Chocolate treatments and therapies appear on many spa menus. Although we love the idea of slathering ourselves in heavenly scented chocolate, it can’t possibly be good for you… Can it? Yes!
Need an excuse? Three reasons why eating chocolate is good for you (honest!)
1. There’s a scientific reason why chocolate improves your mood. Chocolate contains feel-good chemicals. These chemicals include serotonin, which helps boost your mood, and dopamine, also a mood regulator, which can help keep you feeling motivated.
2. A humble bar of chocolate packs isn’t an unhealthy treat as it contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals. Milk chocolate contains vitamins B1, B2, and E, as well as minerals including potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and, of course, calcium.
3. If you prefer dark chocolate, you’ll be glad to hear that a 45g bar of 70% dark chocolate contains 12% of your recommended daily allowance of iron. Around 11% of women will suffer from iron-deficiency at some point in their lives and women of child-bearing age are especially at risk from iron-deficiency. When you have chocolate cravings, it could be your body trying to correct an imbalance!
All that, plus antioxidants, too…
What, you may ask, is an antioxidant and what benefit can it be? Well, when the cells in our body use oxygen, they produce by-products, called free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage within our body, and health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Free radicals can contribute to all of these. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage to our system by “mopping up” the free radicals.
The good news for chocolate fans is that cocoa beans contain antioxidants called flavonols. The antioxidant concentration in cocoa beans is twice that of red wine, two to three times that of green tea, and four to five times that of black tea. So, eating chocolate may help reduce blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and improve heart health.
Flavonol levels are highest in dark chocolate, although they’re also present in milk chocolate, too.