Happy Easter everyone!!
Whilst you tuck into your chocolate here's some health facts about chocolate but please bear in mind these health properties only apply to DARK chocolate or the cacao form not the over roasted, filled with sugar varieties.
Compounds found in Cocao (flavanols) contain antioxidant properties. These help to protect the body against free-radical damage. Free-radicals are not only potentially damaging but ageing too! Eating antioxidant rich food can delay the ageing process along with protecting against many types of cancer.
Eating a small amount of dark chocolate 2-3x a week can help to lower your blood pressure. The compounds in cocoa relax artery walls and help to prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) thus reducing your risk of heart disease
Blood Sugar Regulation
Dark chocolate has a low GI scale so doesn't cause highs and lows in blood sugar (unlike milk and white chocolate will). Dark chocolate also helps to keep blood vessels healthy and the flavonoids help the body to use insulin effectively.
Good for your brain
Dark chocolate increases both blood flow to the heart and the brain (you may have been told to eat chocolate when cramming for an exam as chocolate increases cognitive function) thus not only reducing your risk of heart disease but also of stroke.
Good for your mood
Dark chocolate contains chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood. Principally chocolate contains phenylethylamine, this is the same chemical the brain produces when you fall in love! Phenylethylamine encourages the brain to release endorphins so eating dark chocolate you will feel happier!
Good for your teeth!
Dark chocolate contains theobromine which has been proven to harden tooth enamel. Most chocolates and sweets will weaken tooth enamel.
Dark chocolate also contains high concentrations of; potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. The iron helps to protect against iron-deficiency anaemia, magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease whilst the copper and potassium help protect against stroke and cardiovascular diseases. So if picking an Easter Egg please choose dark chocolate!
Presenter on Early Years TV Food