Humans have enjoyed the delights of chocolate for thousands of years, starting with the Mayans, who drank it as a hot liquid (and even used it in wedding and baptism ceremonies).
Fast forward to today, and chocolate is a 120 billion pound global industry. The Germans are the top chocolate consumers per capita, followed by the Swiss, Estonians and Brits.*
But there’s no getting around it, chocolate gets its fair share of bad press as it is high in calories, and excessive amounts can be punishing on the waistline.
However, that’s not the full story. An increasing body of research shows chocolate has all sorts of health benefits. As it’s the start of Chocolate Week (14 – 19 October), we’d like to share them with you.
Five health benefits associated with chocolate
- Dark chocolate contains lots of good minerals, including zinc (which aids growth and immunity), iron (which protects against anaemia) and magnesium (good for bone and heart health).
- Chocolate contains antioxidants. These protect the body from free radicals – the nasties associated with various illnesses, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
- Chocolate’s rich taste is attributed to flavanols, which also protect against inflammation and boost brain function and immunity.
- One flavanol in chocolate is epicatechin, which increases nitric oxide production in the blood, thus improving strength and endurance. For this reason, some athletes consume a small amount of dark chocolate before exercising so they can work out for longer.
- Chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, so it gives you a hit of energy.
How to get the most benefits
It’s not great news if you’re a white chocolate fan, but the darker and purer the chocolate is, the better it is for you.
Experts recommend opting for a product with a cocoa content of at least 70% to maximise the health benefits. If you find 70% dark chocolate isn’t to your taste, start with a product with a lower cocoa content and keep increasing it slowly over time.
From all of us here at Cooke & co Estate and Letting Agents thanks for reading, and remember our granny’s favourite saying, ‘everything in moderation, dear’.
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