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Want Another Bite of Chocolate? This Study Says Go for It

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We’ve all had those days where a bar of chocolate can be such a wonderful indulgence. Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t considered a traditional “superfood” so many of us stop munching after a few bites. However, there are a few studies out there that may just change your opinion on that!

In recent years, there have been a handful of studies connecting chocolate to different health benefits. More recently, there were two studies presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology annual conference in April that suggest eating chocolate stimulates the brain in multiple different ways.

For their study, researchers from the Loma Linda University in California examined the brain scans of participants both before and after eating 1.7 ounces of chocolate. They found in the post-chocolate scans that there was an increased activity between our brain’s T-cell activation, cellular immune response, and in neural signaling genes. In short: chocolate has a positive effect on our memory, mood, and stress levels.

There’s one caveat, though. The chocolate consumed has to have a 70% cacao concentration, which can be very bitter for some who prefer the added fat and excess sugar that makes our chocolate bars tasty and delicious. This need for a high percentage is due to the fact that cacao is chock full of healthy flavonoids, which are known for their high antioxidant properties.

Boosting your mood isn’t the only added health benefit of eating chocolate. There are a host of other good things that can happen when snacking on the Easter Bunny’s favorite candy.

Reducing blood pressure
We all have stressors in our daily lives, that can cause our blood pressure to skyrocket.  Some people invest in expensive, relaxing solutions like getting a massage or buying a hot tub, but it can be just as easy as taking a nibble of chocolate during our lunch break! This is because those powerful flavonoids in chocolate stimulate the endothelium, the lining of the arteries, which in turn releases nitric oxide that sends signals to the arteries to relax, and reduces blood pressure in the process. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of Americans suffer from high blood pressure, with the CDC reporting that 32.6% of obese men 20 years and older having high blood pressure and/or taking prescriptions for hypertension.

Protect against the sun’s rays
When you go out in the sun, the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin within 24 hours of exposure is called the MED, the minimal erythemal dose. While this number does range per person, it has been known to double in people who have consumed ample amounts of dark chocolate over a 12-week period.

Decreases risk of atrial fibrillation
Researchers in Denmark studied the effects of chocolate consumption on more than 55,000 people in Denmark. What they found was astounding: all of those people tended to have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation, which is a potentially deadly irregular heartbeat risk that raises a person’s risk of stroke.

Lowers Cholesterol levels
These somewhat magical flavonoids also can reduce the oxidation of LDL, or cholesterol, in your body. For the long term, this is significant because the more the LDL is oxidized, the lower risk there is for a person to develop heart disease. Healthline reports that this isn’t only a temporary thing, it can actually lead to wonderful improvements down the road. In a study of 470 senior males, cocoa reduced the death from heart disease by a staggering 50% over 15 years.

Do any of these health benefits inspire you to grab a chocolate bar yet? We hope so!


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