Chocolate, choco, choco, chocolate! For chocolate, my heart beats.” (Translated from a Brazilian song from ‘Trem da Alegria’ band)
Everyone in Brazil will remember the kids’ band “Trem da Alegria”, back in the 80’s. They would sing about their love for chocolate. What they did not know was what the many scientific discoveries about chocolate would reveal years later. The first findings about the benefits of chocolate for our health were related to the heart. Over the years, more and more discoveries were made, and to our delight the moderate consumption of dark chocolate (70% or more cacao) can bring many benefits to our health.
And lovers of the gentle art, keep an eye on tip #10. =)
Check out the following 10 positive points related to this delicacy, according to recent studies:
1. Bowel Cancer
Researchers at Georgetown University, USA, reported in 2008 that chocolate can help fight bowel cancer. This is because some molecules present in the cacao, called procyanidins, have antioxidant properties which serve to protect cells from degeneration caused by the tumor.
That feeling of well-being caused by chocolate is supported by the action of endorphins and dopamine, related to relaxation. Some scientists claim that this delight is able to increase the production of those substances.
3. Blood flow
Studies show that the consumption of dark chocolate improves blood flow and cardiovascular health, as it decreases the tendency of platelet coagulation and blood vessel blockage. It also helps to lower the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
4. Heart Health
Chocolate has beneficial effects on the heart. Scientists at Linkoping University, Sweden, found that bitter/dark chocolate (high in cacao) inhibits an enzyme in the body known to raise blood pressure. The positive result is attributed to the catechins and procyanidins, antioxidants found in the delicacy.
5. Brain Health
Dark chocolate can reduce brain damage after a stroke, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University in the US. Scientists found that a compound called epicatechin protects nerve cells. Tests were conducted in rats and staff expects that the effects may be then applied to humans.
6. During pregnancy
Chocolate intake during pregnancy may help in preventing preeclampsia (high blood pressure). A research from Yale University, US, suggests that women who have chocolate at least five times a week are 40% less likely to develop the problem than those who consume it less than once. The theobromine compound, found mainly in the bitter and half-bitter varieties, may be the responsible for this benefit.
7. Heart attacks
People who have survived a heart attack and eat chocolate may reduce the risk of dying from heart problems, according to a study conducted in Sweden. Tests have shown that tasting the product twice a week resulted in 66% less chances of dying of heart diseases and having it once a week reduced the risk by almost half. That’s because this delight is high in antioxidants that protect us from aging caused by free radicals.
Having chocolate can relieve pains, according to a study performed by the University of Chicago, USA. The distraction of eating or drinking for pleasure would act as a natural painkiller. Tests were conducted in mice, but the researchers believe that the same effect applies to humans.
Chocolate is also an ally of beauty. It’s present in the hot tub baths, massages, masks and other cosmetics. Besides the high moisturizing power, the product also combats free radicals, preventing oxidation of the cells.
10. Physical Tiredness
Two surveys conducted by scientists at the University of Texas, US, concluded that milk and chocolate is the best drink to recover from physical activities. Benefits would be in the amount of carbohydrates and protein in this mixture.
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This article has only an informative purpose and is not intended to replace professional guidance. The use of vitamins and supplements can offer you great results, but before using any product, we strongly recommend you to visit a Nutritionist, Doctor or another specialist for an analysis and follow-up.
Source (in Portuguese): Saúde Terra