10 Reasons why you CAN eat Chocolate
1 – Phenylethylamine (PEA) contained in chocolate encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins
We all like to feel good right? But sometimes we all need a little boost. Personally, I don’t drink coffee, alcohol or take any kind of drugs so a little chocolate gives me a boost in the day, especially at night when I need to get my brain thinking to work again after a full day, as I work while my toddlers sleep. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical that your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. So if love isn’t on the horizon for you, then chocolate may be just what you need. And a little of what you need does you good. So yes, you can eat chocolate, and encourage your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
2 – Flavanols are thought to reduce memory loss
lavanols are thought to reduce memory loss in older people
, (and I can vouch it has certainly helped with my baby brain too!) Dark chocolate has anti-inflammatory qualities too which have been found to be beneficial in treating brain injuries such as concussion.
3 – Reduces stress in expectant mothers, and their offspring smile more often
A study in Finland has discovered that chocolate reduced stress in pregnant mothers
and that their babies smiled more often than the children of non-chocolate-eating parents.
4 – Reduces levels of bad cholesterol and raises levels of good cholesterol
onsumption in a controlled trial in Japan
, reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in men that were part of the test and raised levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), potentially lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. It does this easily as it contains lots of powerful antioxidants that protect against oxidative damage.
Raw unprocessed cocoa beans and dark chocolate have a wide variety of antioxidants including polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others and are among the highest scoring foods on the ORAC metric, with more active antioxidant activity than Acai berries and Blueberries!
5 – Dark chocolate is packed with Potassium, Zinc, Iron and Selenium
Dark chocolate is loaded with beneficial minerals
such as potassium, zinc and selenium, and a 100g bar of dark (70% or more) chocolate provides:
- 67% of the RDA of iron.
- 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
- 89% of the RDA for Copper.
- 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
- It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
This is on top of the 11grams of fibre! This may not be a reason to replace a well-balanced diet but as a top up along with all the other benefits, I hope you are beginning to realise that chocolate isn’t the enemy!
But wait, there’s more……
6 – Helps prevent artery-clogging through flexibility in arteries and preventing white cells from sticking
A study in 2014 in America
found that “dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis.”
7 – Lowers the risk of a stroke by 17%
esearchers in Finland in 2012 found that chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke by 17 %
average in the group of men they tested.
However, further research conducted by the University of Aberdeen concluded that those consuming up to 100g of chocolate per day, including milk chocolate were up to 23% less likely to suffer a stroke
and 25% less likely to die from heart disease.
8 – Can help with weight loss when combined with a full hearty breakfast
A study by Professor Daniela Jakubowicz of 600 clinically obese, none diabetic adults showed that eating a hearty breakfast followed by chocolate cake helped long-term weight loss
. The study split the group, half eating a healthy 300 calorie breakfast, the other eating the 600 calorie breakfast with chocolate cake. Halfway through the 32-week study both had lost an average of 33lbs, but by the end of the study, the low-calorie group had regained an average of 22lbs and the chocolate cake gang and lost a further 15lbs!
This isn’t some kind of magic, it actually makes sense. Eating higher calorie foods earlier in the day enables your body to kickstart metabolism early, gives you more energy and gives your body more time to burn off the fats rather than storing them. It also reduces cravings throughout the rest of the day, which is one of the biggest causes of diet fails.
In addition to this, another study found that melting a small piece of chocolate on your tongue before and after a meal helps cut appetite and prevents insulin spikes (that send sugar straight to fat cells) Chocolate can help you lose weight
. Really. Neuroscientist Will Clower says a small square of good choc melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that says “I’m full”, cutting the amount of food you subsequently consume. Finishing a meal with the same small trigger could reduce subsequent snacking.
9 – Cocoa shown to improve insulin sensitivity which can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes
It sounds very topsy-turvy but consuming dark chocolate may actually reduce the probability of type 2 diabetes
onset by improving insulin insensitivity. It is this that causes insulin to become a problem in your body and it can be improved naturally by consuming certain foods
, such as blueberries, cinnamon, kimchi and dark chocolate!
10 – It’s utterly delicious and you don’t need to deny yourself what you love
To allow yourself to indulge in something you love is to nourish your body’s needs and wants, and allow yourself to feel pampered and fulfilled. On the flip side, denial and guilt are feelings that can eat you from within and crush your soul!
A little dramatic? Maybe. But for some people, especially women, who put so much pressure on themselves to look and behave the ‘right’ way, allowing a little indulgence could actually make a huge difference. So here is your permission slip to allow yourself to do something that you love today, especially if that something is allowing you some nutritious and super-food status Chocolate!
Do you allow yourself to eat chocolate? Do you allow yourself indulgences of any kind?
Over at The Season of You we are great believers that self care isn’t selfish. You are entitled to feel nourished, indulged and taken care of, no matter what your circumstances. For a 3 month guided journey in self care for mind, body and soul, join us