The goodness of chocolate
Earlier, the assistant at our local chocolate shop wished me a ‘Happy World Chocolate Day!’ after I’d purchased a few treats for the office.
As I sat down to curb my sweet tooth, I remembered that chocolate isn’t necessarily all about indulgence. It also has a number of known benefits which seemed appropriate to highlight today.
A relatively recent study found that dark chocolate – that with a high cocoa content – could improve brain function, mild cognitive impairment and insulin sensitivity as well as reduce stress and create a healthier heart. This has to do with flavanol, a naturally occurring antioxidant that is found in a variety of foods (including broccoli, tea, strawberries, blueberries, red grapes and apples). In the study, the affects of the flavanol were isolated by eliminating other foods containing this antioxidant from the participants’ diets.
Of course these benefits are part and parcel of eating a balanced diet and there are many ways to add the goodness of chocolate without throwing nutrition out of the window. Chocolate works wonderously in smoothies, with fruit and as a topping on porridge. Apparently, you can even get an Earl Grey Chocolate Tea though we haven’t seen that in the shops around here – yet!