13 Reasons to Love Chocolate!

Forget death by chocolate. More and more research is showing that high quality, dark chocolate (or cocoa or cacao) may actually improve your health. Here are 13 reasons to love chocolate!

  1. Chocolate, cocoa, and cacao are high in the mineral magnesium which is essential for over 500 functions in your body, including:  heart health and muscle function.
  2. Chocolate may reduce the risk of heart failure.
  3. Cocoa and cacao contain plant nutrients called proanthocyanins. . These phytonutrients have been shown in research to protect against carcinogens and nervous system toxins.
  4. It lowers blood pressure in people whose blood pressure is high.
  5. Chocolate helps support the production of dopamine in the body.  Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps us feel good.  Impaired dopamine production is involved in brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Foods that aid the production of dopamine may be helpful in the prevention of such illnesses.
  6. Cocoa, or chocolate with high amounts of it, lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).
  7. According to preliminary research cocoa and dark chocolate may help protect the kidneys from disease.
  8. Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins—the body’s own natural pain killers. Eating dark chocolate may help reduce pain.
  9. Raw cacao increases the amount of a substance called N-arachidonoylethanolamide in the brain (try saying that 10 times fast, or even just once correctly!).  It is a neurotransmitter that improves communication between brain and nerve cells.
  10. Consumption of raw cacao increases weight loss in overweight individuals, according to research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
  11. Eating dark chocolate causes the release of hormones called phenylethylamines (PEAs) that are also released when we are in love, helping us to feel happy.
  12. The high concentration of phytonutrients called flavonoids in dark chocolate are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals associated with aging and inflammation in the body.
  13. It just tastes great! That’s enough reason for most people.

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