If – like us – you’re chocolate daft, we have some great news. As it turns out, there are many health benefits to eating a wee bit of chocolate every so often! Admittedly, dark chocolate is far healthier than milk and white, though a study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 2021 does suggest that even milk chocolate can aid weight loss and boost the metabolism when consumed in moderate quantities.
So, the next time you’re feeling like indulging yourself, here are some of the benefits of dark chocolate to bear in mind.
1. Dark chocolate benefits the heart and cardiovascular system
A study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 2014 found that dark chocolate helps to restore flexibility to the arteries whilst also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels – two common causes of heart attacks. This finding seems to be widely accepted within the medical field, so that’s certainly good enough for us!
2. Dark chocolate can cheer you up
Dark chocolate is rich in several mood-enhancing chemicals, including theobromine, anandamide and phenethylamine, which is metabolised in your body to serotonin, one of the most important mood regulating chemicals. There have been suggestions that this can lead to chocolate addiction though, so keep the heid.
3. Dark chocolate is good for the immune system
Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, which help balance the immune system and prevent it from going into overdrive.
4. Dark chocolate can prevent strokes
A study conducted on nearly 21,000 participants over several decades found that people who often consumed chocolate had lower frequencies of suffering from strokes. Now, this study cannot definitively claim that chocolate is the root cause of this, though it did find that those who ate a lot of chocolate also had generally healthier habits than those who didn’t.
Similarly, a 40 year long investigation into the effects of chocolate on brain function recently concluded that chocolate intake is indeed linked to higher intelligence. These scientists can’t say that chocolate will make you smarter - it may just be that more intelligent people tend to eat more chocolate.
Healthier and smarter – not two bad groups to be in!
5. Dark chocolate is good for your skin
Dark chocolate is full of vitamins and minerals which are good for your skin, such as iron, copper and magnesium. Another mineral found in dark chocolate – manganese – supports collagen production, so you could even argue it’s making you look younger!
There have been claims that the antioxidants in dark chocolate help protect your skin from UV rays, though that is disputed. It’s maybe not too much of a worry here in Scotland anyway, but best load up on the sun cream just in case.
6. Dark chocolate can ease a cough
A study published by The FASEB Journal found that dark chocolate can relief a cough! This research claims that theobromine (an ingredient found in dark chocolate) was considerably more effective at relieving coughing than many cold and flu medications containing codeine, with far fewer side effects. The next time you catch a cold, reach for the chocolate!
Whilst it’s important to remember that these health benefits are afforded by high quality dark chocolate – not just any old rubbish – and just wee amounts at a time, it’s nice to know a wee treat now and then can be good for the body as well as the soul. So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your immune system or look a wee bit younger, dark chocolate could be just the thing for you! If you fancy all of these health benefits as well as an indulgent, Scottish treat, check out our Vegan Selection or dark chocolate bars!