Chocolat-y Health

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Chocolate! The universal language of friendship and love; the only word that transcends the barriers of age and language intriguing everyone alike – from kids to their grandparents! Chocolate has indulged the mankind in its various tastes and forms, ever since it was first made; nothing is more luscious to quench the craving of the sweet tooth. Since centuries, it has served as the favourite dessert on the dining table and has been a source of joy and cheer amongst many. The sweet has also been used extensively as an exquisite gift item over the years. This edible devil in disguise lures everyone into its fold with its different aromas, leaving with a sense of satisfaction and desire which no other sweet can fulfill. A large part of chocolate’s allure lies in the taste – a deliciously rich concoction that satisfies the most intense craving.

 

Chocolate and health were generally considered poles apart. High on sugar, they were thought to be mainly responsible for tooth decay in children; but not anymore. It has been established only in recent times that chocolates are salubrious for the health since they have numerous benefits; in fact, they have all the advantages of an antioxidant. Consequently they destroy the free radicals and hinder the oxidization of lipids into the body. The antioxidants are a condensed type of flavonoids. These technical terms may be sounding utter nonsense for some people, so let’s get it simple.

 

The antioxidants in chocolate assist in the anti-ageing procedure; this means that gorging on the sweet can actually make you look young, and that’s something very appealing to the young ladies. As indicated by recent studies, if individuals eat chocolates, they have diminishing possibilities of heart troubles (no pun intended!) Ideally, this point indicates that people who have chocolates, will have lesser chances of heart troubles, and thus can be saved from mortal peril caused due to failure(s) in heart. Chocolate is anti-inflammatory as well .i.e. it suppresses the inflammation caused in the body due to any injury. Chocolate has cocoa butter, and this aids in salvaging the exhausted elasticity in the body; so the next time you feel like dancing, just grab on a bar of chocolate!

 

In addition to these traits, a very few people know that chocolate functions as a remarkable medicine for depression. People generally eat chocolates any time they feel like consuming it; in fact, one can actually spend time in an exceedingly attractive manner and stop thinking about all the tribulations of life when he/she savors a tasty cocoa treat. Cacao, the main ingredient of chocolate, has antibacterial agents that combat tooth decay; so kids, go and have a blast! The aroma of chocolate may augment theta brain waves, giving rise to relaxation. Chocolate has phenyl ethylamine, a docile mood elevator. So the next time you feel low, chocolate will do the trick! The cocoa butter in chocolate has oleic acid, which may possibly increase good cholesterol; thus no need of worrying about that extra risk of diabetes.

 

It has been found that consumption of a cup of hot chocolate prior to meals may reduce appetite; also people who consume chocolate live a year longer in comparison to those who don’t; so in case you love yourself and your life, chocolate is the thing to go for. The very beneficial flavanoids in chocolate may also assist in keeping blood vessels elastic, thus keeping blood pressure down, your blood flowing and your heart healthy; now you know what to gift your mom on her next birthday to keep that blood pressure down! And lastly, the carbohydrates in chocolate increase serotonin concentrations in the brain, leading to a feeling of happiness.

 

The above mentioned facts may have made us think otherwise, but even with so much going for it, it’s unfortunate that chocolate has developed a bad reputation on the health front. Chocoholics often worry that indulging their craving will lead to everything from rotting teeth to acne, not to forget the distress of gaining a few kilograms. Fortunately, some common myths about the dangers of eating too much chocolate have been disproved. For example, it is not true that eating chocolate can cause acne or make it worse; nor is chocolate the threat to healthy teeth that it was once thought to be. While both cocoa and chocolate contain sugar, they also have properties that work against sugar’s tendency to deteriorate dental health.

 

Furthermore, while chocolate may not be the most healthy snack around, it does contain a number of nutrients. High in potassium and magnesium, chocolate also provides us with several vitamins – including B1, B2, D, and E. As for calories, no one claims that chocolate is the quintessential diet food; still, the average chocolate bar contains approximately 250 calories – low enough for a dieter to enjoy one as an occasional treat. Besides, indulging the chocolate craving from time to time can help prevent the binging that is a dieter’s worst enemy. The stimulants caffeine and bromine are present in cacao in such little amounts, that they don’t result in nervous excitability. And most importantly, chocolate is NOT addictive.

 

Chocolate is anti-depressant, anti-bacterial, mood elevator, increases good cholesterol, reduces appetite, keeps blood vessels elastic, lowers blood pressure and finally, makes you feel happy. So without worrying about the acne or those extra kilograms, go ahead and indulge yourself in the most healthy, most easily available and most liked sweet; and for those of us who have been self-medicating ourselves with a few chosen chocolate candies, just congratulate yourselves for simply being ahead of the times.

 

Nidhi Gurnani

[Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/ginnerobot/3245408401/]

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