If you’re a serious chocoholic, chances are you’re a little bit sneaky about it. Maybe you keep a secret stash somewhere in your house, so your housemate/partner/family don’t judge you (and so that they don’t steal your chocolate!). Or maybe you fib to the people around you (and yourself) that you’re going to be good and just have one square for dessert… but that quickly turns into one row, then half a block. If this is you, we say it’s time to ditch the guilt and own your love of chocolate. Why? Well, firstly because it’s delicious, but also because noshing on chocolate comes with some serious health benefits!
Of course, not all chocolate is created equal. You know what we’re going to say—dark chocolate is your best option because it’s higher in cacao (and therefore, loaded with antioxidants) and because it’s rich, it’s harder to overdo it. Thankfully, there are so many delicious healthy choc brands out there these days that swapping your Dairy Milk for the darker stuff doesn’t feel like a punishment. Read on for 5 great reasons you should eat chocolate every day.
1. It reduces stress
Nope, you’re not just imagining those chilled vibes you get from eating chocolate. “Cacao is rich in a compound called resveratrol, the same that’s found in red wine. Resveratrol helps to control inflammation and protects your brain as well as calm the nervous system,” says Teresa Cutter of The Healthy Chef.
2. It’s great for your heart
Eating chocolate on the regs helps to keep your ticker in top condition. “Cacao is one of the richest sources of antioxidants. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the high flavonoid content of cocoa has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and lower blood pressure,” says Teresa Cutter.
Yep, believe it or not, your daily chocolate habit can actually help you lose or maintain your weight. A study from the University of California showed that adults who eat chocolate regularly actually have a lower body mass index than those who don’t “Cacao is rich in antioxidants that have been linked to improved insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation,” says Teresa Cutter. And as we know, insulin sensitivity equals bad news for your waistline. Plus, eating a couple of squares of high-quality chocolate per night can stop you feeling deprived, which makes it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan overall.
Next time you’re about to tackle a tough project or give a presentation at work, try eating some chocolate first. In a study from the Northumbria University in the UK, subjects were found to have increased mathematical skills and cognitive function in a test, 90 minutes after consuming chocolate. Scientists believe this is because chocolate is rich in the antioxidant flavanol, which has been found to expand blood vessels and increase blood flow to the brain.
While eating a whole block of chocolate every day is unlikely to do your skin any favours, eating a small amount each day can actually help give you a glowing complexion! In one study, women who consumed a high-flavanol cocoa drink every day for three months showed a significant increase in blood flow to the epidermis. This improved skin density by 16%, moisture by 13 % and dryness by 42%. You gotta love those antioxidants!