There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some of your favourite sweet treats once in a while. But it’s when we over-indulge on a regular basis when things get tricky.
Trust me, I could probably be chocolate’s number 1 fan. For example, this morning at my office, a chocolate Lindt bunny was delivered as part of a “sweetener” for us to consider using a local recruitment company to do all our recruiting.
And I ate the hell out of it.
It was delicious.
My issue with milk chocolate, however, is when I eat it I find it impossible just to have one piece. This is why I rarely keep the stuff in my house. It would be my ultimate downfall.
1. When we eat chocolate, the sugar is rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream, causing a blood sugar spike. This gives us a temporary ‘good feeling’.
2. The pancreas pumps the hormone insulin into the blood in attempt to bring blood sugar back to the proper range.
3. Due to the high amount of sugar, the pancreas overestimates how much insulin to pump into the blood. The result: too much sugar is removed from the blood, causing blood sugar to crash.
4. This causes energy levels to crash and craving to increase, which often leads to us reaching for more chocolate or other sugary foods to feel better. This blood sugar rollercoaster continues until you remove refined carbs and replace them with wholegrains.
Okay, so we sort of know this stuff already. Too much chocolate = bad for you.
But what if not all chocolate was bad for you. Can the words “healthy” and “chocolate” really go together?
Well, since I proclaim to be chocolate’s number 1 fan, I made it my mission to find out!
People actually eat less junk after having dark chocolate
Yeah, apparently so!
Some awesome people over at the University of Copenhagen have shown the world that dark chocolate is much more filling than milk chocolate.
It can actually reduce our cravings for “sweet, salty and fatty foods…and may be an efficient way to keep your weight down over the holidays”.
Sounds pretty perfect to me!
Dark chocolate can improve cardiovascular health
There have been a lot of debates on this. But it is been proven that dark chocolate reduces oxidative stress and, in turn, improves “flow-mediated dilation” of the arteries.
A study was conducted on a series of smokers to see whether eating dark chocolate helped their bodies. And, with dark chocolate’s amazing antioxidant properties, it didn’t disappoint.
The effects lasted about eight hours and induced a “rapid and significant improvement of endothelial and platelet function”.
Dark chocolate can reduce blood pressure and insulin sensitivity
Chocolate containing more than 50-70% cocoa can help lower blood pressure – especially those with hypertension.
Flavonoids contained within chocolate (the higher the percentage of cocoa the more you have in there) directly causes blood vessels to dilate.
This is fab news for dark chocolate lovers out there!
Always check the labels of the chocolate you buy. To benefit from these flavonoids, make sure your chocolate has lots of cocoa solids and is not packed full of sugar!
Some commercial processes tarnish the deep, earthy tastes by adding lots of sugar, and that’s definitely not what you want!
Dark chocolate can improve brain function
The flavonoids do much more!
New research by the University of L’Aquila in Italy has found that consuming high percentage cocoa chocolate is linked to memory enhancement.
Brain blood circulation is improved and visual imagery processing speed is boosted! The study goes in to say that having a dark chocolate regularly can actually improve older adults general performance – including attention, and verbal fluency.
Is there much that this stuff can’t do?
Dark chocolate can protect our skin from the sun
Hell yeah! No more slapping on that factor 50!
Okay, maybe it’s not that extreme, but the Cosmetic Science Group have conducted a study to look at the affects of dark chocolate on our skin.
They found that high flavonoid chocolate grants consumers “significant photo-protection…and can be effective at protecting human skin from UV effects”.
They add that conventional chocolate has no such effect!
So, if you’re planning on avoiding this chilly winter and jetting off soon to the sun, make sure you stick some of the dark stuff into your carry on luggage.
It all helps, right?
Psst! Check out my article on the Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil too! This thing’s a beast!