Chocolate is touted to be an indulgent treat. What’s surprising is that the popular sweet comes packed with health benefits – helping you indulge with much less guilt. The health benefits of chocolate range from increased energy, mood elevation, and better heart function and memory, helps the nervous system and is even used to cure diarrhea. Recent studies reveal that cocoa beans carry rich flavanols – an antioxidant that has anticancer potential. It does this by minimizing cell damage and enabling restoration benefits, keeping cancer growth at bay. According to the American Cancer Society, dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 70% is recommended in small portions.
If your health plan contains this super food, your bod will be able to build disease-fighting agents – ones that are present in almonds, red wine, apples and seeds – that halt the deterioration of your cells, thereby providing cell restoration benefits. “Every day, your immune system is bombarded with free radicals through normal bodily processes like breathing or environmental contaminants like car exhaust or cigarette smoke. However, consuming foods like dark chocolate, which is high in potent antioxidants, helps protect cells from free radicals by removing them,” a report highlighted.
Here are seven positive effects it brings:
1. Lower blood sugar levels
Small portions of chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, provides key ingredients that are vital to controlling blood sugar levels. According to research, cocoa powder contains important antioxidants that enable the body to use insulin in an efficient manner, largely to control rising blood sugar levels.
Contrary to popular belief, including chocolate in your health plan drives better sugar utilisation and results in lesser insulin resistance – an issue that’s common in Type 2 diabetes.
2. Contains cancer-fighting chemicals
Dark chocolate carries a significant benefit for the health-conscious. It comes packed with phytochemicals, ones that contain strong antioxidant properties. These elements are known to prevent and halt cancer cell growth. Researchers from Georgetown University ran tests on cancer cells with the antioxidant and
“The free radicals that negatively affect the body by becoming an agent for cancer building cells may be reduced by chocolate consumption,” the report stated. “Also, since the dark chocolate boosts levels of certain chemicals in the brain, endorphins, and serotonin, the sweet stuff can also lift a cancer patient’s mood,” it remarked.
3. Prevents heart ailments
With antioxidant powers, integrating dark chocolate into your daily health plan is said to improve cardiovascular functions. Increasing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, popularly known as bad cholesterol, results in plaque buildup along the heart’s artery walls and could lead to heart attacks. Removal of bad cholesterol will enhance blood flow to the heart and brain, while lowering blood pressure.
4. Consuming chocolate reduces the risk of inflammations
A study revealed that a bar of Hershey’s chocolate per week could reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease. A good helping of 6.7 grams of dark chocolate should do the trick – it produces chemicals that keep inflammation-inducing proteins at bay.
“The fat in chocolate is not as harmful as the fat in meat. The cocoa bean is also rich in flavonoids, nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables that protect plants from toxins. Unlike dark chocolate, milk chocolate has little of one crucial flavanol, epicatechin, left in it after processing,” said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
5. Boost to fetal growth during pregnancy
While you might think chocolate during pregnancy might not be the best option, you’d be surprised to learn that indulging in chocolate is actually good. According to studies, eating dark chocolate will make women 69% less likely to develop cardiovascular issues like preeclampsia. The study also observed that there was a significant increase in blood flow to the fetus.
6. A surprising cure for cough
While it may sound absurd at first, reports highlighted that patients who took chocolate-based medicines saw their health improve in under two days. The scientific reason lies in one of the chemicals called theobromine, which helps antagonize the vagus nerve’s activity.
7. Packing it with your sunscreen
Researchers point out that over a 12 week period, eating dark chocolate can help protect the skin from sun damage. Although it’s no replacement for sunscreen, chocolate consumption can almost double the time it takes for your skin to get sunburned.
With studies showing that an ounce of the sweet not only brings some gooey goodness and cell restoration benefits, they also show that the health benefits of chocolate are plenty – and chocolate lovers finally have something to celebrate. More often than not, poor health and diet can result in a series of ailments and illnesses and without the right form of health insurance, there can be significant health and cost impact. At Finserv MARKETS, consumers get to screen various health insurance plans and select the one that fits their bill.
Now that you know you can enjoy your chocolate indulgence guilt-free, head to Finserv MARKETS to avail health insurance benefits and stay worry-free!
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