It is late at night. You are feeling tired and run down. You have worked all day and still have a thesis statement for your English class to write. Going through the drawers in your desk frantically, you open the last drawer and on the bottom it sits. There is the last dark chocolate bar in the house. You may think that this is a big mistake; eating so late at night. You may think that the calories and fat included in that chocolate will be bad for you.
Dark chocolate is good for you and has a lot of hidden benefits. Chocolate has always been a favorite treat of indulgence. You carefully take the piece in your hand and slowly peel off the wrapper. As you take your first bite, you savor all the layers of flavor your chocolate offers. It is ultimately a love affair. Sometimes a forbidden one, because you wonder what the repercussions will be for consuming this delectable confection. Concerns about the high sugar content, the fat and calories may put a damper on the relationship.
All worries can be put to the side. Chocolate is a good for you treat.Dark chocolate, which is lower in sugar and fat than milk chocolate, is the healthy way to enjoy a special treat, and as an extra bonus, help you stay healthy (BBC News). Chocolate is a healthy food because it protects your heart, improves blood flow to the brain, and helps deter depression.
Chocolate contains antioxidant chemicals known as flavonoids (Cleveland Clinic). It boosts the levels of nitric acid in your blood. It basically helps with protecting your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system. It also reverses damage that might already be there in your body. The Flavonols also keep your arteries flexible and allows blood to flow to vital organs more easily. While Flavonols are also found in vegetables and fruit, it is wonderful to know that you can eat chocolate and fight cardiovascular disease at the same time.
While chocolate is working on your heart and circulatory system, it also aids in brain function. The flavonoids help your brain function more efficiently. The flavonol boosts your reaction time, memory, and retention by increasing the blood flow to the brain (Ingall). This happens because the flavonol is a special antioxidant that stimulates and dilates the capillaries in your body. There are research studies currently in place to expand this finding, hoping that what is now speculation will eventually become proven fact.
The typically scene of a young girl, crying after a terrible breakup with boyfriend #3, sitting on her bed, watching TV., and eating a huge box of chocolates is a common location for depression. Eating chocolate while depressed is an ordinary circumstance. The reason people eat chocolate while depressed is because your body is craving to feel better. Chocolate stimulates the feel good chemicals in your body called endorphins (Roan). The high carbohydrates in the chocolate also tend to stimulate serotonin levels in your brain, making you feel better. This can be a good thing, but you have to watch your intake, or you will be upset when you find out about all the weight you gain from inhaling all that chocolate in one sitting (Bradley).
Next time you sit down and bite into that delicious chocolate bar. Realize that you are actually doing your body a favor. Go ahead and enjoy the treat. Just like any other relationship there has to be concerns and precautions. Just know that as you are reaching into that box of dark chocolate treats, you are helping your body. Chocolate has great benefits that can help repair, restore and help you feel better about your health.
(A-Z), All Topics. “Heart-Health Benefits of Chocolate Unveiled.” Cleveland Clinic. Web. 25 June 2010. .
“BBC NEWS | Health | Dark Chocolate May Be Healthier.” BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 27 Aug. 2003. Web. 25 June 2010. .
Bradley, Charlotte. “Food Mood Swings, Can What You Eat Affect Your Mood, Healthy Lifestyles.” What’s Cooking America, 4th of July, 4th of July Picnics, Picnics, Barbecues & Cookouts, Independence Day Foods, Picnic Foods, Healthy Eating, Healthy Diets, Beauty Articles, Diet Articles. Web. 25 June 2010. .
Ingall, Marjorie. “Chocolate Can Do Good Things for Your Heart, Skin and Brain – CNN.com.” CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. 27 Dec. 2006. Web. 25 June 2010. .
Roan, Shari. “Study Links Chocolate and Depression.” Los Angeles Times 27 Apr. 2010, Article Collections ed. Print.