Chocolate for Health and Happiness

Excellent news! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I can reveal that chocolate, the proper posh dark stuff, really is good for you.

OK, so it’s no big secret – most of us already know that dark chocolate, like red wine, blueberries, spinach and green tea, is full of antioxidants, which can prevent or slow oxidative damage to our body.

But a Canadian review based on three recent studies has also found a link between eating dark chocolate and a lower risk of stroke or death after a stroke. One study found that the stroke rate was 22% lower in people who ate chocolate once a week. Another found that death from stroke was 46% lower in those who ate 50g of chocolate once a week.

Many nutritionists agree that a little dark chocolate is good for heart health. The benefits come through the flavonoids in cacao beans, which reduce fats and prevent blockage of the arteries.

In a separate 2009 study, researchers found that dark chocolate could also reduce emotional stress. Participants who were given 40g of dark chocolate every day for two weeks were found to have reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as other stress chemicals.

Sweet findings eh? Now obviously, too much of anything isn’t good for you and chocolate also contains its fair share of fat and sugar, but as a V Day treat, dark chocolate given with love is the ideal gift for body, heart and soul. Pass me the Lindt…

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