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Chocolate, once referred to as the food of the gods is now proving to be more than just a divine treat. Recent research is confirming existing studies showing the many health benefits of chocolate especially when it comes to heart health.
Chocolate which is made from the cacao plant has been shown to have high levels of antioxidant flavonoids and anti-inflammatory proprieties. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower LDL levels (bad cholesterol), increase insulin sensitivity, fight cancer and even prevent tooth decay.
Chocolate also contains serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for producing feeling of pleasure and well-being. Theobromine, another chemical found in chocolate is a mild stimulant similar to caffeine, has properties that can lead to mental and physical relaxation. Chocolate has also been knows to be an aphrodisiac, although this claim has yet to be proven. So it not only provides many physical health benefits but mental and emotional ones too.
Although dark chocolate seems to be the healthiest with its higher amounts of antioxidants, the benefits can also be gotten from milk and white chocolate as well as drinks, biscuits and desserts. The more processed the chocolate is, the lower the health benefits it processes.
Unfortunately the health benefits don’t give you an excuse to eat as much as you want. As always moderation is key. Chocolate can be high in calories, sugar and fats. Most of the fats found in chocolate are good fats but a certain amount can also increase cholesterol. Remember the higher the cocoa content and the least processed the better.