Mothers day, Valentines day, visiting someone at the hospital, congratulating a friend or even just as a thank you for a kind gesture. Chocolates have borne such responsibilities well. Chocolates are a god send not just for the afore mentioned scenarios, but because of their medicinal properties. Did you know that apart from being yummy, they can improve memory, lower blood pressure and significantly improve the health of your heart? Read on. Or better yet, grab that chocolate bar and read on.
Different types of chocolates
Broadly divided there are three major types of chocolates- white, milk and dark. White chocolate is the sweetest and is made from milk and cocoa butter without the addition of cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is one that is often termed as bitter as these contain a good percentage of cacao beans. Milk chocolate is somewhere half way between the two but contains lower percentages of cacao. Ever wondered why bakers chocolate is so darn bitter? Its because it is almost 100% cacao and it does not contain any artificial sweeteners. Besides the candy bar, chocolate is also marketed as syrups, powders and as drinks – each containing a different percentage of cocoa, milk and sweeteners.
Chocolates can improve cognition
This research was conducted by a group of Italian researchers who investigated the impact of a cocoa flavanol enriched diet on cognition. The researchers also looked into the possible impact of such a diet for a prolonged period of time. If you have your fingers crossed and hope that the outcomes were good, then you are absolutely right! Most of them pointed towards a beneficial effect on cognitive performance.
Moms, remember those nights when you are up for the 100th time because your kid needed water, or a story or just because they didn’t want to go to bed? Fret not, chocolate is here to your rescue. No, its not for your kids, but for you. Researchers found that eating cocoa after a night of total sleep deprivation actually helped cope with the next days tasks. This is because of improved cognition. Attention, memory, and even fluency in talking showed positive signs of improvement. Cocoa flavanols are responsible for this improvement.
Beat the midday slump with dark chocolate
Feeling dead beat by noon everyday? Eat a piece of cacao rich dark chocolate. Chocolate is a stimulant. It can activate the brain in truly special ways. Attention improves and blood pressure also drops. The improvement in blood pressure is due to chocolate being a vasodilator. Vasodilator helps to lower the blood pressure by widening the blood vessels.
This research is particularly helpful in the case of people who suffer from high blood pressure. They can benefit from eating a small portion of dark chocolate daily. This would not only help improve their blood pressure levels, but would also help improve their attention, memory and even their overall performance at work. Its not just this group of people who can benefit from the magic of dark chocolate. Students who feel the midday slump at school can get the much needed boost and concentrate better in class with a piece of dark chocolate.
Chocolate- a remedy for heart flutter
Did you know that atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder in the world today. About 70% of the people who suffer from this fall in the age group of 65-85. Men are more prone to developing atrial fibrillation that women. Research suggests that chocolate could be an interesting cure to this heart disorder.
It has now been found that regular chocolate consumption is associated with lower risk of developing heart rhythm abnormality. So how much chocolate do you need to eat to reap the benefits? It is estimated that 1 weekly serving for women and between 2 and 6 weekly servings is the golden number when it comes to keeping heart flutter at bay.
Medicinal effect of chocolate on diabetes
Just when you thought that chocolates can only do so much, they strike yet another goal. This time its a win in the case of diabetes. But there is a catch in this one though. You’d probably need to eat the right kind of chocolate, the ones without a lot of added sugar in it and copious amounts of it! So how does chocolate help in preventing diabetes? Cocoa helps the body release more insulin and it also responds to increased levels of blood glucose better. Besides this, cocoa can also decrease the level of obesity and can thereby increase their blood sugar handling ability.
Munch on chocolate to boost antioxidants
Researchers at Cornell University have revealed that, hot chocolate contains more antioxidants than an equal measure of tea or even red wine. This makes it a much more healthier choice. Come winter season, we all love to cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa. Antioxidants are a popular term wherever we look. We read about anti oxidant rich foods and how they are good for you. However, not many people actually know what antioxidants are. Anti oxidants are present in fresh fruits and vegetables and are excellent in preventing diseases. They prevent oxidation of other molecules and help counter the free radicals produced by our body. The researchers also found that hot cocoa triggered more antioxidants than the cold version. Also the candy bar version of hot cocoa was found to be less effective than the drink version.
So here comes the million dollar question. Should you include cocoa in your diet much like a dietary supplement? This is where most scientists have put this chocolate theory into practice, they have resorted to eating some dark chocolate everyday. Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols and does not contain additives like sugar and milk. This makes it the perfect food for cognitive boost. What more do you need to enjoy a good old bar of dark chocolate? Plus, this time you get to enjoy it absolutely guilt free.