BECAUSE THIS STUFF IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU
If you know me personally, then you know how much I adore chocolate. I eat it to celebrate, I eat it through my heartaches, and I eat it when I’m bored. I will never (I repeat never) refuse chocolate when it’s offered to me, and I must have some at least once a day or my cravings leave me antsy and restless. At one point, it actually became a legitimate fear of my family that I would one day wake up with diabetes. Well, I’m not giving up chocolate anytime soon, so I decided to do some research to see if there are any noted benefits to eating chocolate (mainly to justify my addiction). So, here are five reasons why eating six Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Chocolate prevents heart disease.
In a study it was found that those who eat chocolate more than five times per week had a 50% less chance of heart disease than people who don’t indulge. This is because chocolate helps lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and reduces inflammation. Chocolate’s main ingredient, cocoa, contains antioxidants called flavonoids (also found in many fruits and vegetables) that prevent cell damage and inflammation. Sweet! Not only am I satisfying my cravings, but I am protecting my heart as well.
Chocolate lowers chances of stroke.
To those of you who don’t know what causes strokes, this happens when the icky things in your body gather up in your blood vessels, build up, and clot, thus preventing blood flow to the brain and depriving it of oxygen. Those that eat chocolate have 30% less atherosclerotic plaque than those that don’t eat it (no matter their sex, age, calorie intake, smoking, or diabetes status). The reason behind this is that cocoa has anti-clotting properties.
Chocolate may help fight diabetes.
Ha! This is my ultimate comeback to anyone who has ever persecuted my love for chocolate because of the “inherent” risk of getting diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the body has an inability to process sugar, thus causing high blood glucose levels which can be toxic to one’s organs. The hormone insulin is responsible for processing these sugars. When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t produce insulin, or they become insensitive to it. Well, apparently, chocolate improves sugar metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. Take that, parents.
Chocolate makes you smarter.
Since chocolate improves blood flow to the brain, this causes one to be more awake and alert. In a British study conducted in 2012, they found out that those who eat chocolate performed better in counting tasks. It can also boost your memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills. So when you’re freaking out about the math final you have in two hours that you haven’t studied for at all, just take a deep breath and grab a Kit Kat.
Chocolate boosts your mood.
No wonder I gravitate towards it during even the slightest feeling of sadness. Chocolate causes the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that reduce anxiety and give one a sense of well-being. Those that eat chocolate report feeling less stressed, and it’s even been known to help reduce pain. It can help a woman through PMS (no wonder men bombard women with chocolates), and can also act as an aphrodisiac.
The only catch with all of this is that this usually refers to dark chocolate (although I’m never giving up my Hershey’s Extra Creamy Nuggets!), and it should be eaten in moderation. But then again, how can you possibly eat something as heavenly as chocolate in mere moderation? Why would you not allow yourself to consume every divine morsel of it as it brings heaps of pleasure to every fiber in your body? Okay, I’m getting carried away. Yes, this is my official cry for help. Interventions would be appreciated.