The benefits of chocolate are nothing new and have been known for some time now. Chocolate (or cocoa) has been around for over 3,500 years, and a massive 7.2 million tonnes were consumed worldwide in 2009. It has been prescribed over the years to reduce fever, decrease “female complaints”, increase breast-milk production, encourage sleep, and clean teeth.
Some of the commonly recognised health benefits of chocolate include making you feel good, reducing pain & stress, anti-oxidant, improves blood flow & pressure, lowers risk of cardio vascular disease, and improves insulin sensitivity.
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Direct from a recent study – “More frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on [cognitive tests including] visual-spatial memory and organisation, working memory, scanning and tracking, abstract reasoning, and the mini-mental state examination.”
So what’s the catch?
The great benefits of chocolate come from cocoa (or the raw form – cacau) and the majority of chocolate is full of refined sugar, which has a wide range of well known downsides and has even been shown to shrink your brain cells. Go for dark chocolate, specifically those with high cocoa content – and avoid chocolate with a lot of processed sugar in it. I personally am a big fan of Green & Black’s Dark 85% chocolate, it’s high in coca, low in sugar, and tastes very creamy. I Quit Sugar has a great guide on what to look out for when choosing your chocolate/cocoa.