Is chocolate your guilty pleasure? Not so guilty as that! Although it should not be abused, it contains many health benefits. Antioxidant or anti-stress, chocolate has it all! We take stock of its various benefits.
Dark, milk, praline, bar, mint, or filled … Chocolate comes in a multitude of forms and flavors. One thing is sure: there is something for everyone! That’s why this much-loved delicacy is a gift of choice to celebrate all kinds of occasions. Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter… Chocolate accompanies us in all festive moments. A good thing, when you know that in addition to being tasty, it is good for your health!
The richer the chocolate is in cocoa, the more beneficial it is. This is why dark chocolate is more recommended than its other variants. To take full advantage of the health benefits of this little sweet, it is advisable to opt for dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa … and not to consume it in excess! But what are the different virtues of this delicacy appreciated by young and old alike?
Chocolate helps to fight against cardiovascular diseases
Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, plant pigments of the polyphenol family known for their antioxidant action. This particularity allows to protect the body from free radicals and therefore to prevent many diseases. Among them, we find cardiovascular pathologies, such as hypertension, strokes or myocardial infarction. A study published in July 2020 in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology revealed that eating chocolate more than once a week reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 8%. However, the researchers point out that to take advantage of its benefits, it is advisable not to abuse it!
Chocolate: a real anti-stress
Almond, banana, chard, chocolate… These foods which are a priori very different have however a common point: they are rich in magnesium. This trace element, essential to the body, plays a role in the nervous system and helps to fight against stress. Chocolate is even more effective against anxiety as it is also rich in theobromine, a substance that promotes well-being. It is easy to understand why chocolate is good for us when we feel down!
Chocolate: the ally of pregnant women
When we talk about pregnancy, sudden food cravings are often mentioned. Good news: having a craving for chocolate can have positive effects! The flavonoids that it contains would support the growth of the fetus and would help to preserve the placenta. Several studies have already demonstrated this. It is, in particular, the case of a study of the Laval University (Canada), which followed pregnant women. At the end of the experiment, the researchers noted better placental, fetal and uterine blood circulation in the volunteers who had consumed more chocolate. Another advantage: eating chocolate during pregnancy would make the baby happy, according to a Finnish study. So many good reasons not to deprive yourself of it!
Chocolate is good for the brain
The flavonoids found in chocolate also have an impact on the brain. These antioxidants would strengthen concentration and memory. This is notably revealed by an Australian study published in 2016 in the journal Appetite. Researchers found that participants who ate chocolate regularly had an easier time solving problems or retaining information. Chocolate would therefore be a great ally in preventing cognitive decline.
Chocolate: effective against sleep disorders
We know that a magnesium deficiency can have deleterious effects on health. People who suffer from it generally feel stressed and tired. But that’s not all: they can also experience sleep disorders. Rich in magnesium, chocolate can therefore have beneficial effects on your nights!
Chocolate helps to fight against cramps
Another benefit of the magnesium present in chocolate: it has a relaxing effect on the muscles. This is why this little sweet can be a real ally for athletes. Do you have muscle pain after physical activity? A small square of chocolate, and it’s back!