Chocolate. Cioccolato. Sjokolade. No matter where you are in the world, chocolate is a food that will likely turn heads and set off chemical reactions of happiness in our bodies.There are few foods that are more desired by both humans and animals than chocolate. When I say chocolate I really mean the cacao plant because that is the it comes from. It's actually a nut that that grows inside beautiful pods of all shapes, sizes and colors. I am describing chocolate to you in its original form because that is where the power is. In case this is your first time reading about the benefits of chocolate (aka cacao) then this is your lucky day. How often are we told that there is something amazing for us that is incredibly delicious and is consumed all over the world? I will let you answer that one for yourself.
Dark chocolate is high is epicatechin, which is an antioxidant knows as a flavonoid. Long term ingestion of flavonoids found in dark chocolate provides photoprotection meaning it protects skin from the suns UV rays. Note, this does not mean you should apply less sunscreen, it means eat your dark chocolate before you hit the beach. In one German study following a group of individuals who consumed flavonoids in dark chocolate found an increase of skin density/hydration, greater blood flow in the skins' tissue, and a decrease in the roughness of the skin. In the group that did not consume chocolate there was no improvement in these areas of skin health.
Cacao contains a medley of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese; These minerals set us up for a healthy nervous system, proper blood building and strong bones. Also it contains the magical phenethylamines that give you those blissed out feelings of joy. However, if the chocolate encounters too much heat it will lose its mineral potency. That is why it is crucial to know what is really inside your wrapper.
I suggest that you start reading the ingredients and go after the best chocolate you can afford. Remember, quality over quantity. I would much rather have you eat less chocolate with higher quality of ingredients than gorging down hershey bars every day because I told you chocolate was healthy. This is a blessing, something delicious is good for us! Let's not go overboard with this gift, let's be smart, use it wisely and tastefully.