The consumption of chocolate has steadily been increasing through the years. Mintel research said that India consumed 228 thousand tonnes worth of chocolate in 2016.
Chocolate craze is huge in America and Europe. Did you know that an average American consumes about 4.5 kg of chocolate in a year?
Many people associate chocolate with health issues like weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, acne, high blood pressure, and cavities. But I guess it has more to do with limited awareness on the topic. In fact, on the contrary, chocolate has some amazing health properties. It is known for its great antioxidant potential, as stated by NCBI. In fact, chocolate is considered a superfood these days.
Chocolate has been found to be effective in treating a plethora of problems like aging, blood pressure and oxidative stress. The more the cocoa content, the higher the nutritional value of the food.
Let’s find out more what all chocolate has to offer –
1. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
A study published in the journal of nutrition stated that consuming dark chocolate helps to bring down low-density lipoprotein cholesterol fats, the fats which are considered bad for the body.
In addition to this, it was also studied if the chocolate bars, consisting of plant sterols and chocolate flavanols, had an impact on cholesterol levels. Further, it concluded that regular consumption of dark chocolate helps to minimize cholesterol and regulates blood pressure, thus improving the cardiovascular health.
2. Cuts Down The Risk of Heart Disease
One of the research, published by BMJ, concluded that consumption of chocolate can significantly help to lower down the chances of having a heart disease. According to the study, eating chocolate helps to subside the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders.
This in itself is encouraging, especially when cardiovascular diseases are accounted for most number of deaths each year. It also added that there is a need for further research to identify other potential benefits associated with chocolate consumption.
3. Reduced Chances of Memory Decline
The scientists at the Harvard Medical School stated that drinking about two cups of hot chocolate can keep our brain healthier and trim down chances of memory decline in the elderly. They said it also helps to promote blood flow to the brain, especially in the areas where it is essentially required for its proper functioning.
According to the lead author, our brain requires a higher amount of blood flow as it is the focal part of the body which is responsible for directing all the tasks. This neuromuscular coupling may even aid in treating diseases like Alzheimer’s.
In another study published in 2014, it was found that a cocoa extract named Lavado, minimizes the harm to nerve pathways, found in, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.
It may help to slow down the symptoms of cognitive decline associated with it.
4. Risk of Strokes Subsides Too
The people who eat chocolate are less likely to suffer a stroke by 22 percent, said, Canadian researchers. It was also revealed that people who did suffer a stroke but ate chocolate regularly were 46 percent less prone to die.
In another study published in The Heart, researchers tried to check the effect of diet in the long run. It was concluded that eating about 100 grams of chocolate every day can reduce the chances of strokes and other heart diseases.
Multiple studies pointing in the same direction leave very little to the imagination. We can safely say eating chocolate is healthful.
On a lighter side, people in the west feel wine and whiskey are healthier options to tea and coffee if taken in moderation.
While most of the conditions listed above are serious and could be life-threatening, eating chocolate also helps to prevent not-so-serious illnesses.
It’s regular consumption also improves the cognitive functioning and performance. Chocolate is also known to benefit pregnant women in fetal development. With that said, it’s only appropriate to conclude that Chocolate is a sweet addiction 🙂
But Just like any other food, we should try and be sensible with chocolate consumption. It does better when taken in appropriate quantities.
Going over the board means an invitation to diabetes, obesity and other problems which may not look serious at the outset but turn chronic in due course.
See this wonderful infographic to know more about Chocolate.