Valentine’s Day was the perfect occasion to remember exactly how delicious chocolate can be. Whether you indulged yourself in chocolates or had some chocolate dipped strawberries with a pinch of cream, forget about counting calories and enjoy the health benefits chocolate has. A recent study explains how chocolate keeps us happy and healthy.
A recent study brings great news for those of you addicted to chocolate. At least, now you will have a justification for your indulging. According to the results, people that consume high levels of chocolate have 37 percent less chances to develop a cardiovascular disease and 29 percent less chances to suffer a stroke.
However, for that delicious chocolate to actually be healthy, check out the labels and look for dark chocolate. Nutritionist Abbey Ellner says that for the chocolate to actually deliver health benefits it must have at least 70 percent cocoa.
Research from the Cardiovascular Health Journal point out that their findings show that dark chocolate might be even healthier for the heart than some fruits and vegetables. And chances are many people out there would rather munch on a 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate bar, rather than a piece of boiled broccoli.
The secret ingredients that make chocolate healthy for the body are the compounds called flavonols. These are rich in antioxidant properties that have been linked to improving circulation and blood flow to the brain.
MSNBC’s Today Health writes that a Danish study found that people who consumed 100 g of dark chocolate were less interested in eating fatty, salty or sugary foods. Plus, dark chocolate has 15 percent fewer calories than milk chocolate.
Another study shows that heart attack survivors who ate chocolate were less likely to die than those who went without.
And finally let’s talk a little about chocolate’s great ability to make us happy and relaxed. This is because the delicious chocolate contains phenethylamine and anandamide.
Phenethylamine is a compound that triggers the release of endorphins. Scientists say the reaction is similar to falling in love. Also, chocolate doubles excitation rates in the brain’s pleasure center during kissing.
Anandamide is a compound that is known to activate the same brain receptors as marijuana does. And researchers discovered there’s a link between this compound and inhibiting human breast cancer cell proliferation.