No one and nothing can put a smile on my face like a good quality bar of 90% dark chocolate can.
And i’m not alone anymore. An increasing number of studies suggest that it doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. Chocolate is fast becoming a superfood: one of the best foodstuffs on the planet (in my opinion), and here are the many reasons why.
Gram-for-gram, researchers have found that chocolate contains more healthy plant compounds and antioxidants than many fruit juices.
Cocoa contains phenylethylamine which apparently stimulates the brain, creating the same feeling we experience when we’re falling in love – (without the pain of the breakup afterwards too).
It’s also full of stress-busting magnesium and flavanols which are also found in cocoa beans and aid the production of nitric oxide, the chemical which stimulates our blood vessels to dilate.
According to a report in the Mirror newspaper, a study of 850 mainly healthy chocolateers found that flavanol-rich chocolate and cocoa had a small but statistically significant effect in lowering blood pressure (in the short term). Flavanol also helped elderly participants who were given drinks high in flavonol. After eight weeks they were assessed and showed their mental performance had actually improved!
It is widely believed by health experts that 30g of chocolate a day, or six small squares of good quality, sugar-free, dark chocolate is good for you and will not increase weight.
Be warned though, to get the best effect you need to eat unprocessed chocolate -meaning dark, sultry and rich cacao or cocoa drinks made with “non-alkalised” beans (www.chocacao.co.uk).