as strong as ever, only this time it’s the good kind of chocolate I yearn and not some one-dollar freddo frog (you know the ones that come in those infamous charity boxes that always seem to appear at work). When I say good, I mean dark. Yes brace yourselves that’s dark chocolate ladies.
I know it seems we are forever hearing through various mediums that dark chocolate is good for us because it is packed with antioxidants, but I also know this is quite an ambiguous and overused statement. So even if you’re like me and don’t need any reason to eat chocolate I thought the least I could do is omit those guilty feelings and reveal the health benefits this wonder drug holds.
1. Dark Chocolate can improve intelligence: Finally there is a reason behind my brilliance. All jokes aside, dark chocolate has actually been known to increase blood flow to the brain, which in turn enhances cognitive function.
2. Stimulates endorphin production: Endorphins are a chemical, which typically release in the brain during exercise. They are said to resemble opiates in their ability to produce analgesia coupled with a euphoric feeling. It turns out Fran is not the only cure for those winter blues because dark chocolate also emits the body’s natural feel good drug.
3. Fortifies and invigorates the skin: Dark chocolate should be part of your beauty regime and here is why; it contains flavonoids which are antioxidants that work to protect the skin by absorbing UV light and increasing blood flow. An increase in blood flow improves skin hydration giving you that desirable, glowing complexion.
4. Rich in essential vitamins and minerals: Surprisingly, dark chocolate contains significant amounts of potassium, magnesium and iron. All of which promote bone health and work to improve muscle and nerve function.
5. Lowers blood sugar levels: The antioxidants found in dark chocolate help improve the body’s ability to process blood sugar, doing wonders for the waistline.
6. Lowers Cholesterol: According to recent studies dark chocolate has also proven to reduce bad cholesterol by up to 10%, which has a positive effect on heart health and decreases the chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
Obviously the darker the chocolate the better and if you are a Paleo person your daily dose should be served with a minimum of 70% cacao. Aside from the rich, luscious taste that dark chocolate so gracefully boasts, I have just given you six health related reasons why you should indulge. So go ahead and satisfy your guilt free craving.