Chocolate often gets a bad rap for being a diet disaster. Most people often associate chocolate with thoughts of sin, decadence and indulgence.
However, a growing number of research is finding that chocolate is full of photochemicals that have been proven to prevent and cure disease. So how can chocolate help you be more fit? Below are 4 reasons on how chocolate can benefit you.
1. Fat Loss
A team of researchers from the University of San Diego conducted a research and they found out that those people who eat chocolate more frequently were thinner than those who ate less as measure by their body mass index.
The team of researchers asked 100 men and women how much chocolate they consumed in a week and they came to find that those who ate chocolate 5 times a week recorded a drop in body mass index.
Obviously, there’s some room for interpretation here… but stay with me.
They also found out that cacao (which is the actual chocolate) component can reduce the efficiency of carbohydrate and fat digestive enzymes which can benefit your overall body weight management. Basically, help keep fat from being stored.
2. Controls hunger cravings
Research shows that cacao can actually help you control your hunger cravings. Cocoa butter contained in chocolate is not only good for your heart, but can also trigger the satiety hormones which turn off hunger. That means that you will not be hungry between meals.
3. Good for your heart.
It appears that eating cacao (remember, that’s the actual chocolate part) can actually reduce the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and heart failure.
Dark chocolates helps to improve the flow of blood thus helping to prevent blood clots from forming. Eating chocolate can also help to prevent hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis).
Studies have also found out that cacao can perform double duty. I.e. can reduce your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol simultaneously.
4. Good for your brain
Consuming dark chocolate can help increase the flow of blood to the brain a well as to the heart. This can help improve cognitive functions such as problem solving.
Studies also show that cacao contain several beneficial chemical compounds that have positive effects on both your cognitive health and your mood.
Chocolates contain phenyl ethylamine, the same chemical your brain usually creates when you feel like you are actually falling in love.
Phenyl ethylamine a chemical found in chocolates can encourage your brain to release endorphins which will make you feel happier.
Not to mention an increase in serotonin. It does this by theobromine (found in cacao). Which is a pre-cursor for the neurotransmitter itself. In essence it would be like a mild way to naturally fight sadness and depression.
It can also help to bolster your memory, feel more alert and also help you pay better attention.
There is no doubt that chocolate and weight loss/fitness can coexist. But it is very important to note that health benefits of chocolates come from cacao part not from the additives that people use to make it sweater and creamier.
So think in terms of cacao not normal chocolate. When selecting chocolates, make sure you read on the labels. Look for darker, lower sugar and fat chocolates.
Also, choose chocolates that clearly show out the percentage of cocoa. The recommended chocolates are those with at least 70% cacao which is dark but still sweet enough to be appetizing.
The higher the cacao percentage the better. I have found that 80% taste fine, but 90% gets a little bitter.
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