We all know the effects that chocolate can have on our waistlines. But recent research indicates that chocolate may also have some surprising effects on our hearts, brains and blood.
Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao fruit. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted, ground and made into a paste. Chocolate has been prized for its medicinal properties since Aztec times.
Chocolate contains small amounts of trytophan, which helps the brain produce serotonin. Serotonin is a "feel-good" chemical that elevates mood. Eating chocolate also releases endorphins, which relieve stress and offer a natural "high."
Like red wine and green tea, chocolate contains high numbers of flavanoids, which are natural chemicals that protect the heart. The darker the chocolate, the more flavanoids it has.
According to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) News Office, a 2003 study by UCSF scientists showed that small amounts of dark chocolate eaten daily help dilate blood vessels and ease hypertension.
Dark chocolate contains high amounts of magnesium, which is a mineral that indirectly helps the body metabolize food into energy.
The components added to chocolate to give it a better taste and texture often have detrimental effects on the body. Added fats contribute to obesity, and high sugar levels cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of thebittenword.com
- What Are the Benefits of Chocolate Body Wraps?
What Are the Effects of Too Much Caffeine?
From jitters to sleeplessness, too much caffeine can certainly affect how you feel and sometimes your health. Knowing the limits and the...
Foods Containing Theobromine
Theobromine is a bitter-tasting chemical found in some plants. A major dietary source of theobromine is chocolate, with greater amounts in dark...
Does Sugar Affect Cholesterol Levels?
Although sugar may taste sweet, its effects on your health can be anything but. **The American Heart Association recommends that women get...
Negative Health Effects of Chocolate
Chocolate brings to mind decadence and guilty pleasure. Cacao-chocolate was the Mayan food of the gods. It was ground and mixed with...
How Chocolate Affects Your Brain
There's been a lot of talk about the health benefits of dark chocolate for your body, but what about your brain? Chocolate...
Bad Effects of Chocolate
It's often tempting to reach for a chocolate bar when you're searching for a boost of energy, as this snack provides a...
Foods That Affect Pheromones
Pheromones are chemicals secreted by the body that influence the behavior of others of the same species. Each person’s pheromones are biologically...
Why Does the Body Crave Chocolate?
Chocolate is arguably one of the most common sweets that comes to mind when the topic of food cravings arises. The reasons...
How to Eat Chocolate to Lose Weight
Chocolate is as good for your body as it is delicious for your palate. The pleasure properties of chocolate have never been...