By Diane Forrest
I have seen tee shirts that say Beer was created because God loves us and wants us to be happy. I don’t believe that, I believe that is why chocolate was created! According to medical studies, consuming chocolate can have several benefits. Some of the benefits listed in womanshealthmag.com include:
Wish that was a serving each day? Another big, long-term study in Germany this year found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent. Most of the credit goes to flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate is far more filling, offering more of a feeling of satiety than its lighter-colored sibling. That is, dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.
Women who ate chocolate daily during their pregnancy reported that they were better able to handle stress than mothers-to-be who abstained. Also, a Finnish study found their babies were happier and smiled more.
In a small Italian study, participants who ate a candy bar's worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days saw their potential for insulin resistance drop by nearly half. "Flavonoids increase nitric oxide production," says lead researcher Claudio Ferri, M.D., a professor at the University of L'Aquila in Italy. "And that helps control insulin sensitivity."
Swiss scientists found that when very anxious people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress hormone levels were significantly reduced and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated
After 3 months eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, their study subjects' skin took twice as long to develop that reddening effect that indicates the beginning of a burn.
A University of Nottingham researcher found that drinking cocoa rich in flavanols boosts blood flow to key parts of the brain for 2 to 3 hours, which could improve performance and alertness in the short term.
One study found that chocolate quieted coughs almost as well as codeine, thanks to the Theo bromine it contains. This chemical, responsible for chocolate's feel-good effect, may suppress activity in a part of the brain called the vagus nerve.
Both South American and European cultures have a history that dates back to the 16th century of treating diarrhea with cocoa. Modern-day science has shown they were onto something.
So eating chocolate has many benefits, but slowing down the aging process may not be one of them. But no matter how old you are, every day with a bit of chocolate is a good day.