Is Chocolate Good For You? This is What a Nutritionist Says
You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate could be good for your health…here’s why!
1. It can help boost your mood:
Due to its content of beta-phenethylamine, chocolate may have antidepressant properties. Beta-phenethylamine is a neurotransmitter and mood enhancer that stimulates the release of dopamine – also known as the “happy hormone”.
2. It can support heart health:
Also found in chocolate are phytonutrients such as epicatechin - which stimulates the production of nitric oxide production and promotes circulation, muscle recovery and endurance - and flavonols, whose antioxidant properties may help maintain the structure and physiology of cell membranes, supporting heart health. In this sense, studies show dark chocolate might help prevent heart disease and lower the risk of stroke.
3. It can help improve cognition:
Recently, some studies have shown that the flavonoids of dark chocolate may improve cognitive functions, specifically working on memory and Trail-Making-Tests in healthy people and those with cognitive impairment.
Some studies have also suggested dark chocolate could elevate good cholesterol while lowering the bad, help regulate a person’s gut and could even help with weight loss by curving cravings. However, these studies are on many occasions based on cocoa supplements, which is different than the actual dark chocolate we consume. It’s important to understand that the amount of phytonutrients contained in commercial chocolate is not the same as in a supplement. Never mind the sugar and fat content!
For your health to really benefit from eating dark chocolate you would need to be eating dark chocolate which is at least 70 per cent cocoa, and the less processed the better. Also, we should be mindful of sugar and fat content, avoiding those high in calories and saturated fats.
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Sandra Carvajal is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Health Coach and Yoga Instructor at Central & Stanley Wellness
Want to know more about her services? Learn about Sandra's Personalised Nutrition Plans Here.